Asian (especially Chinese) students of English as a second/foreign language have been alleged to be reticent learners in the recent ESL/EFL literature. Many teachers and researchers attribute such reticence to learners’ inherent disposition that is caused by Asian cultural factors, which simply cannot be altered. The one-way lecture-mode teaching methods are consequently adopted in teaching practice. Nevertheless, the disadvantages of such methods have been more and more apparent with the increase of international commu nication and competition and the new requirements for talents’ overall English proficiency. Thereby, a reconsideration of Chinese learners’ reticence in English class is a prerequisite for the change of the traditional ways of teaching. It has been revealed through the questionnaire study on students and teachers from six institutions of higher education in Jiangsu Province that the reticence is more likely to be the performance of learners’ habitual classroom behavior that has been formed in the traditional instructional contexts. It is also found that mainland learners hold a positive attitude to overt participation in classroom activities. Therefore, classroom reticence can be altered with the appropriate learning environment and learning atmosphere.
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