A culture-based instructional program for teaching Thai language to foreigners




Potter, Kritchada

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The purpose of this study is to examine and develop an instructional program for teaching the Thai language and culture to foreigners. This program combines the teaching of the Thai language and culture together in the belief that learning them together helps one to learn a second language effectively. The program is designed to teach communication through speaking and listening for a specific target audience, namely Westerners whose mother tongue is English, or who understand English very well. The content of the language and culture in this program emphasises Thai words based upon the basic needs of daily life, and the necessary phonological and syntactical patterns. The content of Thai culture is based upon the basic needs of daily life influenced by Buddhism and the Ramayana. The program Is designed for learners to complete in a relatively short time. It contains 15 units, each of which has a language part and a culture part. Each unit is designed for completion in approximately two hours, plus extra practice time. The program can be used in three ways: self-instructionally, tutorially, and in Thai language and culture classes. The program is suitable for foreigners who require a basic knowledge of the Thai language and culture prior to visiting Thailand. The design of this instructional program is based upon the four steps of a systems approach to instruction: (1) analysis, (2) synthesis, (3) modelling and (4) simulation. The analysis step begins with a brief description of the present relationship between Thailand and the West, pointing out that foreigners who have business dealings with Thailand may now find it useful to learn basic Thai language and culture prior to visiting Thailand. At the present time there are few if any appropriate materials or methods for effectively teaching the Thai language and culture to foreigners. The synthesis step provides the design and development of an Instructional program relating the theories and practices of teaching Thai as a second language, to instructional technology. The modelling step comprises the design of the organization and presentation of program materials, including organization of the content of selected language and culture parts in each unit to fit appropriate instructional media. Simulation involves evaluating the instructional program to make sure that it works in real-life situations. The complete lesson plans for the first six units of the program are in Appendices A and B. This program has been evaluated twice by five Thai academic judges. Between 1989 and 1991 it was evaluated by three groups of adult students in Thai Language and Culture classes at the University of Victoria; with a group of sixteen students of the Pacific Rim project: Future Partners; and with individual students in private, tutorial and self-instructional situations in Victoria who required basic knowledge of the Thai language and culture prior to visiting Thailand The results of these evaluations are included in Appendix C. Recommendations for the implementation of this program have been provided. Suggestions for further study have been indicated.



Thai language, Study and teaching, Foreign speakers