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«By Kirati Khuvasanond A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Curriculum and Teaching and the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University ...»

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According to the data in this study, students in each instructional techniques improved their vocabulary knowledge. It appears that, students in the CIRC classroom performed better than other students in vocabulary spelling. In terms of function, students receiving teacher-centered instruction achieve better progress than students in other instructional techniques. Even though students who received CIRC instructional technique did not perform as well as students who received the Teacher-centered technique in word function, but for the total of all vocabulary skills, students in CIRC achieved the highest progress score. In terms of gender, females outperformed males in function of word when students received Teacher-centered technique. Other than these two skills in the teacher-centered classrooms, both males and females performed similarly across instructional treatments.

Summary Students were asked to complete a questionnaire giving feedback about the instructional technique they received in learning vocabulary. Students from both Jigsaw and CIRC classrooms reported positive feedback toward these instructional techniques.

However, students in Jigsaw classrooms reported a higher positive feedback when compared to students in CIRC classrooms. In addition, the teacher-centered classrooms received the lowest positive feedback among the three instructional techniques. The same results were also reflected in student interviews. In terms of other feedback toward the classroom environment, save face and Kreng Jai were the cultural factors that appeared to have the greatest effect on students‟ behavior in the classroom. These two cultural factors influenced students both in their performance and in their encouragement during the class with both their classmates and their teachers.

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This study compared and contrasted teacher-centered (lecture) and learnercentered (cooperative learning: Jigsaw and CIRC) techniques to teach vocabulary to sixth-grade students in Thailand in English classrooms. In addition, the researcher sought to identify the relative effectiveness of each instructional technique applied in the classes in terms of language skills (spelling, meaning, and use of word). This research examined cultural factors, learning motivation, and feedback from teachers and students in each technique used to determine whether a “best match” of instruction with the classroom culture in Thailand exists.

Students in Thailand learn a great deal of vocabulary through teacher-centered instructional techniques in which students largely listen to the lecture and memorize information taught by the teacher in the classroom. Currently, Thai students face the problem of applying knowledge of the English language effectively to real world situations. The dean of the School of Education from Chulalonkorn University recently reported on ASTV (Jan 8, 2012) that most Thai students cannot apply English language learned in the class to real world situations. Similar observations were reported by Thailand Information Center for Civil Rights and Investigative Journalism (TCIJ, Dec 31, 2012).

The objective of this study was to analyze the instructional techniques that best fit Thai students culturally when learning English vocabulary in terms of spelling, meaning, and use of word skills. In addition, specific cultural factors from teachers and students were analyzed with the learning outcomes to help identify an optional match between instructional techniques used in Thai classrooms, student learning, and their experience culturally with each technique examined.

The study used a mixed methods approach for interpreting, comparing, and contrasting the findings. Questions were constructed for both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the study. The final sample for the quantitative phase of the study (pretest, posttest, and questionnaire) was 599 students, with 288 males and 311 females. Data were organized in the form of a database for statistical analyses. A Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance with a repeat on time was used to analyze students‟ pretest and posttest data. A one way ANOVA was used in analyzing cultural norm attitude data from the questionnaire. For the qualitative portion of the study, a final sample of 84 students and 10 teachers was used. Responses were coded and organized using the Microsoft Excel program.

Summary of Findings: Effect of the Teaching Strategies RQ1: What is the effect of three teaching strategies (Lecture, CIRC, and Jigsaw) on vocabulary learning (form, meaning, use) for sixth grade Thai students?

The present study examined the effect of different teaching strategies in vocabulary in Thai classrooms on students‟ progress in spelling, meaning, and function of words. In addition, this study examined cultural factors that could play a role in mediating the effectiveness of the instructional techniques. The study showed the progress of vocabulary knowledge of students for each instructional technique.

Moreover, the results from the comparison showed differences in students‟ progress under each instructional technique in terms of each skill area and overall vocabulary knowledge.

Students’ Progress in Each Instructional Technique Results from students‟ pretests and posttests indicated that students under all three instructional techniques (Jigsaw, CIRC, and Teacher-centered) made progress on vocabulary knowledge in every skill tested (spelling, meaning, and word function). In comparing vocabulary knowledge progress between genders within each instruction, the results indicated that both boys and girls in Jigsaw and CIRC classroom performed similarly in each skill tested. In Teacher-centered classrooms, boys and girls made similar progress in spelling and meaning of the vocabulary; however, girls performed better than boys on the function of words and overall (see Figure 5 and Table 11).

Students’ Progress in Each Skill Tested To be able to find the most effective instructional technique for students in terms of vocabulary learning, progress results from each instructional technique were compared within each skill. For spelling, which was tested by vocabulary dictation, students in CIRC classrooms had the highest progress scores, while students in Jigsaw classrooms had the lowest progress scores among all three instructional types. Students in all three instructional techniques performed at about the same level of progress in giving Thai meaning to English vocabulary. When tested on the function of words, or how to use the vocabulary, students in the teacher-centered classes outperformed students who received other instructional techniques. Students in Jigsaw classrooms had the lowest progress score. In combining all three skill scores, CIRC was the instructional technique under which students performed best.

