Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Rhonda Oliver

Abstract

Interactionist theories of second language acquisition (SLA) claim that both comprehensible input and modified interaction in the target language are necessary for language learning. In the foreign language context, little opportunity exists for such input simply through exposure to the target language outside the classroom. Therefore, the quantity as well as quality of input within classrooms is especially important. However in spite of this fact many non-native teachers of second language, including English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers, tend to avoid using the target language in their classrooms. This has serious pedagogic implications. Thai teachers are typical of many EFL teachers in that they appear to avoid using English in the classroom. While suggestions have been made as to why this might be the case, to date there has been no direct research to examine this issue. This study aims to investigate some of the factors that may prevent Thai teachers from using English in their classroom. In the first stage of the study, data were collected from primary and secondary Thai teachers of English in both private and public schools. The teachers were interviewed using focus group discussions which were audio-recorded. Key issues emerging from this data were used to develop a questionnaire for the second stage of the study. A representative sample of teachers was then selected from a range of schools and surveyed using this instrument. Finally, in the third stage, the results of the questionnaire were presented to the original focus groups to validate the responses and to explore possible reasons for the outcomes. The analysis of focus group interviews was based on the interview transcripts. For the questionnaire results, the data from questionnaires were analysed using Multivariate analysis (MANOV A). Findings of the primary and secondary teachers were compared, as were the private and public school teachers. In addition, post-hoc Scheffe tests (p = .05) on the univariate F-ratios were performed to determine if there were significant differences between the groups. Findings from the focus group interviews showed that the most significant influences on Thai teachers' use of English in their classes included the low proficiency level of teachers and students, teachers' language anxiety and students' objectives for studying English. The results from the questionnaires were slightly different from the focus group interviews. They indicated that exams, the curriculum focus on grammar, the low proficiency of both teachers and students, and pre-service teacher training were the major reasons for "target language avoidance". There were significant differences between the private and public school teachers. There were also significant differences in the responses of primary and secondary teachers. All teachers suggested a variety of ways they could be encouraged to use more English. Finally, this study offers suggestions for further research concerning teachers' beliefs regarding classroom language use.

Share

 
COinS