Proceedings of The 5th World Conference on Research in Education
The Effects of a Simple Word Game on Students’ Willingness to Communicate
A student’s willingness to communicate (WTC) in a second language (L2) is the extent to which they choose to use that language in different circumstances. It is affected by various factors, including a student’s disposition and their confidence in their L2 skills. Playing games in an L2 can potentially improve a student’s WTC in a foreign language if the games can assist in developing their L2 abilities. This study examines how regularly creating and playing a simple English word-puzzle affected the WTC in English of first-year Japanese university students enrolled in a mandatory English discussion course. Classes of students enrolled in this course were separated into two groups. For their weekly homework, one group (n = 57) was tasked with creating an English word-puzzle for their classmates to play and playing at least one puzzle created by their peers, and the other group (n = 59) served as the control group and was not assigned this homework task. Both groups were given a pre- and posttest to measure their WTC in English at the beginning and end of the semester. Differences in the changes to WTC between the control group and experimental are then compared to assess the effect playing the word-puzzle had on WTC. Findings show that the experimental group had a greater increase in WTC than the control group by the end of the semester, but a t-test showed no significant difference between the two groups, or between the experimental group’s WTC before and after the treatment. This differs from other research findings but could be due to sampling problems in the current study.
keywords: games, Japanese students, second language, willingness to communicate, word puzzle.