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Cross-cultural teaching : experiences of American teachers in Thai higher education

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Item Summary

Title: Cross-cultural teaching : experiences of American teachers in Thai higher education
Authors: Mann, Varaporn Jamklai
Keywords: Cross-cultural
American teachers
Higher education
Issue Date: May 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2012]
Abstract: Globalization and the expansion of Western influences have made English the lingua franca of international connections. For this reason, the demand for native English speaking teachers, especially those from the U.S, has been escalating worldwide, especially, in Thailand, one of the major hubs of international travel and education in Southeast Asia.
The increasing number of American teachers in Thailand poses many cross-cultural challenges. Numerous theorists suggest that culture plays a significant role in educational settings because learning and teaching are profoundly influenced and determined by culture. The noticeable mismatch of cultural norms and language patterns between Thailand and the U.S., thus, can result in significant cross-cultural misunderstandings and difficulties. A better understanding of this cultural phenomenon, therefore, is both crucial and necessary.
To learn the cross-cultural experiences of American teachers in Thailand, a qualitative transcendental phenomenology approach was used. A purposeful nonprobability snowball sampling technique was utilized to recruit nine American teachers who taught at five universities in Thailand. The interviews were conducted in Thailand and the United States over an 11-month period (2010-2011). The interviews were analyzed to address four main research questions to ascertain several cross-cultural issues including 1) overall cross-cultural teaching experiences of the participants in Thailand 2) teaching methodology they used in Thai classrooms 3) perception toward their American identity, and 4) their views toward the Thai globalization process.
The data revealed several important indications. First, it highlighted the complexity of conducting cross-cultural research. Because the concept of culture is highly complex, subjective, and dynamic, a study involving one's culture and experiences is highly individual-specific and idiosyncratic. To better understand an individual's cross-cultural experiences, one must take into consideration the diversity and complexity of social, cultural, and personal situations. Second, the findings of this research suggest that one's cross-cultural teaching experience is dependent upon the composition and characteristics of the students they taught. Third, cross-cultural teaching experiences are greatly impacted and influenced by two factors-cultural and language differences. Differences in cultural practice, language used, and communication patterns increased the complexity and difficulties of their classroom cross-cultural interactions.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Education

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