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Task-based learning and curriculum innovation in a Thai EFL context


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Iemjinda, M 2003 , 'Task-based learning and curriculum innovation in a Thai EFL context', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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'Professional development is one of the most promising and powerful routes
to growth on the job, to combating boredom and alienation, to school
improvement and to satisfaction' (Full an, 1982: 274 ).
The aim of this study was to develop, implement and evaluate a professional
development programme for teachers of English as a Foreign Language in Thailand
to assist them to make a major change in their pedagogy, a change mandated by the
National Education Act of 1999. More specifically, what was required of them was
to change from being a teacher who delivers instruction in the classroom to a teacher
who acts as a facilitator in a learner-centred classroom.
The professional development programme (PDP) drew for its design on programmes
recommended for their success in other contexts, but was unique for its innovatory
combination of specific forms of content ('task-based learning') and process (a
'coaching approach'), and for its adaptation to the needs of EFL primary school
teachers in Thailand. Task-based learning (TBL) was recommended in the literature
for its success in helping teachers to focus on student learning, and providing explicit
practices to implement the principles of communicative language teaching (CLT) as
required by the new cuniculum. A coaching approach was claimed to assist teachers
by clearly explaining theoretical concepts and their practical implementation at the
classroom level, simplifying the steps for implementation in the classroom context
and supporting teachers through the process of change.
The study was conducted in a non-metropolitan region in Thailand, and involved
nine primary EFL teachers and their classes in three cities. Data were gathered by
quantitative (questionnaire, classroom observation checklist) and qualitative
(interview) methods before and after the PDP to record changes in the teachers'
perceptions and classroom practices over eight months. The data showed that all the
teachers were rated higher by their supervisors on the six major criteria chosen to
characterise CL T, and the teachers and their students provided corroborating
evidence of a major shift in pedagogy towards the model preferred by the Thai
Ministry of Education.
The study showed that a professional development programme of this kind, closely
adapted to a specific context, involving preparatory workshop training followed by a
semester of guided, strongly supported classroom implementation practice, can make
a significant change in Thai primary EFL teachers' understanding and use of CLT as
an innovatory pedagogy. It indicates that this model of professional development is
capable of providing a means by which the desired change to a learner-centred,
communicative English language cuniculum might be achieved system-wide in
Thailand, one that has up to this point proved very difficult to implement.
This study represents a contribution to several fields, including curriculum change,
teaching English as a Foreign Language, and professional development. It makes a
major contribution to the area of foreign language teaching and learning, particularly
professional development in the teaching of English as a foreign language in a
country such as Thailand.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Iemjinda, M
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