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Volume 8 Number 3, Autumn 2011, Pages 1-270   

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Impact of Learner-Centeredness on Primary School Teachers: A Case Study in Northeast Thailand

    Angkana Tongpoon-Patanasorn

Due to its dominant role in economic globalization, English has become a critical tool in today's intercultural and technological era. In order to increase children's English language proficiency, Thailand reformed its educational system in 1999 and adopted a new approach, learner-centeredness. This research study reports on the impact of this new policy on primary school teachers teaching English as a Foreign Language in Thailand. The results from the semi-structured interview with twenty-five teachers suggest that the educational reform has not yet been as constructive as was expected. Teachers have partial knowledge and some misconceptions about learner-centeredness, preventing the approach from achieving its potential. Most teachers have low self-reported language proficiency and have no prior training on the new approach. Classroom practices are quite different from the expected learner-centered and communicative classes. Factors impeding the success of the policy include teacher, learner, institutional, external, and adoption factors. The results of the study call for more rigorous and extended teacher training, changes in foreign language curricula, and further research studies to investigate teaching methods appropriate to the Thai context.

Keywords: language policy, learner-centeredness, primary school teachers