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Title: Thai university students' perceptions of the learner-centred approach
Authors: Jeanjaroonsri, Rungsima
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Thailand’s National Educational Act mandated in 1999 has demanded significant change to Thai education norms from a traditional teacher-centred to a learner-centred approach (LCA). However, despite enormous efforts on behalf of the Thai government to restructure Thai education, the adoption of the new approach has been riddled with challenges and existing literature indicates that Western-developed learner-centred concepts may entail assumptions and cultural values that are not normally found in Thai learners’ thinking and learning behaviours. Since perceptions and beliefs can have a profound influence on learning behaviour (Cotterall, 1995), understanding students’ perceptions of the approach will potentially contribute to improvement in the implementation of the approach in Thailand. This study reports findings on the LCA from the perceptions and experience of 37 second-year undergraduate students in an English literature module over a 16-week semester and examines whether local cultural traits, such as social hierarchy or social harmony, were reflected in their views. The students were asked for their perceptions of learner-centred principles based on Weimer’s (2002) five key components: the balance of power, the function of content, the role of the teacher, the responsibility for learning, and the purpose and processes of evaluation. A multiple method design that combines quantitative (pre- and post- questionnaires) and qualitative (learning diaries, classroom observations and semi-structured interviews) research methods was employed. The findings reveal that the students held positive perceptions of the learner-centred classroom practice, indicating a developmental path for a constructivist learning environment. Evidence from this study indicates that Thai students’ perceptions do not reflect their adherence to passive learning styles, as has widely been posited in the literature. However, despite the students’ positive attitudes, the findings also show cultural and behavioural barriers in their adjustment to a more active learning style. In order to overcome these barriers, this study proposes three initial steps to facilitate students’ adjustment to a learner-centred learning environment. The study contributes to the international literature regarding the LCA and its implementation in developing countries and allows teachers, educators and curriculum designers to understand learner-centred teaching and learning from the perspectives of Thai learners.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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