Cross–cultural communication in Thai EFL university classrooms: a case study
non-native English students
cross-cultural communication strategies
X162 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
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AbstractIn the past few decades there has been increased communication among people of diverse cultural backgrounds. Greater internationalisation of education has contributed to academic interest in cross–cultural communication. Thailand is considered an‟English as a Foreign Language‟ (EFL) country in which English is mandatory curriculum subject at primary, secondary, college and university levels. Thai education policy has aimed at improving Thai students‟ English proficiency by hiring more native English speakers to teach at schools and universities. Moreover, having had native English lecturers teaching in Thai universities provides opportunities for Thai students to communicate across cultures. From a social–cultural perspective, this study investigated how native English lecturers and Thai students apply cross–cultural communication strategies within real interactional contexts in the Thai EFL classroom. This research aims to improve communication between native English lecturers, Thai lecturers and non–native English students or Thai students through the use of effective cross–cultural communication strategies in the Thai EFL (English as a Foreign Language) classroom. This study used a mixed–qualitative–methods design (Mason, 2006) which was composed of interviews, classroom observations and video recordings of classroom teachings. This methodology was chosen in order to allow the researcher an integrated and clearer understanding of what was happening in the Thai EFL classroom. The case study approach was used to investigate one small department within one university (Denscombe, 2010) to allow the researcher to explore in–depth exchanges arising from teacher–student communication phenomena (Yin, 2009). Using socio–cultural theory developed by Engeström and different themes that emerged from various taxononomies as frameworks, the findings from this research revealed that native English lecturers, Thai lecturers, and Thai students employed various cross–cultural communication strategies including communication strategies derived from Tarone‟s (1977; 1983), Willems‟(1997), and Dӧrnyei and Scott‟s (1995a, 1995b) taxonomy of communication strategies. Additionally, simple pedagogical strategies applied by the lecturers played significant roles in enabling Thai students to maintain the conversations as well as boosting confidence in English speaking while having less fear of interacting with the lecturer in the Thai EFL classroom. Furthermore, the findings suggest that both native English and Thai lecturers have to be aware of and sensitive to Thai students‟ cultural aspects, their nature and behaviours expressed in the Thai EFL classroom in order to encourage these students to respond or speak up. Besides, the application of CCC(s), CS(s) and pedagogical strategies are perceived as necessary tools for the Thai EFL teachers and students. As a result of this research, an original taxonomy of effective communication strategies is proposed to be used by both teachers and students in cross–cultural EFL classroom contexts.
CitationKuesoongnern, S. (2018) ‘Cross–Cultural Communication in Thai EFL University Classrooms: A Case Study’. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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