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Lived Experiences of Filipino Teachers Teaching Foundational English Reading Skills in Grade 1 in Thailand

Lived Experiences of Filipino Teachers Teaching Foundational English Reading Skills in Grade 1 in Thailand

Rhia Monica G. Nolasco, MAEd, Dondon B. Buensuceso, Phd
FEU Roosevelt, Cainta, Rizal, Philippines

ABSTRACT

This research aimed to explore Filipino teachers’ lived experiences teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand. Reviewed literature showed Thai reading is low, but none of these focused on Filipino teachers in terms of their experiences, teaching, teaching methods, feelings, challenges and how they cope with the challenges. It also intended to derive a teaching framework and, describing the challenges, identify the phenomenon through investigation. Therefore, Filipino teachers must have their insights and experiences shared and valued in the research and teaching profession. In relation to their responses regarding their experiences, five major themes emerged, which are Causes of Difficulties in Reading, Effective Tools for ELL, Student’s Progress Influences Teacher’s Emotion, Challenges in Preparation and Instruction in Supporting the ELL, and Role of Key Stakeholders in Independent Learning. Through phenomenological investigation, this study attempted to uncover the prevailing themes of the teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in selected schools in Thailand experiences. The general representation and direction the research undertook guided the conceptual framework for this phenomenon and constructed the emergent conceptual framework. The qualitative inquiry was appropriate for this research, as there is a need for more evidence-based information in teaching foundational English reading skills. The overarching question sought a deeper understanding of the informants’ lived experiences.

Keywords: foundational English reading skills, lived experiences, teaching methods, phenomenon, effective tools, ELL, preparation, instruction, stakeholders, independent learning

INTRODUCTION

Introduction:

Reading skill can be described as “a cognitive ability which a person is able to use when interacting with texts” (Urquhart & Weir, 1998).  

In 4 macro skills in English (Cambridge University Press & Assessment 2022), employers say that the most important language skill is reading (in 12 industries) and then speaking (in eight industries). Reading in English is essential for emerging knowledge. It is the language most often utilized in international publications, agreements, and guidelines. Reading in English is important for emerging professional knowledge. The five (5) components of reading identified by the National Reading Panel—are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics and decoding, fluency, and print concepts are broadly established as foundational reading skills.

            In the last few years, as countries like Vietnam and Laos now have English skills exceeding Thailand’s, it has become obvious that Thailand’s education system is criticized. Thailand’s Education is a Rote System – In Thai schools, students are instructed to copy what the teacher writes on the board and remember it. When learning English, grammar and vocabulary are written on the board. Students copy and memorize. There is no conversation, no probing the teacher and no reasoning for themselves. It is no question that Thailand’s English skills are the lowest in South East Asia.

            Critical Thinking Skills Are Not Taught – In Thailand, critical thinking skills are not taught. Students are hardly ever required to think for themselves. Thai Education Focuses on Grammar – Through most of the year Thai students learn English, and classes are typically focused on learning English grammar. This means most Thai students are excellent at English grammar, but when it comes to speaking, they have had little training so. In fact, it is impossible to hold a dialogue using more than the most basic vocabulary.

            Thai Teachers are Inadequately Qualified – As much as most Thai teachers work hard to teach their students, few have the competences to teach English accurately. They have come up through similar poor high school practice, been taught at unsatisfactory universities and taken teacher training courses that are, compared to western levels. Most Thai English teachers also speak English weakly, so when teaching their students, they pass on the same grammatical and vocabulary skills they were educated in school. Native English Teachers Are Unskilled – Due to the low wages most Thai schools give, few fully certified native English teachers teach in Thailand. This means that Thailand is mainly left with native English speakers who a) may be at the university level but not in Education, b) are without a university degree at all, or c) in some circumstances, are using fake university degrees certificates to get teaching positions. Thai students who are learning English suffer since most are taught by native English speakers who are not certified as English teachers. Slowly making improvements, the Thai Ministry of Education is requiring native English-speaking teachers to hold higher degrees.     However, it is unlikely Thailand will be able to recruit the kind of teachers it needs unless the rates on offer rise and the certification courses the Thai Ministry mandates native English teachers attend are worthwhile. Ministry of Education of Thailand – Despite its good intentions, the Thai Ministry of Education’s frequent curriculum revisions, teaching guidelines, and certification requirements are failing to draw in better instructors. The best ones they have are, if anything, being chased away. The Thai Ministry of Education has little prospect of obtaining better teachers, both Thai and native English speakers, for Thai students until they can develop standards for English teachers comparable to western norms and pay higher rates. Thailand’s ability to expand its economy and maintain its stability is impacted by the fact that its English proficiency level is declining compared to other Southeast Asian nations. Most Thai workers cannot compete with the same workers in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia without having better levels of English language proficiency.

