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The reason for this goes beyond the linguistic consideration, also documented by Subbiondo (2005), to consideration of how a student’s cultural and educational backgrounds cause passivity among international students in class. Therefore, the article evaluates the perceptions of silence and reticence among NNS students in group discussions and recommending pedagogical solutions.
Jones (1999) acknowledges that Asians constitute the majority of international students in Australasia and the US. As such, the researcher carries out a literature survey from various secondary sources to determine the perception of Asians on silence and reticence in group discussions in class. The findings indicate that teachers in the surveyed institutions consider Asian students as polite and inactive in class and hence find it better dealing with European, American and Australian students. It was also observed that majority of the teachers have little knowledge on non-Western culture which deters communication between Asian students and teachers. On their part, the students were found not to be keen to learn the host culture despite its great influence in defining the academic system. The students from southeast and northeast Asia in the US, New Zealand and Australia consider reticence and silence as crucial for one’s moral disposition and for maintenance of harmony of social order. I support this observation because even scholars like Paltridge (2006) document that face and politeness vary among cultures and societies. Therefore, the study recommends the need to provide the NNS students with an understanding of the culture of academic English speaking and equip them with the requisite participatory skills. EFL teachers have to be sensitive in class and attend training for cross-cultural awareness. According to Shemshadsara (2012),
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