Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number1 March 2020                                                 Pp. 12-28

Full Paper PDF


Suggestions to Increase Oral Participation in an at-risk Chilean Public Primary EFL

Tulio Barrios Bulling
Faculty of Education and Culture
Universidad SEK, Santiago de Chile

Nicole Garay Guzmán
English Department
Escuela Dra Eloísa Díaz, Santiago de Chile




The current study inquires about the students’ perception regarding their English classes at Escuela Dra Eloísa Díaz, an at-risk public school in Santiago de Chile. How do students value their English classes? What are the difficulties they have to face, and how can teachers increase students’ participation are the research question that lead this investigation. Accordingly, the main objectives are to determine the students’ perception regarding their English classes, to comprehend the main difficulties they have to face and to provide recommendations to enhance the weaker areas. To achieve the intended aims, the researchers use a mixed-method data collection procedure to gain meaningful information. A quantitative survey to obtain a broad vision regarding several aspects of the English classes at the targeted school, complemented by a focus group and a series of interviews aiming to get more in-depth knowledge qualitatively. After the analysis process, the authors conclude that oral participation is one of the main obstacles students have to overcome in their English language learning processes. Students are conscious of the importance of learning English and the difficulties they have to face. Among them, they recognize a low level in oral participation and the lack of personal effort. Reading is for them the easiest skill to develop, while speaking appears to be the most difficult one. Their perception of the English language learning process seems to be limited, and students clearly associate learning with having fun.
Keywords: Chilean Public Primary school,  EFL classroom, learning, motivation, oral participation 

Cite as: Barrios, T. B., & Garay, N. G. (2020). Suggestions to Increase Oral Participation in an at-risk Chilean Public Primary EFL Classroom. Arab World English Journal11 (1) 12-28.


Abebe, D. T. & Deneke, D. (2015). Causes of students’ limited participation in EFL classroom, Ethiopian Public Universities in Focus6 (1), 74-89.

Bialobrzeska, M., Randell, C., Hellmann, L. & Winkler. G. (2012). Creating a caring school. Identifying vulnerable learners in your school, South African Institute for Distance Education.

Bocanegra, C. & Ramirez, A. (2018). Speaking Activities to Foster Students’ Oral Performance at a Public School, English Language Teaching11 (8), 65-72.

Choo, L. & Stella, H. (2015). The value of class participation as an assessment tool in the English Language classroom, ELIS Classroom Inquiry, 1-7.

Crosthwaite, P., Bailey D. & Meeker, A. (2015). Assessing in-class participation for EFL: Considerations of effectiveness and fairness for different learning styles, Language Testing in Asia5 (9), 1-19.

Junta de Auxilio Escolar y Becas (JUNAEB) (2019), Prioridades 2019 con IVE SINAE Básica y Media Comunal

Khamkhien, A. (2010). Teaching English speaking and English speaking tests in the Thai context: A reflection from Thai perspective, English Language Teaching, 3 (1), 184-190.

Ministerio de Educación (MINEDUC) (2019). Bases Curriculares, Santiago de Chile, Unidad de Currículum y Evaluación

Subborao, K. & Coury, D. (2004). Reaching Out to Africa’s Orphans: A Framework for Public Action, Washington, D.C., The World Bank.

Tepfenhart, K. (2011). Student perceptions of oral participation in the foreign language classroom, SUNY Oswego Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1993). The Collected Works of L. S. Vygotsky1 & 2, New York: Plenum Press.

Warayet, A. (2011). Participation as a complex phenomenon in the EFL classroom (Doctorate thesis), Newcastle University, U.K.

Wei, M. (2008). Increasing Oral Participation in ESL/EFL Conversation Classrooms, Asian Journal of English Language Teaching18, 169-187.



Dr. Tulio Barrios Bulling is a pedagogue, consultant, educational researcher, and administrator
at diverse educational levels. Currently, he holds a full-time professorship at Universidad SEK in
Santiago de Chile. His many interests include teachers’ leadership and performance assessment,
skills and competencies development, and educational management.

Nicole Garay Guzmán is an English teacher who specializes in teaching in vulnerable contexts.
At present, she holds a full-time teaching position at Escuela Dra Eloísa Díaz in Santiago de Chile.
Her main professional interests are English language teaching methodologies and supporting
students with learning difficulties, mainly at the primary level.