            According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) global scale, most Thais have spent over ten years studying English from kindergarten through university. However, their college proficiency is still at the basic users level, or A2 (Teng & Sinwongsuwat, 2015). This means that individuals frequently struggle to communicate clearly and correctly in writing and speaking and can only understand simple words and common idioms when reading and listening.

            When conversing verbally, they cannot comprehend the meaning of a long, complex discourse or give clear, concise responses to casual chats on various subjects. Given that Thai students’ average English language ability is quite poor, the Ministry of Education mandates Thai undergraduates to achieve the minimum level of B2 English proficiency before graduating (Office of the Education Council, 2017). For Thai students, learning English has proven extremely difficult, particularly with pronunciation. This problem arises from the language’s lack of several letters. As a result, they have much difficulty pronouncing several English words. It is challenging to combine the additional letters into reading as they get old. If these pupils take classes with native English speakers, they risk being made fun of. They could be unconfident when reading aloud because of their pronunciation issues (Aburizaiza, 2013).

            Thai students are required to study English from grades 1 through 12 according to the most recent English curriculum under the Nation Education Act of 2002. (Ministry of Education, 2002). The four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing are necessary to become proficient in English. The most crucial skill is reading because it is the method of knowledge acquisition that has been chosen. Thai people can read various English-language printed sources but do not frequently have the chance to speak, listen to, or write English daily (Phupradid, 2003). According to a Sucompa (1998) study, reading is the most crucial ability for tourism professionals. They had to read travel documentation such as customs declarations, passenger statements, and incoming passenger cards. They must also read correspondence, notifications, signs, and emails. In their 1998 study on how Thais view English daily, Chantawimol, GromKoon, and Tawitchadwittayakul discovered that professionals like doctors, engineers, teachers, and the hotel industry frequently needed reading comprehension to understand newspapers, scholarly texts, and journals. Therefore, reading is essential for Thai people in various professions. Additionally, reading is crucial for students learning English as a foreign language (EFL) because most textbooks, scientific publications, and other sources of information are written in English. Reading is the cornerstone of advanced studies because it is necessary to access textbooks and other reading resources outside the classroom (Roe, Stoodt, & Burns, 1998).

            All subject areas include reading as a skill in their curricula. It is an integral aspect of language learning as well. Teachers are the major source for students to establish reading habits. They can carry out this task only when they possess the necessary skills to carry out their position well. Their suggestions and support will be very helpful in achieving the objective. Young students must be trained in pronunciation, vocabulary expansion, fluency acquisition, and accuracy acquisition. Reading brings pleasure and knowledge. When reading is enjoyable, an inner urge to learn more emerges. Everyone is forced to exercise critical and original thought. Every teacher should focus on the value of reading because it opens up the world of the unknowable.

Background of the Study

            Thai kids struggle with reading and have poor comprehension skills (Pumirat, 1992). The results of a study by Longsombun (1999) on the English proficiency of Prathomsuksa 6 pupils in Chonburi, Nonthaburi, Samutprakarn, Samutsakorn, and Prathomtani revealed that the students’ reading proficiency fell short of the required standard. Additionally, research investigations were conducted by Champaruang (1999), Purisodom (1999), Thani (1999), and Yongsathien (1999) to examine the English proficiency of Mathayomsuksa 6 students. They all arrived at the same conclusion—the students’ reading proficiency was low. In addition, Ponmanee and Sinsuwan (2001) conducted a study to compare 60 graduate students teaching Thai and social science to those teaching English to determine their demands and usage issues. The research tools included questionnaires and a reading assessment. Students in all three academic disciplines were shown to require all four English skills, and their greatest issue was reading comprehension. The results of the international 2018 PISA exams show that they routinely perform below the global average in core disciplines. The results, which were released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), reveal that Thai pupils perform poorly in Reading, Mathematics, and Science compared to most other participating nations. The PISA tests, administered every three years, assess students’ preparation for the difficulties of adult life by assessing their fundamental knowledge and skills at the age of 15. The most recent test, which largely evaluated students’ reading proficiency, was completed by almost 600,000 students from 79 countries, including 37 OECD nations. Thailand came in at number 66 in the survey for reading. Thai students scored 393 out of a possible 500 in reading, much behind the OECD average of 487. Thailand’s reading performance in PISA 2018 was poorer than in any former evaluation and 16 points lower than in PISA 2015.

