Investigating Willingness to Communicate (WTC) in English between lower and upper primary English learners in Hong Kong ESL classrooms


Research output: ThesisHonours Projects (HP)


The concept of Willingness to Communicate (WTC) has been introduced in recent years and is assumed to be one of the key influence leading to successful second language acquisition as well as modern language learning. This present study focuses on comparing the differences between upper and lower primary learners’ WTC and exploring the factors for affecting primary learners’ WTC in Hong Kong ESL classrooms. The study adopts a mixed-method approach in which data were collected through in-class observations, interviews, and questionnaires. The findings suggest that there is a prominent difference between upper and lower primary learners’ WTC, with lower primary students showing higher tendency to speak English in ESL classrooms while upper primary students tended to be less willing to speak English. Besides, the findings also show that age, gender, L2 self-confidence, effects of teachers and personality traits have a significant influence on learners’ WTC in English. Both upper and lower female primary learners showed a higher WTC in English while the male learners showed the opposite result. Primary learners with intermediate and low WTC level also attributed their WTC levels to their L2 self-confidence that their high level of L2 anxiety and poor perceived language competence restrained their WTC in English. Besides, the support and encouragement from teachers as well as the topics chosen by teachers had a significant impact on both upper and lower primary learners’ WTC in English. Moreover, it is found that personality traits have a more significant influence on upper primary learners than lower primary learners. Finally, the findings of this study provide new pedagogical insights for ESL or English teachers in primary schools.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationBachelor of Education (Honours)
  • LIU, Fung Ming, Christy 廖鳳明, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Willingness to communicate (WTC)
  • English language teaching (ELT)
  • ESL
  • Second language acquisition
  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B059
  • Course code: ENG4905


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