Teachers’ Perceptions of Cultural Contents in English Language Textbooks Used in Multicultural Classrooms at a Thai Primary School

Authors

  • Kulthida Saemee Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University
  • Jaewon Jane Ra Mahidol University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-0061

Keywords:

Thai English Textbooks, English Language Teaching, Intercultural Awareness, Intercultural Communicative Competence, Multiculturalism

Abstract

Textbooks have always played a significant role in the field of English language teaching (ELT). They are the main source that conveys cultural values and information in the language classroom. However, compared to the increasing number of migrants in Thailand, and particularly migrant children in Thai public schools, ELT textbooks have yet to properly take into consideration the reality of the multicultural Thai context. English is currently the most widely used lingua franca in the world, which means that it is shaped by a large number of non-native speakers in various multilingual and multicultural settings and local contexts. Thus, it is no longer sensible for ELT to be solely associated with Anglophone cultures. This study is based on observations in classrooms and semi-structured interviews with three Thai teachers of English at a government primary school in Samut Sakhon province in Thailand. Findings demonstrate that there is a strong need for more cultural content related to ASEAN countries in English textbooks, especially in multicultural schools. Furthermore, this study addresses implications for future ELT practices and materials for Thai primary schools in light of the continuously growing diversity within Thai society.

Author Biographies

Kulthida Saemee, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University

Kulthida Saemee holds a master’s degree in Language and Intercultural Communication from the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University. Her research interests include multicultural education, English as a lingua franca, and English language teaching (ELT) materials used in current ELT classrooms. 

Jaewon Jane Ra, Mahidol University

Jaewon Jane Ra teaches English for Specific Purposes /English for Academic Purposes at business schools in Paris, France. Before this, she was a lecturer in Language Teaching at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand. She holds a PhD degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Southampton, UK, and an master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language/Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the University of Birmingham, UK. Her research interests include global Englishes, English Language Teacher, English Medium Instruction, intercultural communication, internationalization of higher education, intercultural citizenship, interculturality, and translanguaging. 

References

Baker, W. (2012). From cultural awareness to intercultural awareness: Culture in ELT. ELT journal, 66(1), 62-70.

Baker, W. (2015). Culture and complexity through English as a lingua franca: Rethinking competences and pedagogy in ELT. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 4(1), 9-30.

Brewer, J. D. (2000). Ethnography. Open University Press.

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Multilingual Matters.

Byram, M. (2012). Language awareness and (critical) cultural awareness–relationships, comparisons and contrasts. Language awareness, 21(1-2), 5-13.

Canagarajah, S. (2009). The plurilingual tradition and the English language in South Asia. AILA Review, 22(1), 5-22.

Canagarajah, S. (2011). Codemeshing in academic writing: Identifying teachable strategies of translanguaging. The Modern Language Journal, 95(3), 401-417.

Cheewasukthaworn, K., & Suwanarak, H. (2017). Exploring Thai EFL teachers’ perceptions of how intercultural communicative competence is important for their students. PASAA, 54, 177-204.

Cortazzi, M., & Jin, L. X. (1999). Cultural mirrors: Materials and methods in the EFL classroom. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Culture in second language teaching and learning (pp. 196-219). Cambridge University Press.

Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies. Oxford University Press.

Fungchomchoei, S., & Kardkarnklai, U. M. (2016). Exploring the intercultural competence of Thai secondary education teachers and its implications in English language teaching. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 236, 240-247.

Greil, T. (2004). Cultural representations and references in English textbooks used at secondary school in Thailand: A quantitative analysis. PASAA, 35, 35-50.

Harrell, M. C., & Bradley, M. A. (2009). Data collection methods: Semi-structured interview and focus groups. RAND National Defense Research.

Holliday, A. (2010). Intercultural communication and ideology. Sage.

Holliday, A. (2013). Understanding intercultural communication: Negotiating a grammar of culture. Routledge.

