East Asian Perspectives on Silence in English Language Education Edited by: Jim King, Seiko Harumi

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30 Jun 2020
Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


Silence is a key pedagogical issue in language education. Seen by some as a space for thinking and reflection during the learning process, for others silence represents a threat, inhibiting target language interaction which is so vital during second language acquisition. This book eschews stereotypes and generalisations about why so many learners from East Asia seem either reluctant or unable to speak in English by providing a state-of-the art account of current research into the complex and ambiguous issue of silence in language education. The innovative research included in this volume focuses on silence both as a barrier to successful learning and as a resource that may in some cases facilitate language acquisition. The book offers a fresh perspective on ways to facilitate classroom interaction while also embracing silence and it touches on key pedagogical concepts such as teacher cognition, the role of task features, classroom interactional approaches, pedagogical intervention and socialisation, willingness to communicate, as well as psychological and sociocultural factors. Each of the book’s chapters include self-reflection and discussion tasks, as well as annotated bibliographies for further reading.


This well-informed book uses a healthy variety of research methods to present a multi-layered picture of learner reticence within classroom interaction, and sociocultural and psychological features of learning. It offers highly relevant insights to many school and university classrooms around the world and should be on the reading lists for advanced professional or Masters courses in ELT, applied linguistics, and classroom research methods.

- Martin Cortazzi, University of Warwick, UK

Author Biography:

Jim King is based at the University of Leicester where he directs the institution’s campus-based Masters courses in applied linguistics and English language teaching. His books include the monograph Silence in the Second Language Classroom (Palgrave, 2013) and the edited volume The Emotional Rollercoaster of Language Teaching (with Christina Gkonou and Jean-Marc Dewaele, Multilingual Matters, 2020).

Seiko Harumi is a Lecturer in Japanese and Applied Linguistics (Education) at SOAS, University of London. She has taught English, Applied Linguistics and Japanese in Japan and currently teaches in the United Kingdom. Her academic interests lie in classroom discourse, pragmatics, learner-centred reflective approaches in L2 learning and language pedagogy.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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