Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2019, 2(1); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.040024.

Analysis of Classroom Silence in English Class in Chinese Universities


Mingshen Wang

Corresponding Author:
Mingshen Wang

College of Foreign Languages, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China
[email protected]


The purpose of this paper is to survey and consider the implications of the literature analyzing causes of college students’ silence in English class. Since classroom silence has been considered negative, this paper attempts to explain why classroom silence should be avoided, investigate the major causes of classroom silence, and draw out implications for tackling classroom silence. The issues within this discussion fall into three categories: classroom silence caused by students, classroom silence caused by teachers, and classroom silence caused by Chinese culture. This investigation of the local Chinese context resonates with and contributes to the wider discussion of the countermeasures against EFL classroom silence pervading Chinese universities and warrants closer examination. It is difficult to say in advance how far such knowledge could contribute to any policy decisions that may be made in the future, but it is important that the voice of teachers and students makes valuable contributions to the larger wider about the reformation of Chinese EFL learning and English education.


Classroom silence, Chinese universities, EFL study, Cultural phenomenon

Cite This Paper

Mingshen Wang, Analysis of Classroom Silence in English Class in Chinese Universities. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2019) Vol. 2: 54-64. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.040024.


[1] Abraham, R. G., & Vann, R. J. (1987). Strategies of two language learners: A case study. In A. Wenden, & J. Rubin (Eds.), Learner strategies in language learning (pp. 85-102). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
[2] Bao, L. (2015). A Survey on Silence in Chinese College English Class. Journal of Yueyang Vocational and Technical College (4), 72-76. Chen, X. (2017). A Study on the Silence of Art Majors and Physical Education Majors in College English Class. Journal of Puer, University, 33 (5), 114-115.
[3] Darley, J. M., & Latané, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (8), 377-383.
[4] Ellis, R. (1994). Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gardner, R. C., Day, J. B., & Maclntyre, P. D. (1992a). Integrative Motivation, Induced Anxiety, and Language Learning in a Controlled Environment. Studies in Second Language. Acquisition, 14 (02), 197.
[5] Karau, S., & Williams, K. (1993). Social loafing: A meta-analytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(4), 681-706.
[6] Kassin, F., & Markus, B. (2013). Social Psychology. Toronto: Nelson Education.
[7] Kim, S., Ates, B., Grigsby, Y., Kraker, S., & Micek, T. A. (2016). Ways to Promote the Classroom Participation of International Students by Understanding the Silence of Japanese University Students. Journal of International Students, 6 (2), 431-450.
[8] Krashen, S. (2003). Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use. Portsmouth: Heinemann.
[9] Li, W., & Wang, Y. (2018). A Qualitative Research on Influencing Factors of College Students’ Classroom Silence. Review of Higher Education (3), 54-66.
[10] Li, Y. (2014). Ameliorating the Situation where Students Keep Silent in College English Class with the Help of Authentic English Movies. Film Review (16), 87-88.
[11] Liao, J. (2016). A Discussion of Silence in College English Class and Countermeasures against it. English Square (11), 102-104.
[12] Lin, H. (2012). A Study on the Relationship between Communicative Competence and Communication Strategy of College Non-English Majors. Journal of Shanxi Agricultural University (Social Science Edition), 11 (10), 1061-1065.
[13] Liu, L. (2013). Study on College Students’ Silence in English Classroom. Journal of Tonghua Normal University, 34 (10), 98-100.
[14] Liu, M. (2012). On Silence Caused by Teachers in College English Class and Solutions. Journal of Chifeng University (Natural Science Edition) (2), 185-186.
[15] Luo, X. (2018). Causes and Countermeasures of Silence in College English Class. Course Education Research (30), 54-55.
[16] Peng, L. (2016). Exploration of Silence in College English Class from the Perspective of Culture. Science & Technology Information (25), 84-86.
[17] Tang, Q., Hu, X., Zeng, B., & Jiang, J. (2018). Research on Analysis and Solutions of Classroom Silence Phenomenon of English Majors in Local Universities. Education Teaching Forum (4), 164-166.
[18] Wang, S. (2015). Attribution Analysis and Countermeasures for Aphasia in College English Class. Journal of Chongqing Jiaotong University (Social Sciences Edition), 15 (3), 125-129.
[19] Wu, G., Zhang, Y., Li, W., & Guo, Y. (2011). Analysis of the “Group Silence” in Questioning in College Class: based on “diffusion of responsibility” theory. Journal of Shanxi Normal University (Social Science Edition) (s4), 147-149.
[20] Wu, J. (2015). A Study on the Phenomenon of Silence in College English Class. English Square (12), 87-88.
[21] Wu, L. (2011). Focusing on Students’ Silence: Analysis of Classroom Silence in College English Class and Countermeasures against it. Literature Education (10), 48-49.
[22] Xi, J. (2018). On the Reformation of Spoken English Teaching from the Perspective of CET- SET. Western China Quality Education, 4(20), 204.
[23] Ye, L., & Peng, J. (2013). Analysis of Causes of Classroom Silence and Countermeasures. Theory and Practice of Education (17), 46-48.
[24] Ying, Z. (2018). Cause Analysis and Solution of Classroom Silence of Higher Vocational College Students. Journal of Huaibei Vocational and Technical College, 17 (06), 52-54.
[25] Yuan, N. (2017). Reflections on Learning Empathy and English Classroom Silence of Higher Vocational College Students. Journal of Guangxi College of Education (5), 152-154.
[26] Zhao, M. (2018). Educational Investigation and Cultural Origins of Classroom Silence. Teaching & Administration (27), 87-89.
[27] Zhang, J. (2011). Teachers’ Question-raising—The Key Point in Breaking the Silence in Higher Vocational College EFL Class. Journal of Jiujiang Vocational and Technical College (2), 33-35.
[28] Zhang, Y., & Li, R. (2014). Students’ Classroom Silence and the Art Treatments for it. Shanghai Research on Education (10), 54-55.
[29] Zhang, Z. (2011). On the Reasons and Countermeasures of Negative Silence in Classroom. Teaching Reference of Middle School Politics (5), 18-19.
[30] Zhu, J. (2012). Reasons and Countermeasures for Students’ Silence in English Classroom. Teaching & Administration (24), 137-138.
[31] Zhuang, Y. (2013). An Analysis of the Present Situation and Causes of English Classroom Silence. Teaching & Administration (27), 104-106.