EFL Education Policy Implementation: A Look at English Classroom Instructional Focuses

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Jirapa Abhakorn

Abstract

Due to the impacts of globalization and modern technologies, most countries have developed the quality of English language education in a form of core curriculum innovation. However, success of the innovation is not determined by the innovative policies but the crucial stage of curriculum implementation. This research was conducted using descriptive micro-analysis of classroom interactions, to identify English pedagogical focuses in a Thai classroom, and to examine the extent to which the classroom instructional focuses were congruent with the expected learning outcomes prescribed in Thailand’s latest reformed EFL core curriculum. An EFL class, consisting of 37 students, in a public secondary school in Thailand was selected as the site for data collection. A corpus of six hours of EFL lessons was analyzed. The results showed that form-focused instructional exchanges occurred most frequently, whereas only a few meaning-focused and form-meaning-focused instructional exchanges were found. The form-meaning focused instructional exchanges were found to provide opportunities for the students to use English to express personal meaning, rather than just as a language drill. However, there was a large gap between English used for communication in the classroom and the four strands of learning expectation prescribed in the core curriculum. To close the gap, pre-service and in-service teachers should be trained not to place too much emphasis on language form, but to integrate an understanding of linguistic and cultural diversities between English and the local language, and to stimulate learners’ awareness of common life skills that can be shared among different subject areas.

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