            Thailand’s ability in the English language has declined for the third year in a row, with a score of “extremely low.” According to the 2020 English Proficiency Index by EF Education First, Thailand’s ranking declined from 74 out of 100 nations to 89 during the previous year. The index is based on test results from 2.2 million adults from 100 nations and regions. According to the English Proficiency Index, Thailand scored 419 out of 800, deemed “extremely low.” Surpassing Myanmar, Thailand is ranked 20th out of 24 countries in Asia and 7th out of 8 in Southeast Asia. With a score of 611, Singapore is ranked first in Asia for “very high” English proficiency, followed by the Philippines with a score of 562 for “high” competence.

            The paper claims that 10% of the tourism sector’s GDP contributes to Thailand, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka is hampered by the lack of English proficiency in those countries. For non-native English speakers, learning to read is a challenging task. To read effectively and fluently, they must coordinate various cognitive functions, including word recognition, sentence and text interpretation, and memory retention. Learning the alphabet, including letter-sound correspondences and spelling patterns, as well as how to use this information in reading, is a crucial component for beginners (National Reading Panel, 2000). A method of teaching reading known as systematic phonics emphasizes learning letter-sound correspondences and applying them to reading and spelling words (Harris & Hodges, 1995). L2 learners can employ sound-symbol, vocabulary, and meaning to decode and grasp texts, even though phonics teaching is primarily intended for L1 starters in the primary grades and for kids who are having trouble learning to read (Bernhardt, 2000). When educators talk about the components of successful programs to teach kids to read, phonics teaching is emphasised today. The significance of phonological awareness and its relationship to learning to read has been supported by more than two decades of research. According to literature reviews (Hurford, Darrow, Edwards, Howerton, Mote, Schauf, & Coffey, 1993), phonological awareness is a defining trait of proficient readers, while it is invariably absent in non-proficient readers.

            In summary, reading has powerful and far-reaching consequences when there are issues with awareness, coding, and retrieval of linguistic sounds. However, the most exciting lines of study provide compelling evidence that large improvements in phonological awareness may be made through instruction and that these improvements directly impact the ease with which students pick up reading and their subsequent reading success (Smith, Simmons, & Kameenui,1998). Japan was the first nation to start such projects among those hiring both native English speakers and nonnative English speakers to collaborate with local English teachers (Tsai 2007).

The Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program used native speakers as assistant English teachers (AET) to team teach with Japanese teachers of English (JTE) in junior and senior high school under the direction of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture. The Nonthaburi Provincial Administration Organization launched the “Nonthaburi Project” due to the noticeable benefits of hiring and employing foreigners to teach English in EFL. In 2005, the first project got underway. In order to bring authentic language input to EFL classrooms, increase learners’ motivation, facilitate cross-cultural communication, improve students’ English ability, and promote local English teachers’ professional development, the Nonthaburi Provincial Administration Organization sought the advice of “Chula Unisearch” of Chulalongkorn University. Foreigners are now teaching English in every government school (both primary and secondary level in Nonthaburi Educational Service Areas) run by the provincial government (Piengjai Sukharoach et al., 2007). Even though great efforts have been made to improve the English teaching-learning process, EFL programs continue to fall short of expectations, and the English competence of EFL learners is still insufficient and below average.   By setting up pre-service and in-service training sessions that ultimately result in the issuance of a teaching credential to participants, specialized institutions have committed themselves to train English language instructors.