Students’ and Teachers’ Responses to Jigsaw Based on students‟ responses toward each instructional technique, Jigsaw was the form of instruction students enjoy most among the three instructional techniques used in this research experiment. This could be seen in the students‟ questionnaires, as they reported higher and more positive feelings toward classroom instruction with this technique. In addition, students responded to the questions in the interview session that they enjoyed and had fun while learning and working as a team member in the jigsaw instructional technique.

Not only were responses from students positive, but the teachers‟ observations were also positive. Moreover, teachers seemed to enjoy applying Jigsaw instructional techniques with their classes because they thought Jigsaw gave them better classroom management, and made it easier to encourage students to interact with others more productively. However, teachers had some concerns about teaching students with Jigsaw, especially regarding unmotivated students, who needed extra care and attention in the classroom. Some teachers thought that Jigsaw might not be a perfect instructional technique in teaching those students who need teachers to push and point them step by step along the way to learning.

Students’ and Teachers’ Responses to CIRC CIRC was another instructional technique on which the students reported positively. Even though students in CIRC classrooms did not report positive feelings as highly as those in Jigsaw classrooms, they did report positive feelings toward this form of classroom instruction. Responses from students who received CIRC as their classroom instruction, had similar responses from students in Jigsaw classrooms. Students felt that they had fun and enjoyed their opportunities to learn and work as a member of a team. In addition, students mentioned that they preferred CIRC over teacher-centered instructional technique which was the way they usually learned in typical Thai classrooms.

Teachers‟ observations similarly reflected that students had fun and were more excited with the CIRC technique. In addition, teachers reflected that students‟ performance and the quality of their work increased over that achieved when the usual instructional technique was applied.

In terms of teachers‟ feedback toward the CIRC instructional technique, teachers reacted positively toward it because this technique allowed their students the opportunity to interact with others while learning. However, teachers still have concerns about applying CIRC in terms of time management due to the technique‟s structure and influence on the nature of classrooms in Thailand. Typically there is only one teacher managing 40-50 students and with this many students in class, teachers find it a difficult to manage the class with the CIRC instructional technique. Even though teachers had concerns with this technique, they preferred using this technique with the caveat that both teachers and students need time to adjust their management and behavior to this type of instructional technique. Teachers believed that, in the long run, CIRC would work well with Thai students.

Students’ and Teachers’ Responses to Teacher-centered The teacher-centered technique was the least preferred classroom instructional technique reported on by students. Students felt the classroom environment was neither friendly nor enjoyable. Some indicated that this classroom environment was too quiet and made them feel eerie and sleepy because they did not get a chance to interact much in the classroom.

From the teachers‟ point of view, they felt that this instructional technique is good in delivering informative lessons to students, especially in learning language structure.

However, teachers had some concerns about the teacher-centered technique. One concern was that students do not have much opportunity to interact with their classmates to improve their communicative and social skills. In addition, teachers saw the teachercentered approach as spoon-fed instruction, which does not help students develop selfdirected learning behavior, but rather to wait for information to be taught to them.

Summary of Findings: Culture Concept RQ2: How do students and teachers perceive the match of Thai cultural norms with the three different instruction techniques (teacher-centered; lecture, CIRC, and

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Cultural background is an important factor that teachers need to understand in order to motivate student learning and their participation in the classroom (Gay, 2002).

Results from the interview sessions and students‟ questionnaires showed two cultural factors that affect students‟ behavior in class, namely the power distance and save face concepts.

Power Distance According to Hofstede (1991) power distance refers to “the extent to which the less powerful member of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally (p. 28).” Thailand is one of the countries that enacts high power distance in its society. This is reflected in its hierarchical and routinedriven society. Hallinger and Kantamara (2001) explained that power distance in Thai culture included Kreng Jai, as being self-effacing, and wishing to avoid embarrassing other people. Kreng Klua is another cultural concept under power distance, and Dakins (1988) defined this define as “the feeling of fear often held by subordinate persons towards those in positions of authority and power, and senior in age and rank” (p. 15).” The results of this research showed that power distance is one of the factors that affects how students think and react in class to their learning experiences. Students preferred to ask their friends when they have questions about the lesson rather than asking the teachers. This is because they Kreng Klua and Kreng Jai their teachers. The same reasons were reported from both groups of students who choose to ask their questions of their teacher either inside or outside of class. These reasons were Kreng Jai to interrupt their teacher during class, and Kreng Jai to disturb their teacher‟s time outside of class. Similarly, students felt Kreng Klua in both situations of either asking their teacher privately or asking their teacher in class. Students were afraid of being blamed by teachers when asking about lessons that the teacher had already taught in the class.

Regarding expressing opinions, Kreng Jai was the main reason why students remain quiet and do not state their disagreement to their classmates. For a different reason, but with the same result, students felt Kreng Klua to their teacher to state their disagreement and chose to keep quiet. In addition, students are concerned about seniority and rank (younger and elder, student and teacher). This influenced students to stay quiet and follow what the teacher told them since the teacher is older than the students and also ranked higher than the students in Thai culture. In Thai society, students are taught that teachers‟ opinions or elder people‟s opinions are correct, and there should be no argument toward those opinions. (TCIJ, Dec 31, 2012) Save Face Saving face was another cultural factor that influenced students‟ behavior in class.

Students were afraid of losing face and were aware of save face in most of the situations in the classroom. Students try their best to save face for both their teachers and friends.

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