Multicultural Literature for Multicultural Education: Idealism, Reality and Practicality in a Thai Tertiary Education Context

Main Article Content

Thanis Tangkitjaroenkun
Nongyao Nawarat
Omsin Jatuporn

Abstract

The authors of this paper argue that to promote multicultural education, multicultural literature can be a very useful tool. Since the ultimate goal of multicultural education is to achieve a more equal and more inclusive society, the literature of Southeast Asia, regarded as the true minority literature, should be seriously taken into consideration. Southeast Asian literature in English has advantages in terms of its local and universal characteristics, allowing students to explore the multicultural world and enhance their understanding of it. Unfortunately, in Thailand, English literature is usually not implemented in EFL classes in which the main focus is the drilling and development of four language skills. English literature classes, on the other hand, strongly emphasize the British and American literature, without much room for non Anglo-American literature. It is therefore proposed that to promote the diversity of literary texts and to enhance students’ multicultural learning experience, teachers and educators could incorporate the English literature of our neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines in their syllabi and exploit it in their pedagogical approaches. It is hoped that the inclusion of multicultural literature will help lead Thai learners and teachers alike to the ultimate goal of multicultural education.

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Author Biographies

Thanis Tangkitjaroenkun, School of Liberal Arts, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand

An assistant professor at the Department of Language Studies, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi teaching English and English literature for undergraduate and graduate students. His academic interests lie in postcolonial literature, world literature and sociolinguistics.

Nongyao Nawarat, Department of Educational Foundations and Development, Faculty of Education, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

The Director of Center of Multiculturalism and Educational Policy at the Department of Educational Foundations and Development at Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Her main interests include migrant education, multicultural education, gender studies in education, and critical feminist pedagogy.

Omsin Jatuporn, Department of Educational Foundations and Development, Faculty of Education, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

A committee member of MA and PhD program in multicultural education at the Department of Educational Foundations and Development at Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. He is His main interests include critical curriculum theory, critical pedagogy, socio-cultural and historical foundations of teacher education.

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