A case study of Thai ESL learners' language and literacy learning in an authentic situation : opening a bank account
Contributor(s)Chulalongkorn University. Language Institute
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AbstractLearning is a life-long activity. Whether we are in school or not, we are always learning something for some purpose. In fact, society is a large classroom full of rich resources, which allows us to experience, explore, and experiemnt how second language andn literacy are learned in an authentic situation. The subjects consisted of ten Thai students who were studying English asd a second language and who were enrolled in a graduate program at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A. The chosen topic was opening a bank account, one of the shared experiences all foreign students have to undergo. Data collection was conducted by means of semi-structured interviews, and data analysis involved categorization of data. The findings revealed that different learners employ different means when they attempt to learn. The three important patterns that have emerged from the observations include having a community of expert support, a personal purpose, and personal efforts of making sense/meaning, essential factors which assisted and motivated all ESL subjects to learn authentically. Based on these findings, it is recommended that ESL teachers should incorporate cooperated small group activities into the curriculum to enable students at different levels or with different specialties to support one another both academically and emotionally.Furthermore, students shoul be provided with ample opprotunity to work on individualized projects which meet their personal goals or interests. Finally, to achieve the goal of encouraging personal efforts of meaning making, ESl teachers should create problem-solving projects for students to learn to dela with problems which may occur in real life outside the classroom. It is believed that if more authentic tasks are integrated into the classroom, teachers would be able to facilitate the optimal growth in their students' learning to improve the quality and success rate of the language teaching/learning situation.