Date of Award

1-1-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Margaret Bowering

Second Advisor

Dr Russell Waugh

Abstract

A new system-wide educational change has been introduced in Thailand that requires English as a foreign language (EFL) to be taught from primary to university level. This study investigates a genre-based method of teaching English to grade 7 secondary students in Thailand. The study was conducted in three phases. In phase 1, Rasch measures of reading comprehension (based on three kinds of genre texts) and of attitudes and behaviour towards genre-based learning of English were created for use in phase 2. An interval scale of 36 items (18 real and 18 ideal perspectives) was created from an original attitude and behaviour questionnaire of 96 items administered to a sample of 300 grade 7 students. With the some sample, an interval scale of reading comprehension for 18 items was created from an original sample of 60 items. In phase 2 of the study, a controlled experiment in teaching reading involving 90 students from three secondary schools in Ratchburi Thailand was implemented. The students from each school were assigned randomly to an experimental group (45) and a control group (45). The experimental group was taught by using genre-based rhetorical structures (narrative, journalistic, expository) while the control group was taught by a traditional teaching method. A great deal of care was taken to treat the experimental group and the control group the same in every respect except for the teaching method. During phase 3 a discussion group comprising the three heads of English departments and the three trainee teachers in the schools evaluated the results through focused discussions. Results indicated that the experimental group improved in English reading comprehension, and in attitudes and behaviour, significantly more than the control group. The discussion group recommended implementation of a genre-based teaching and learning programme for EFL in teacher training, based on the results. The findings have implications for the training of English teachers, administrators, and teacher educators in Thailand, and for future research in the measurement of educational variables.

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