MANACHAI INKAEW (RATTANA BUNDIT UNIVERSITY)

LEARNING MOTIVATION: A CASE STUDY OF AN ESP CLASSROOM FOR A LOCAL COMMUNITY€™S WORKING GROUP IN THAILAND : ELT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Abstract In order to explore an effective strategy of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) teaching and learning for a local village working group in Bangkachao Sub-District, Prapradaeng District, Samutprakan Province, Thailand, the research aims to examine learners’ perceptions on problems and barriers in learning English. In addition, this investigation sheds light on motivations possessed and perceived by the local villagers in taking a 32-hour English for Local Activity Presentation course and its consequently positive learning performance. Finally, this study also explores other factors that constitute learners’ positive outcome. This concurrent mixed-method study comprises five instruments for collecting data. A set of self-reflection questions and a set of open-ended questionnaires as well as the semi-structured interview were the key research instruments designed to investigate participants’ motivations and perceptions towards their experience in the ESP class. In order to triangulate the results drawn from the main respondents, an on-site observation conducted by the researcher and opinions extrapolated from the stakeholders were included. The stage of data analysis and interpretation involved quantitative data and transforming qualitative themes or codes into quantitative numbers. Next, related them to quantitative results and reviewed for interpretation and integration. With regard to the findings of problems and barriers to English learning perceived by the villagers, English was perceived as a difficult language to learn together with their lack of confidence in speaking, limitation of vocabulary and inability to construct sentences. The findings also suggest that learners’ significant motivation was a determined desire to use English for benefiting their current work at the community by communicating with foreigners and persuading them to purchase local products alongside spreading useful information of local arts, wisdom and Thai culture to visitors. Finally, the study concludes the factors establishing learners’ performance which were teaching with authentic materials in a real context simulation, and allowing learners to practice on-site followed by constructive feedback and practicing to construct and organize ideas with repeated practice in delivering their presentations with real materials. The results of this study could be used as a guideline for creating an ESP teaching module and for further research. Keywords: ESP, English for specific purposes, English learning motivations, English for local community, Teaching and learning strategies

Manachai Inkaew holds a B.A. in English, an M.A. in English for Careers, and a Ph.D. in English Language Studies from Thammasat University in Thailand. He is currently a full-time lecturer in the Business English Department, College of International Business, Rattana Bundit University, also in Thailand. Among his research interests is intercultural communication.