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Title: Teacher perceptions of policy change in teaching Thai : an ethnographic study
Author: Chunlahawanit, Narumon
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 0644
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2015
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Over the last decade there has been growing interest in applying insights from neuroscience to education, although the justification for doing this is disputed. There has been an expectation in some countries for teachers to engage with neuroscience and integrate these new perspectives into their pedagogical practice. Consequently, as such efforts have been widely applied, there has been discussion in both the neuroscience and education fields focusing on the credibility of interdisciplinary connections neuroscience and education, given they are different disciplines, and how neuroscience can appropriately influence educational change. Initiatives and texts to guide educators in the critical use of neuroscience research and research on teachers' perspectives on the educational relevance of neuroscience have been studied widely in many countries, particularly in Western contexts. However, there has been less discussion in South Asian countries. Nevertheless, in Thailand, the government has recommended instructional policy for teaching Thai informed by neuroscience. This thesis reports on an investigation into Thai teachers' experiences with the recommended policy guided by neuroscience. In order to gain understanding of Thai primary school teachers' experiences of the state-sanctioned instructional approach, claimed to be brain-based, I undertook an ethnographic study influenced by thematic analysis of the experience and practices of six Thai primary teachers in six different schools as they interpreted the recommended policies in relation to teaching Thai. The study also sought to understand factors affecting their degree of implementation. Drawing on theories of social practice, influenced by concepts developed by Bourdieu and de Certeau to support methodological triangulation, the research employed four methods: classroom observations, interviews, and documentation and field notes, to develop interpretative understandings of teachers' experiences and practices. The analysis suggests that despite their general support for this new instruction teachers responded to the new recommended practices differently, depending on contextual and participant-specific factors, including their beliefs about pedagogy and habitus. A model of teacher change emerged that consisted of two categories of teacher responses to the recommended practices. The study's findings suggest that a variety of factors, including teachers' pre-existing beliefs about teaching and learning, teachers' willingness, habitus, and constraining classroom realities and their external factors (e.g. examination, work overload and the supportive administrators), greatly influence their responses to the recommended practices. Significantly, this inquiry revealed that the engagement of teachers with the new policy informed by neuroscience resulted in teachers developing their general knowledge about the working brain and partly transforming their beliefs and habitus, such as their ways of thinking about themselves and their pupils and ways of interacting with pupils in arguably positive ways.
Supervisor: Owen, David ; Garland, Paul ; Boylan, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available