Silence in an EFL Classroom: The Interplay of Schwab’s Four Commonplaces

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Chantarath Hongboontri
Ittiphat Wittaya
Kornsiri Boonyaprakob


       This qualitative research aims to seek causes for silence in an English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom.  To do so, the researchers went to one university in Thailand, and then interviewed and observed 10 students who enrolled in the Fundamental University English I course and consented to participate in the study.  An analysis of the transcribed data helped the researchers identify four possible causes for silence in this particular EFL classroom.  They were: (1) the EFL teacher, (2) the students themselves and their classmates, (3) the teaching material and its content, and (4) the classroom environment.  More importantly, these four commonplaces appeared to be entwined.   That is, the less friendly the student participants felt their teacher and their classmates were, the less the students enjoyed their English class; the more pressured the classroom environment was; the more the students would be silent, and vice versa. 


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