            Additionally, universities offer degree programs in TEFL. Even though great attempts have been made to enhance the English teaching-learning process, EFL programs continue to fall short of expectations. This study, based on the researcher’s personal experience, aimed to increase officials’ understanding of the need to address the difficulties associated with teaching EFL to help solve these issues. To adequately address these issues and put forth workable, evidence-based remedies, diagnosing the problems at the outset is necessary.

These essential abilities are necessary to be a successful reader. Understanding the alphabet is necessary for learning to read and spell in English (Adams, 1990; Ehri, 1987, 1998). It is one of the most significant emerging literacy abilities that young children learn, along with oral language and phonological awareness (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). It has long been believed that a child’s understanding of the alphabet is one of the best indicators of the following word: reading abilities (e.g., Adams, 1990; Hammill, 2004; Scarborough, 1998; Schatschneider, Fletcher, Francis, Carlson, & Foorman, 2004). According to studies by Gallagher, Frith, and Snowling (2000), O’Connor and Jenkins (1999), and Torppa, Poikkeus, Laakso, Eklund, and Lyytinen (2006), failure to learn such knowledge is a significant predictor of risk for future reading difficulties. As children grow up, they spontaneously hit learning achievements. Learning the alphabet is one of the most important educational milestones a child must achieve since it prepares them for reading and writing. Typically, by the age of three, children should be able to name letter names and sound out letter sounds. Between the ages of three and four, most kids can recognize letters. The majority of children can first recognize the letters of their names. Children begin writing letters between the ages of four and five. Children begin to link letters with the sounds that go with them by the time they are five years old, a process known as phonics. First graders must be proficient at reading aloud by age six.

Thai people need to be able to speak English in order to interact with foreigners and to access textbooks, newspapers, journals, and websites on the Internet, many of which are published in English-speaking nations. Due to the expansion of international trade and multinational corporations, English is becoming more and more significant in Thailand. Therefore, English study is incorporated into Thailand’s national curriculum to prepare Thai people for the economic and technological worlds (Nongnat Chawwang 2008).

Foundational Reading Skills and their Importance

            An important life skill is reading. However, a startlingly large percentage of today’s pupils read below the standard for their grade levels. According to the National Centre for Education Statistics, about two-thirds of kids in public schools nationwide read below grade level as of 2019.

            Why is that so? According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, reading differences begin in the early years of life. Numerous kids do not gain the early core abilities required for reading development, resulting in literacy gaps throughout their lives. Numerous studies have shown the importance of systematic, explicit basic skills education for kids learning to read and write in English. Reading the words on the page is a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself since it enables us to engage with and learn about the outside world (achievethecore.org). While ignoring others, many reading programs concentrate on one or two important core abilities. Students can understand the links between these skills by receiving a well-rounded reading education that places equal emphasis on each of the fundamental reading skills. For instance, if a pupil does not have a firm grasp of letter sounds, it is doubtful they will be able to connect them to form words.

            Lack of distinction between talents is one reason why certain programs could overlook important core skills. For instance, literacy expert Heidi Anne E. Mesmer considers, “Another common misunderstanding is that phonological awareness and phonics are the same things. I only saw one phonological awareness lesson when I recently attended basic skills sessions in more than ten K–2 classrooms.”

            When students are unfamiliar with the many sounds letters and syllables make, they cannot be expected to blend sounds and recognize words. Teachers need to make sure all fundamental skills are taught. It is harmful to students’ success to assume that teaching just one ability would lead to reading mastery. Educators should depend more on evaluation and intervention to close the existing literacy gaps. Fluency and comprehension are more difficult for students who are “poor decoders” or readers who have problems recognizing words. Tenaha O’Reilly and Zuowei Wang, researchers, contend that the first step in ending the cycle of subpar decoding is to thoroughly evaluate children who struggle with reading comprehension to ascertain whether word recognition is the root of the issue. O’Reilly and Wang also advise teachers to emphasize patience while imparting fundamental reading abilities. Poor decoders tend to spend less time deciphering unknown words and quit easily. When it comes to reading, repetition makes perfect. Therefore, it is important to convince children to take their time to decipher new words.

