Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Faculty of Education


‘Willingness to Communicate‘ (WTC) defined as the willingness to seek out communication opportunities and to use the language for authentic communication has attracted much research interest in the field of second language acquisition for its role in promoting successful language learning (Cao, 2009a; Cao & Philp, 2006; Kang, 2005; MacIntyre, Clément, Dörnyei, & Noels, 1998; MacIntyre & Doucette, 2009; Peng, 2007; Yu, 2009). Most of these studies see WTC as a psycholinquistic construct. Few studies have examined the way in which WTC is manifested in classroom interaction. This is an important issue because of the direct relationship between positive WTC and successful language learning. This study extends the current understanding of WTC by in-depth examination of EFL learners‘ participation during classroom interaction.

Both sociocultural theory and Systemic Functional Linguistics are employed as frameworks for this study. Adopting a multidiscipline approach permits description not only of the social context of the activity, but also of the language choices in the discourse. This provides a clearer picture of the actual learners‘ interaction, their contributions to the group work, and the situational factors that affect their Willingness to Communicate.

This study contributed not only to the notion of Willingness to Communicate, but also provided theoretical contributions to both sociocultural theory and Systemic Functional Linguistics by bridging these two theories in the study on Second Language Acquisition. This study has expanded the previous model of WTC by suggesting the influences of semiotic mediations as a potential contributing factor to learners‘ willingness to communicate in the group task. In addition, it also suggested that the learner‘s WTC can be realized through examination of their linguistic choices as a result, this study also provided a new dimension of WTC from a linguistic point of view as well as a reconceptualization of the WTC notion based on the results from sociallyoriented and linguistics theories.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.