Inside the Thai Classroom: A Stakeholder Insight
Keywords:tourism, TEFL, education, teaching
Learning English is a critical component of economic and social development in Thailand and recent years have seen a significant drive to recruit foreign TEFL teachers. In many instances, the insatiable demand for English-speakers has resulted in the recruitment of TEFL tourists, yet to date there is little known about their classroom experiences. This paper provides an overview of the duties undertaken by foreign TEFL teachers, providing new light on the role of TEFL teacher in Thailand to stakeholders, whose perceptions, it is argued, are likely to be based on their ethnocentric assumptions. Findings indicate stark differences between the role of a TEFL teacher in Thailand and teaching in many Western nations including the use of corporal punishment, a lack of classroom differentiation, curriculum and formal assessments and the typical duties of foreign TEFL teachers which may include public singing and dancing, teaching the local police and teaching colleagues and attending English camps. Through incorporation of a mixed method methodology employing the use of qualitative blog analysis and quantitative analysis of survey data this paper builds upon the concept of TEFL tourism by providing details of the tourist experience. This enables stakeholders to have a more comprehensive understanding of the TEFL experience in Thailand than current literature facilitates and for academics and industry professionals alike to more accurately manage the TEFL sector. Dominant stakeholders from whom this paper may be particularly useful include the TEFL teachers, TEFL recruitment agencies, future employers or education recruitment teams of the TEFL teacher and the Thai government.
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