Teachers and Changes: A School-based Professional Development Programme for Thai Teachers

Meechai Iemjinda


The aim of this study was to develop, implement and evaluate a professional development programme for teachers of English as a Foreign Language in Thailand to assist them to make a major change in their pedagogy, a change mandated by the National Education Act of 1999. More specifically, what was required of them was to change from being a teacher who delivers instruction in the classroom to a teacher who acts as a facilitator in a learner-centred classroom.
The study was conducted in a non-metropolitan region in Thailand, and involved nine primary EFL teachers and their classes in three cities. Data were gathered by quantitative (questionnaire, classroom observation checklist) and qualitative (interview) methods before and after the PDP to record changes in the teachers’ perceptions and classroom practices over eight months. The data showed that all the teachers were rated higher by their supervisors on the six major criteria chosen to characterise CLT, and the teachers and their students provided corroborating evidence of a major shift in pedagogy towards the model preferred by the Thai Ministry of Education.
The study showed that a professional development programme of this kind, closely adapted to a specific context, involving preparatory workshop training followed by a semester of guided, strongly supported classroom implementation practice, can make a significant change in Thai primary EFL teachers’ understanding and use of CLT as an innovatory pedagogy. It indicates that this model of professional development is capable of providing a means by which the desired change to a learner-centred, communicative English language curriculum might be achieved system-wide in Thailand, one that has up to this point proved very difficult to implement.

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