evolution, social activity, enactive cognition, and systems thinking

Many ideas and concepts concerning education and learning are embedded within culture and society, passed on historically from one generation to another. Language learning for example has been part of mainstream education in Thailand for generations, but local educators still aren’t sure how to approach language learning in the classroom. In the area of Language Pedagogy, Thailand has remained a consumer, adapting methods and approaches from around the world, when it should be a producer of knowledge and information, and with the upcoming formation of ASEAN, no other country is more dependent on reliable language classroom teaching and learning than Thailand, which has continually ranked at the bottom of English language efficiency.  

     As is expected, students graduate from Thai high schools with the ability to read and write their on native language, but a majority of students having taken second English language classes for years, are unable to read at a basic level, write a simple sentence, or engage in a social conversation. Most stakeholders would agree, that English language teaching and learning in Thailand has under performed, begging numerous critical questions that are asked but with no definitive answers.

The purpose of this dissertation is not to criticize Thailand’s approach to classroom language teaching and learning, but to add to it.

  1. What can Thailand do to become a producer of language data, rather than a consumer?
  2. How can Thai teachers approach classroom research?
  3. What classroom activities are best suited for Thai students? BICS/CALP
  4. What Thai traditions can be utilized in the classroom?
  • Use an HRD approach (Systems, Psychology, Organizational change)
  • Look to King Mongkut (Science and Religion)
  • Mindfulness
  • Dialogue
  • Student Learning
  • Teacher Learning

 Actually, through out Thailand, English has been a source of comic relief, which has recently been displayed in a movie. 

Education has been institutionalized to such a degree, that we neglect to confront the role of education in all of our lives. While students are regularly assessed, and curricula  changes, Educational Institutes are seldom scrutinized, yet they continue year after year without clear performance standards.

Learning as a main focus in educational settings, and as an activity in organizations, but in both settings knowledge becomes an object to be obtained. The purpose of obtaining that knowledge varies from one individual to another, with reasons ranging from fulfilling requirements to satisfying personal interests. But in each case the responsibility rests on the learner. The learner can be agreeable or not. Current pedagogy has a tendency to reduce learning into easy to manage parts, but such reductions can be inadequate. This needs to be performed because some individuals rent negativly to the process. We can change the process by making Knowledge something that can be co-treated. Knowledge is not an object to be obtained but the result of a dialogical process.

Language then becomes a tool to develop an individuals essence, Regarding second language pedagogy, not only is the individual reduced to a computing processor, but language is broken down into sub-parts which become disconnected and do not reflect the real world. The Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH), which is no longer a dominate concept, is the result of current language pedagogy that reduces the subject and object into dialectical parts which when separated have little meaning. This dissertation is an effort to create classroom activities that educate the whole learner, their mental, spiritual and emotional parts. Empirical studies abound of children, adolescents, and adults having the ability to learn a second language, in a relatively short time, if the context and setting are congruous. What is now in question is the context itself, what practices are taking place to learn the target language. Due to the cognitive science revolution of the 50’s & 60’s, in the aftermath of Chomsky’s polemic initiative concerning Skinner’s Verbal Behavior , the fields of learning and development avoided areas associated with the environment and behaviorism (Piaget). But in light of 2nd and 3rd generation cognitive science, learning and development have turned to areas associated with the environment and behaviorism; evolution, social activity, enactive cognition, and systems thinking. This dissertation is an holistic inquiry into as much of the process of learning a second language as possible, instead of an reductionist approach which… These theoretical foundations merge in the fields of both Second Language Acquisition (SLA), and Human Resource Development (HRD).


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