            Six participants from Wichuda Aiyarakarnjanakul’s independent study paper entitled Effects of Phonics Instruction on Reading Ability of Young Thai Learners were chosen to participate in the current study using a practical sampling method. The vast majority of the pupils shared a common history. They attended various private schools in Bangkok, Thailand, between the ages of 5 and 8, where they attended kindergarten through grade 3. Additionally, they were enrolled in the same phonics level 1 class at D’Engclub Paseo Lat Krabang. They had a similar language ability and were thought to be beginners. These conclusions caused three significant difficulties to emerge from the data.

            First, the findings showed that the participants’ reading abilities increased after learning and incorporating phonics training into their classes. Second, through various activities, the participants had a deeper understanding of alphabetic knowledge and had several chances to practice reading. The findings also revealed difficulties that affected the reading process. In order to better understand the nature of technique use and development, the researcher took into consideration these difficulties, namely alphabetic knowledge, motivation, and tactics that took into account the behaviors of the pupils. This may lessen the root problems preventing them from becoming successful readers.

Thai Reading Ability

            Reading is regarded as one of the key language abilities for academic achievement. However, the Ministry of Thai Education (2013) found that most Thai students only have level 2 English reading proficiency out of five possible levels. Numerous researchers (Chomchaiya, 2014; Chomchaiya & Dunworth, 2008; Kongkert, 2013; Sawangsamutchai & Rattanavich, 2016) emphasized that low reading proficiency is related to Thai students’ low motivation to learn English. This is because Thai English teachers continue to use the traditional chalk-and-talk teaching method, discouraging students from learning English reading skills. The region of this study is specifically in Thailand’s southern Pattani province. Language distinguishes the students in this province.

            Students should know grammar and vocabulary, but they also need to pronounce those structures or words correctly, according to Sattra Sahatsathatsana’s case study published in Kalasin in 2017 under the title Pronunciation Problems of Thai Students Learning English Phonetics: A Case Study at Kalasin University. Additionally, students’ primary objective should be to improve their pronunciation. Gilakjani (2011) observes that speakers will not be successful in communicating if listeners cannot understand their utterances due to poor pronunciation.

            On the other hand, incorrect word stress or pronunciation can frequently lead to misconceptions. It is widely accepted in Thailand that English is taught as a fundamental topic at all educational levels, from kindergarten to university. However, it is frequently said that English instruction in Thailand has failed (Kwandee and Sawaddikun, 2012). Even after spending more than ten years learning the language in school, most students still struggle to communicate regularly or express their views effectively. Teachers of English in Thailand are working hard to encourage students to utilize the language correctly.

            The teaching and learning of pronunciation tend to be influenced by elements like native language, age, exposure, innate phonetic aptitude, identity and language ego, motivation, and concern for proper pronunciation, according to prior studies.

The Native language

            Learners who speak multiple languages speak a target language in distinct ways, claim Avery and Ehrlich (1987). They occasionally speak the target language slightly differently from native speakers and other times quite differently. The native language, particularly foreign accents, is the most important factor in determining how well pupils pronounce words, according to Kenworthy (1987). The students will be able to identify their problems more accurately if they are familiar with the sound system of their native tongue. According to Kenworthy (1987), many first- and learners can overcome second-language carryovers with the right focus and effort. Senel (2006) states that interference or negative transfer from the first language is likely to result in mistakes in the target language’s aspiration, intonation, rhythm, and melody. These issues may arise, for instance, when two languages have differing rules for how the sounds are combined to make syllables.

Prior English Pronunciation Learning

            Another significant issue in developing English pronunciation is the lack of opportunities to practice it. Numerous studies evaluated pronunciation precision between speakers of English and those who did not. They demonstrated that students who did not reside in an English-speaking nation had difficulty learning English pronunciation. For instance, Siriwisut (1994) and Serttikul (2005) indicated that pronunciation skill is influenced by linguistic experience. Language experience refers to the chances to use English regularly for their studies. This research revealed that less experienced students with weak pronunciation faced more language transfer issues than more experienced students with good pronunciation. The students who had better pronunciation would therefore be able to progress more quickly than those who had bad pronunciation. Learners who reside in an English-speaking nation or community where English is the second language have a lot more opportunity to hear and use the target language, according to Haymes (2000) and Senel (2006). Success in teaching and learning English also depends on the proficiency of the pupils as well as their exposure to the language. Therefore, teaching a discourse or a conversation is insufficient to help students develop their speaking abilities. In other words, if students are sufficiently driven and have strong incentives to expose themselves to the target language, they could improve their pronunciation competency.

