If English as a foreign language (EFL) learners speak their target language in the classroom, it can help them to develop appropriate communication skills and facilitate their language acquisition (Goh & Burns, 2012). As a result, many Asian governments have tried to implement communicative language teaching (CLT) policies with an emphasis on using English as the medium for learning. However, the results have been mixed, often resulting in failure (Humphries & Burns, 2015). Japan is an example of this trend. Despite numerous CLT policies, classes continue to be conducted in Japanese, and student reticence to speak English is one factor blamed for this phenomenon (King, 2013). In order to explore the complexities that influence students’ capacity to speak (CTS) in English in the classroom, the authors investigated the perceptions of 104 English Department undergraduates using the “narrative frames” approach (Barkhuizen & Wette, 2008). Students were asked to report on the factors that increased and decreased their CTS in high school classrooms. Based on the findings, the authors discuss the following classroom strategies: (a) developing a supportive classroom culture, (b) setting a framework of rules, (c) introducing a variety of activities, and (d) showing empathy and flexibility to students' needs.
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