ESL Learners’ Sense of Alienation: An Exploratory Mixed Method Research on the Role of ESL Teachers’ Remarking Practices

  •  Misbah A. Khan    
  •  Misbah R. Khan    
  •  Iftikhar A. Chughtai    


The study attempts to highlight a major cause of learners’ detachment and low performance in ESL classrooms at graduation levels in Bahawalpur City, Punjab, Pakistan. In this connection, this study tries to focus on the role of teachers’ feedback remarks as a major cause of either instilling or accelerating sense of alienation among ESL learners. This study underpinned exploratory sequential mixed method research design to prove its hypotheses. The qualitative data shows that ESL learners receive evaluative remarks from their teachers in the form of 'face-threatening acts' more than ‘face-saving acts’ during classroom activities. Resultantly, they experience a sense of alienation from the language-related tasks and try to avoid the classroom situation feeling it a threat. The quantitative analysis shows the average range of sense of alienation experienced by learners which are highest in oral activities, lower in written tasks and lowest in comprehension-based activities. ESL teachers' evaluative feedback either instils or accelerates the sense of alienation among learners during various classroom activities. The type of alienation experienced more was an accelerated sense of alienation. This is why the majority of learners avoid getting engaged in the activities in which they find chances of losing self-image. Keeping the results in view, training sessions on ‘Face Wants, Politeness theory, and Speech Acts’ are recommended for ESL teachers to enhance their follow-up remarking practices. Moreover, there is a need to develop an anxiety-free classroom atmosphere to strengthen learners' autonomy and linguistic self-concept.

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