Phonetic Ability

            Phonetic coding ability, according to Brown (1992), was another name for phonetic ability. It is widely believed that some people have superior listening abilities for languages other than their native tongue. For instance, they can distinguish between two sounds more precisely than others and replicate sounds more effectively. According to Kanoksilapatham (1992), certain aspects of learning involve being aware of the various noises. Additionally, learners’ pronunciation skills can be enhanced by exerting more effort and focusing on certain sounds.

Motivation

            Whether a learner will acquire native-like pronunciation depends on their passion for studying the language. According to research, the necessity and desire for the pronunciation that sounds like a native speaker depends on whether studying English is for personal or professional purposes (Marinova-Todd et al., 2000; Masgoret & Gardner, 2003; Bernaus, Masgoret, Gardner & Reyes, 2004; Gatbonton et al., 2005). Suppose people are determined to learn a second language. In that case, they can become extremely proficient, even native-like speakers, according to a review of the literature on the subject by Marinova-Todd et al. Experience with the language and a favorable attitude toward it, according to Moyer’s 2007 research, seem to be key elements in the development of native-like pronunciation. Therefore, teachers should encourage students to speak English outside the classroom and give them assignments that structure such encounters in addition to emphasizing pronunciation and accent in class.

Instruction

            The four basic areas of growth that are covered in foreign language training are hearing, speaking, reading, and writing. As the target language’s alphabet and sound system are introduced in the first year of study, foreign language curricula often emphasise pronunciation. However, the highest levels of pronunciation teaching hardly ever maintain this focus. Whether explicit instruction benefits second language learners has been thoroughly researched. Elliot (1995) discovered that adult L2 English learners’ allophonic articulation might be improved with 12 weeks of phonetic instruction. The pronunciation of supra-segmental sounds is the subject of some studies on pronunciation. ESL students who had been studying for an average of ten years took part in a speaking enhancement course that concentrated on the supra-segmental characteristics of pronunciation in a study by Derwing and Munro (1997). (e.g. stress, rhythm, intonation). In order to evaluate the learners’ intelligibility, 37 native speakers transcribed speech samples (true/false sentences) obtained at the start of a 12-week course. The degree of accent and comprehensibility of each sample were ranked in order. In the end, there was a significant improvement in intelligibility and better ratings over time of comprehensibility and accent. In a reading assignment, they demonstrated that 30 language learners could change their pronunciation (Derwing and Rossiter, 2003). The earlier research studies and reviewed literature mentioned above support the notion that learners’ pronunciation is significantly influenced by factors such as motivation, phonetic ability, prior study of English pronunciation, the particular native language, and instruction concerning good pronunciation. As a result, the questionnaire used to gather data from students included these causes and factors affecting students’ development of English pronunciation.

English Education at Primary Level in Thailand

            English is frequently used to open the door of communication and mutual understanding among people in different countries since it is considered an international or a global language. English also plays a significant role in functioning as the official language, the primary language of instruction, a compulsory subject, and a lingua franca. Recognition of the power of English as a medium of communication is recognized worldwide, and it is also swiftly becoming one of the basic skills for learners at the primary school level in Thailand. Because of the effects of globalization and the establishment of the ASEAN region, the demand for English in Thailand has been rising substantially over the past few decades. As a result, Thai students are now more fluent in English, furthering the government’s goal of improving individual and societal preparedness for economic competition. Learning a language is essential if you want to become more communicative as well as more economically competitive in the world. As a result, English makes it easier for people to move around for various reasons, including business, travel, education, and access to transdisciplinary fields. This benefits people on a personal, national, and global level. In Thailand, English is seen as a crucial subject in the language education system. Since pupils begin their school careers at a young age, it is learned. From the lower grades through higher school, English is a required subject.

            The most recent policy to modify English instruction at the elementary education level was released by the Ministry of Education in 2014. Regarding the policy, there is broad consensus among language educators and academics that implementing the CEFR is an essential first step in defining language objectives and boosting English language proficiency requirements among Thai adolescents soon. The goal of the policy is to improve Thais’ English proficiency in order better to prepare them for life in the ASEAN region.

