Investigating Indian ESL Learners’ Silent Behaviour in Response to Oral Tasks in Online and Offline Classes

(1) * Suvarna Lakshmi Mail (The English and Foreign Languages University, Tarnaka, India, India)
(2) Udaya Mutyala Mail (The English and Foreign Languages University, Tarnaka, India, India)
(3) Ramamuni Reddy Mail (The English and Foreign Languages University, Tarnaka, India, India)
*corresponding author


As teachers and researchers, we are intrigued by learner silence and wonder how to understand silence in the classroom, particularly when silence prevails as we request a response to an oral task. In Indian ESL contexts, reasons for learner silence are less investigated as it is considered juxtaposed to classroom interaction. This study explored reasons for undergraduate level learner silence in online and offline language classrooms in relation to teacher questioning. It further tried to surface the reasons for learners’ silent behaviour. Though the nature of the study is qualitative, as the data collected is from 125 students, it is quantified. The implications of the study suggest that online and offline teachers focus on the quality of speaking tasks in the classroom with a better understanding of learners’ silent behaviour and prudent planning of classroom interaction activities resulting in effective learning.  


Learner silence; Online and offline learning; Teacher’s questions; Interaction



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