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Title: Thai university students', teachers' and program administrators' construction of nativeness in English language teaching
Author: Boonsuk, Yusop
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 5095
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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As English has been rapidly expanding its function and scope beyond geographical, social and racial boundaries, it is thus perceived as a bridge that connects multilingual and multicultural groups of people and serves their needs on both national and international levels. Consequently, the number of people (especially from the Outer and the Expanding Circle countries) who prefer to learn and teach English is steadily increasing every year. In English language teaching (ELT), however, non-native English speaking teachers (NNESTs) are frequently challenged, questioned, discriminated against, and endure prejudice from some educational stakeholders, even if they are qualified to teach English. The concept of the ideal English as a second or foreign language teacher and whether they should be a native or non-native English-speaker has been discussed intensively in ELT environments, including Thailand where this study was conducted. In order to gain a deeper understanding of this issue, the main aims of this study are to investigate the perceptions of Thai University students, native English speaking teachers (NESTs), non-NESTs, and English program administrators (EPAs) towards the construction of nativeness and its relationship to the teaching effectiveness of English teachers. To provide a clearer picture, characteristics of effective English teachers and perceptions of educational stakeholders towards differences between NESTs and NNESTs are also examined. Within this study, 301 students answered the questionnaire,while 35 participants participated in the semi-structured individual interviews (16 students, 7 NESTs, 8 NNESTs, and 4 EPAs). Mixed-research methods (quantitative and qualitative) were used to elicit the data from the participants. To achieve the aims of the study, the students’ questionnaires and semi-structured individual interviews were employed as research instruments. Descriptive and inferential statistics were utilized to analyze the data collected from the questionnaire, whereas content analysis was employed to analyze the data collected from the interviews. The findings from the study illustrate a challenge to the cultural stereotype towards the Inner Circle country groups of people who employ English as their mother tongue and who are perceived by the majority of the outsiders (the Outer and Expanding Circle people) as an ideal or model of English teaching. In this study, the majority of the participants perceive that English no longer belongs to any particular country, nationality or external appearance. They illustrate that every English user has the right to claim ownership of English and to utilize it in the way they prefer without looking back or considering the native speaker norms. Additionally, the findings indicate that there is no relationship between the native backgrounds of the teachers and their teaching effectiveness or ineffectiveness. In other words, factors, such as, NESTs and NNESTs' birthplaces, their nationalities, the first languages they speak or their external appearance are no indication of whether they are qualified or unqualified English teachers. From the perspectives of the participants, whether a person is an effective or ineffective English teacher should be evaluated individually by looking at their Personal characteristics, Pedagogical characteristics, Cultural sensitivity, Linguistic characteristics and Professional characteristics, as the main evaluation criteria. However, the findings also reveal that NESTs and NNESTs are constructed differently by the participants according to five aspects; Cultural sensitivity, Linguistic characteristics, Pedagogical characteristics, Personal characteristics and Hiring practices, although there is no implication that one is superior to the other. Furthermore, discriminatory hiring practices, which favour NESTs, are still reported due to external pressures.
Supervisor: Baker, William ; Huettner, Julia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available