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Palgrave Macmillan

Silence in the Second Language Classroom

ISBN 9781137301475
Publication Date October 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Why are second language learners in Japan's universities so silent? Using an innovative mixed-methods research approach, Jim King investigates the perplexing but intriguing phenomenon of classroom silence. With its exciting new conceptual framework of Dynamic Systems Theory, Silence in the Second Language Classroom offers a unique insight into the true complexity behind why some learners are either unable or unwilling to speak in a foreign language. This highly interdisciplinary book draws on ideas from fields such as psychology, sociolinguistics and anthropology, and delves deeply into themes relating to Japanese society and the country's education system. Written in an accessible and engaging style, this timely volume will be of interest to researchers, students of educational and applied linguistics, language education policy makers and, indeed, anyone who has ever taught.

Jim King is a lecturer in the School of Education, University of Leicester, UK. A Post-doctoral Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), he worked for a number of years in Japan as a lecturer, researcher and teacher trainer.

Foreword by Zoltán Dörnyei
1. Introduction
2. Major Theoretical Frameworks of Silence
3. An Interdisciplinary Overview of Silence in Japan
4. A Critical Analysis of Japan's Language Education System
5. A Structured Observation Study into L2 Classroom Silence
6. An Interview Study Into Learners' Perspectives on L2 Classroom Silence
7. A Naturalistic Stimulated Recall Study of Specific Silence Events
8. Summary and Conclusions


'This book…tackles the meaning of silence in the second language classroom. To say 'the meaning of silence' is, at first glance, to imagine a Zen koan. However, the author does an excellent job, using dynamic systems theory, of challenging the reader to consider why Japanese students are silent and sets up a framework to investigate the phenomenon.' - Joseph Tomei, Asian Englishes
'This is a book written for all language teachers as I am sure all will come up against baffling moments of silence in the classroom. Such silence varies greatly from classroom to classroom and from learners to learners. Not always is it detrimental but it can become so. How should a teacher understand this and deal with it? Silence is a phenomenon that varies widely culturally and King's book helps us look into a society with norms that may differ greatly from ours and are therefore more difficult for us as teachers to understand.' - Tanya Roy, The Linguist List
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