Sometimes it can be difficult in large ESL classes to get students to speak up and participate in class discussions, so teachers will often have students form smaller groups for speaking activities. There are occasions, though, when a whole class discussion can really take off if students are enthusiastic about a topic and are eager to participate.
ESL learners come into the classroom with a wide variety of proficiency, backgrounds, and expectations. These factors, and others, influence the motivation learners have to invest time and effort in their learning. There are many things that a teacher can do to motivate learners while teaching in the classroom, but it is also very important to consider learner motivation when planning instruction.