Making sense of the English language policy in Thailand: An exploration of teachers' practices and dispositions
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Similar to other countries in the South-east Asian region, Thailand has transformed its education policy so that it may be able to better face the challenges of the globalised world. In order to do this, constructs such as student-centred learning and critical thinking, as well as the teaching of English in a more communicative manner, have been promoted. There has been little critical or grounded research carried out on the current English policy in Thailand, which emerged from the National Education Act of 1999 and the subsequent Basic Education Core Curricula of 2001 and 2008, therefore, in order to better understand how this policy works, this study explores how a group of Thai-English language teachers conceptualise the English language policy in Thailand by investigating their practices and beliefs (dispositions). In order to do this, and drawing on a social constructionist perspective from Bourdieu’s theory of practice, this thesis adopts a qualitative methodology that incorporates exploratory and ethnographic elements. Employing a combination of data collection methods that include classroom observations, retrospective accounts and semi-structured interviews, the findings demonstrate that a gap exists between the goals of the policy and what actually occurs in the classroom. Thus, there were few examples of either the communicative approach or student-centred learning being employed, with teachers instead tending to transmit knowledge to their students in a teacher-centred manner. Reasons for this may be due to the influence that the national examinations has on teachers’ work, the suitability and / or relevance of imported teaching and learning approaches on local contexts, as well as the need for better implementation of change. Teachers would indeed benefit from more professional development concerning the policy, but this thesis also argues that the policy itself needs to be critically examined. This would then allow Thailand, as well as other countries in the region, to better inform and improve their current education policies.
EdD in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages