The second-most voted poster at Methods Fair 2013
I joined the poster competition as a part of Methods Fair 2013 on Wednesday, 9th October 2013 and won the second place! I felt thankful for everyone who stopped by, read my poster, asked me questions and voted for me (this included my hubby and myself too). 🙂
The poster presented the provisional findings of my pilot study titled “English Language Teachers’ Perceptions of Intercultural Competence”. The study was a small-scale study, not really a “finished” work, rather a work-in-progress I would say but what I love about entering the poster competition was that the poster was the second version of my pilot study. The first version outlined the plan for the study and this one showed what I did and have found. So, anyone at any stage of their study, if I can do it, you will too.
The following is a short description of my study. Please feel free to leave comments or questions. I’ll try to respond as quick as I can.
The study adopted exploratory case study approach (Yin, 2003). I analyzed the data using the categorical aggregation strategy suggested by Stake (1995) and used MAXQDA software (30-day free trial version, google it!) as the tool to help me organize and code the data. The software worked fine with my Thai data (e.g. interview transcript and documents). After the coding and organizing the codes into categories, I created a concept map on MAXQDA to help me see the overall of the themes. From the concepts map, I tried to see the links between the themes and related them with the context of the study and from what I have known as an English teacher teaching in a Thai public university for seven years.
The followings are the conclusions I have made after I have reviewed all the codes and themes I created. Additionally, I have incorporated my observations from other sources of data such as the chat with the department head, the classroom observations and the information from the documents I collected from the university.
1. The perceived qualities of an interculturally competent person VS the qualities the teachers have tried to developed in their students
The most common perceived qualities of an interculturally competent person shared by all of the teachers are being confident and having knowledge of other cultures. Nevertheless, the teachers seem to have different views on the ways to develop the students’ intercultural competence.
– Thai English teachers seem to pay attention to the students’ English ability including grammar and accuracy while the foreign teacher views that confidence and the willingness to communicate are equally important and are more important than the language ability.
– Although English is used in the South East Asian region as the international language, some teachers and the curriculum still put an emphasis on understanding the “Western cultures” and the “Native Speakerness”.
2. The perceived importance of ICC VS the actual practice
All of the teachers think that it is crucial for Thai students to be able to communicate effectively with people who do not share the same cultural background, and that the students should have knowledge about other cultures. However, the teachers seem to have uncertainties on when and to what extent the teaching of ICC should be integrated in their English classes.
3. The context
All of the teachers agree that the Thai students’ ability to communicate in English is low. They shared what they think to be the causes as follows:
– One of the most evident themes that emerged from the data is the Thai students’ nature of communication e.g. Thai students are shy to participate in class, do not express their feelings much and like to stick together in groups.
– The chances for the students to communicate using English or foreign languages are very few. English is used only in English classroom.
– There is no specific policy regarding the teaching of ICC in Thai higher education or at any level of education.
The findings are very valuable for me as they have led me to think really hard on the implications on English language teaching in this era when English is a tool of international/ intercultural communication. The thinking now has brought me to the planning of my PhD proposal, the third version of my poster, maybe?