Soo Ruey Shing, Goh Hock Seng


The purpose of this study was to investigate pre-service English teachers’ reticent beliefs towards oral participation in English for Academic Purpose (EAP) classrooms. To this end, a survey was carried out using a self-report scale - the Reticent Belief Index (RBI). The participants were 144 pre-service English teachers enrolled in a teacher-training programme in Malaysia. They were all diagnosed with high level of reticence prior to the study. In addition, 24 pre-service teachers, selected randomly from among the survey participants, took part in a focus-group discussion. The results of the study revealed that the majority of the pre-service English teachers subscribed to eight beliefs presumed to be associated with reticent behaviour. Among these, the belief, “I can speak whenever I want to but I would rather listen” was considerably rated the most influential one.  Additionally, a newly identified belief, ‘Kiasuim’ was also found to cause the pre-service teachers being reticent in the class. The findings suggest that, to alleviate pre-service teachers’ reticence, a remedial course which incorporates cognitive aspect of reticence such as modifying irrational beliefs about oral participation, could be included in the current teacher training programme.


Reticent beliefs; pre-service English teachers; EAP classroom; kiasuism

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