Abstract to Praxial Inquiry: Listening to student voices

“There’s always a flaw in the system.” Betee

For a very long time, language was simple and straight forward; more of a tool, but then it became a subject to study, but in regards to 2la, what was studied was the grammar or structure of language, the least important aspect. What was ignored was the meaning of language, and the significance it plays in a persons life. This study looks into the importance of language, and considers the ‘language turn’ in philosophy and the construction of knowledge, and what this means for classroom instruction.

In the wake of world war 2, new schools of Phenomenology, merged with American pragmatism to shape postmodern inquiries into Human Development, and have been precursors in the  advancement of psychology and cognitive science.

With the formation of ASEAN rapidly approaching, and English as its lingua franca, ASEAN member states have become increasing dependent on Educational institutions to improve their English language development. This has become problematic for countries like Thailand who have yet to develop a local English diglossia, and are even more dependent on English language classroom instruction. While Thailand may be commended for its efforts to improve English by recruiting native English speakers, and using a communicative language teaching approach (CLT), the efforts have resulted in little progress, and Thailand remains far behind other ASEAN member nations. The following research views SLA from a socio-cultural perspective (Vygotsky), intended to improve language development within a Thai International college by using a Human Resource Development (HRD) approach to Organizational Development (OD). In this setting, students are fully immersed in English through content driven language learning. By using a socio-cultural perspective, and an HRD approach to inquiry, classroom instruction is viewed ethically from fields of psychology, economics and systems theory, as suggested by Swanson (Swanson). Data was collected pragmatically, using Action research (Lewin) through a design-based (Brown) spiral to analyze and gather classroom data through interviews, observations and classroom activities (Allwright). Data was dynamically assessed (Vygotsky) with a reflective intent on improving the relationships between the interrelated parts specifically the participants and their intersubjectivity, (Freire, Habermas). The researcher identifies this form of Second language development and teaching as Praxial inquiry, which takes a paradigm shift from the early cognitive studies based on Chomsky’s competence/performance split, (Codler, Chomsky) to include usage-based language teaching and mindfulness (Tomasello). Results of the study indicated that students, regardless of individual traits, initially patterned their behavior on group dynamics with the foreign teacher as outsider. After a concentrated effort to break through the barriers, classroom intersubjectivity improved along with language development as authoritative roles in the classroom blurred.

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