Title

The professional development of tourist police in Thailand : an investigation into English communication competency

Date of Award

1-1-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Associate Professor Jan Gray

Second Advisor

Doctor Jeremy Pagram

Abstract

Tourism plays a. major role in the economy of Thailand and the service sector has been oriented to the provision of services for international tourists, many of whom are native or non-native speakers of English. The Royal Thai Police have a Tourist Police Division (TPD) whose officers assist tourists in various ways, and English is a dominant means of communication in this role. However, the English language competency of the officers is often insufficient for their task. Enhancing effective communication between Tourist Police (TP) officers and foreign tourists is, therefore, an important goal of the TPD. It has endeavoured to do this by implementing e-learning English courses for its personnel. This portfolio aims to examine these courses and the needs of the Tourist Police. Recommendations and suggestions are made about how an English training course should be designed to meet the TP's needs for professional development. The problems of English communication faced by the TP officers with foreign tourists are examined, including the e-learning English course used. Documentary inquiry and small scale investigations were conducted to accomplish this. The TP officers' English competency was examined to elicit their responses to English communication, whilst the perceptions of foreign tourists were also explored to obtain their views towards the officers' competency in English. The current e-learning English course the TP officers undergo as part of their professional development was examined in terms of pedagogy, interface design and course content. The findings revealed that the TP officers found speaking and listening skills to be the most problematic aspect of communicating with foreigners in English. The foreign tourists perceived the TP officers used English comprehensibly, even though some barriers in communication were found in terms of pronunciation, grammatical misuse, and inadequate vocabulary. The issues identified from the e-learning analysis include technology literacy and access limitations, the quality of the e-learning course, the pedagogy and learning style used, and some affective factors. Guidelines and recommendations were developed to guide future research and development as well as TP administrators and the course providers so that they might be better guided in the successful development of future English language e-learning courseware.

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