A critical examination of ELT in Thailand: the role of cultural awareness
RELC Journal, 39, (1), . (doi:10.1177/0033688208091144).
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With the increasingly significant role that English language teaching
(ELT) is playing in Asian contexts, it is important to gain a better understanding of the use of English as a medium of intercultural communication in Asia. In doing so, ELT practices may be better able to adapt themselves to the intercultural communicative needs of local contexts. This paper argues that an essential element in fostering successful intercultural communication is developing cultural awareness as part of ELT pedagogy. To illustrate this, a case study of Thailand is presented examining English use, English teaching policy and practice, and local cultural attitudes towards ELT. This then leads to suggestions on how locally relevant intercultural communicative practices can form part of ELT classroom pedagogy in Thailand with the aim of developing learners’ cultural awareness. It is argued that similar analyses may be applied to other Asian contexts, which may share features with the Thai context. This can lead to the development of teaching practices, which through engaging learners in intercultural reflection will result in English
language users who are better able to manage intercultural communication through English.
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