Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.
Facility in English language reading comprehension is essential for learners of English as a second language, since English is the international language of written (as well as spoken) communication for business, science and technology. In Thailand, as acknowledged in the literature, learners of English as a second language often experience considerable difficulties with reading. There are many reasons for this, but, given the importance of reading to the development of language proficiency, it is of great importance to identify ways in which student learning can be enhanced. This paper reports on a project that sought to obtain specific information from Thai undergraduate students about their experiences when undertaking formal reading classes in a higher education institution. The study was part of a larger project to identify ways in which student learning could be enhanced. It involved the application of focus group techniques to elicit information about students‘ experience of the reading classroom in Thailand. The findings indicated that while students appeared to be motivated to develop their English language reading comprehension, they experienced barriers to learning which included an educational approach which did not foster independence and autonomy; materials that were not always engaging; and a classroom environment which was not optimally conducive to learning.