Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Providing Business English Instruction: Thai Instructors' Practices and Students' Perceptions

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Providing Business English Instruction: Thai Instructors' Practices and Students' Perceptions

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present study aimed to examine how Business English courses conducted in the Thai Higher Education, and to investigate students' perceptions toward the instructional management of the courses in their universities. The participants were four instructors, and one hundred and forty students enrolling in the courses of four universities in the Bangkok metropolitan areas and the suburbs. The course syllabuses were analyzed, and the questionnaire was administered for data collection. The results revealed that the current situations of the instructional management of Business English courses in their universities were different in terms of course content, a primary focus on learners' development, and instructional materials. Despite the difference among those institutions, Thai learners have positive perceptions toward the instructional management. The results may benefit Business English instructors and course designers in terms of improving and revising the course in the right direction which respond to the present professional world and the trend of Business English instruction.

Keywords: business English, instructional practice, Thai tertiary education

1. Introduction

In the changing professional world where directly influences educational institutions, particularly at the tertiary level, instructors of Business English as a trainer have encountered a great challenge on the instructional management which has to be practical and relevant to the realistic workplace communication. The traditional approach to developing basic knowledge of business vocabulary and grammar does not seem to yield a great profit to students any longer, as the professional success in the global economy requires more abilities which are problem-solving skills, goal-setting skills, interpersonal skills, visioning skills, IT and computer skills, leadership skills, self-assessment skills, numerical competency, lifelong learning, global mindset, and particularly communication skills (Zaharim et al., 2008).

Ideally, the most effective instruction of Business English course is to cultivate English language knowledge and skills, business knowledge and skills, and intercultural communicative competence (Brieger, 1997; de Beaugrande, 2000; Donna, 2000; Doyle, 2012; Ellis & Johnson, 1994; Najeeb-us-Saqlain, Qazi, & Simon, 2012; Raimaturapong, 2006; Strelchonok, 2012). However, in reality, a huge gap between the language classroom and the real-life workplace has been reported recently as worldwide phenomenon (Bouzidi, 2009; Freihat & Al-Machzooni, 2012; Makassar, 2010; Thomas, 2007). The issues seeming to be problematic are that the contents provided are not appropriate to the demands of professional world (Bouzidi, 2009; Freihat & Al-Machzooni, 2012; Makassar, 2010; Thomas, 2007), a heavy focus on developing knowledge and skills from textbooks or books tend to be incomplete, and more theoretical (Nicoleta, 2008), there is no balance between essential knowledge and skills such as business communication skills, domain-specific terminology, and basic business concepts (Strelchonok, 2012), and thinking skills such as analytical, critical or creative are not greatly enhanced (Talmacian, 2008).

In Southeast Asian region including Thailand, the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 has a direct impact on its citizens' ways of life, one of which is the participation in the regional labor market under highly competitive situation. Only people with high English language proficiency and communicative competence, apart from the domain-specific professional competence, tend to gain advantages in terms of job employment. In addition, because of the linguistic diversity, English language seems to be merely a communicative tool, facilitating those people during communication, in particular in professional or business context.

Comparing to other ASEAN member countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, Thai citizen's English language proficiency lags behind. …

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