Jantadej, K., & Charubusp, S. (2018). A case study of Thai secondary school teachers’ English intercultural teaching and perception. International Journal of Progressive Education, 14(5), 39-56.

Jenkins, J. (2015). Repositioning English and multilingualism in English as a Lingua Franca. Englishes in Practice, 2(3), 49-85.

Kachru, B. B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the Outer Circle. In R. Quirk & H. Widdowson (Eds.), English in the world, teaching and learning the language and literatures (pp. 11-30). Cambridge University Press.

Kramsch, C. (1998). Language and culture. Oxford University Press.

Kramsch, C. (2009). The multilingual subject. Oxford University Press.

Kramsch, C. (2015). Language and culture. AILA Review, 27, 30-55.

Laopongharn, W., & Sercombe, P. (2009). What relevance does intercultural communication have to language education in Thailand. Annual Reviews of Education Communication and Language Sciences, 6, 59-83.

Mahmud, Y. S. (2019). The representation of local culture in Indonesian EFL textbooks: Rationales and implications. Indonesian EFL Journal, 5(2), 61-72.

Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. John Wiley & Sons.

Messekher, H. (2014). Cultural representations in Algerian English textbooks. In S. Garton & K. Graves (Eds.), International perspectives on materials in EFL (pp. 69-86). Palgrave Macmillan.

Ministry of Labor. (2019). Statistics of migrant workers in Thailand. https://www.doe.go.th/prd/assets/upload/files/alien_th/52dab4165bbb5c8b3f92ad6c1fc3321d.pdf

Nomnian, S. (2013). Thai cultural aspects in English language textbooks in a Thai secondary school. Veridian E-Journal, 6(7), 13-30.

Pennycook, A. (2010). Language as a local practice. Routledge.

Richards, K. (2003). Qualitative inquiry in TESOL. Palgrave Macmillan.

Saemee, K., & Nomnian, S. (2021a). Cultural representations in ELT textbooks used in a multicultural school. rEFLections, 2(1), 107-120.

Saemee, K., & Nomnian, S. (2021b). Diversity of cultural sources in ELT activity books: A case study of a multicultural primary school in Thailand. PASAA: Journal of Language Teaching and Learning in Thailand, 61, 61-86.

Scollon, R., Scollon, S. W., & Jones, R. H. (2012). Intercultural communication: A discourse approach (3rd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Sifakis, N. C., & Sougari, A. M. (2003). Facing the globalisation challenge in the realm of English language teaching. Language and education, 17(1), 59-71.

Silverman, D. (2011). Interpreting qualitative data: A guide to the principles of qualitative research. Sage.

Syahri, I., & Susanti, R. (2016). An analysis of local and target culture integration in the English textbooks for senior high school in Palembang. Journal of Education and Human Development, 5(2), 97-102.

Thumvichit, A. (2018). Cultural presentation in Thai secondary school ELT coursebooks: An analysis from intercultural perspectives. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 6(11), 99-112.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2019). SDG 4 Data Book: Global Education Indicators. Quebec: UNESCO.

Yamada, M. (2010). English as a multicultural language: Implications from a study of Japan’s junior high schools’ English language textbooks. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 31(5), 491-506.

Yuen, K.-M. (2011). The representation of foreign cultures in English textbooks. ELT Journal, 65(4), 458-466.

Ziaei, S. (2012). Examining cross-cultural clues as to globalization and Iran’s culture in an international EFL book series – American English file. Mediterranean Journal of Social Science, 3(1), 141-148.

Zu, L., & Kong, Z. (2009). A study on the approaches to culture introduction in English textbooks. English Language Teaching, 2(1), 112-118.

Downloads

Published

2021-12-31

How to Cite

Saemee, K., & Ra, J. J. (2021). Teachers’ Perceptions of Cultural Contents in English Language Textbooks Used in Multicultural Classrooms at a Thai Primary School. Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 14(2), 227–241. https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-0061

Issue

Section

Current Research on Southeast Asia