The Elements of Basic Education Core Curriculum 2008 and its Implementation

            Most primary schools and teachers are enthusiastic and give the curriculum creation process far greater attention. Teachers have been involved in developing school-based curricula to help them comprehend and be aware of the roles that curriculum plays in the teaching and learning process. The Basic Key Curriculum 2015, which the Ministry of Education introduced, is advantageous for lesson planning because it specifies the learning standards, indicators, and core contents for each subject area. These are all the components that make teaching and learning successful. English is one of the required topics beginning in Grade 1 of primary education and continuing through Grade 12 of secondary education, according to the language learning section of the Basic Education Core Curriculum 2008. The goal of language learning is to help students develop a pleasant and positive attitude toward the language, the capacity to use English for communication in various contexts, knowledge study, engaging in a livelihood, and pursuing further education. The main contents of English include eight standards which include four strands of study: Communication, Culture, Connection and Community.

The focus of the strands is discussed below:

  1. Communication: It primarily focuses on the usage of English because it is a common language for interpretation, interpersonal communication, and presentational communication. Consequently, the four communication skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—are covered. It focuses on using language effectively for information exchange, emotional expression, interpreting, presenting ideas and opinions on diverse topics, and building relationships with others.
  2. Culture: It aims to promote the use of foreign languages in a way that respects the cultures of native speakers, as well as the relationships, parallels, and distinctions between those languages and native speakers’ cultures, as well as between those cultures and Thai culture.
  3. Connection or Language and Relationship with Other Learning Areas: the use of foreign languages as a means of connecting knowledge with other subject areas, laying the groundwork for subsequent learning, pursuing knowledge, and widening learners’ horizons.
  4. Connection or Language and relationship with Community and the World: This area focuses on the use of foreign languages in a variety of contexts, including the classroom, the community, and the global society, as a fundamental instrument for continuing education, a means of subsistence, and learning exchange with the latter.

Filipino as EFL Teachers in Thailand

            The Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC) is creating an online platform to evaluate and enhance Thai teachers’ command of the English language across the country. The new standard will be based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Language, according to OBEC Secretary-General Amporn Pinasa (CEFR). Six performance levels, ranging from A1 for language beginners to C2 for language masters, make up the standard for describing language aptitude. According to Mr. Amporn, the education minister, Nataphol Teepsuwan, plans to help teachers nationwide enhance their digital and English proficiency to keep up with the world’s rapid change. “We first need to evaluate them in order to do that. Before giving them advice on how to do better in their craft, we want to know how excellent or horrible they are.” According to Mr. Amporn, OBEC has established a goal for English instructors to reach level B2 of the CEFR, and level A2 for teachers of other courses. They will be required to participate in online training programs if their ranking falls below the target. According to a 2018 Education Ministry and British Council Thailand evaluation, 75% of Thailand’s 40,000 English teachers were rated at the A2 level in the CEFR. Mr. Amporn also rejected allegations on social media that OBEC had directed instructors in public schools to utilize Thai mixed with English words to increase pupils’ “linguistic understanding”. He responded, “I’ve never stated that. “It’s a miscommunication. We want to help our pupils become more fluent in English, but not by teaching them partially Thai words.” All students must participate in the intense English curriculum that OBEC recently introduced for at least five hours per week. According to the international education firm EF Education First, Thailand fell from 74th to 100th place out of 112 nations on the English Proficiency Index in 2021. Thailand’s English language ability received a “extremely poor” score of 419 out of 800 on the company’s point system. The kingdom comes in at seven in Southeast Asia, ahead of Myanmar and after Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

            The Department of Employment of Thailand reports that out of the nine nations, Filipinos have attracted the best migrant workers for jobs in business, management, engineering, and education. The Philippines (14,830), Malaysia (2,924), Singapore (2,034), Myanmar (1,948), and Indonesia rounded out the top five, according to the department (1,279). Ranked 15th in the world by EF English Proficiency Index in 2017, Filipinos are sought after to work overseas. Non-English-speaking countries like Thailand have been a consistent destination for professionals seeking English teaching work since late 2000. Few Filipinos traveled to Bangkok in the 1970s to work for multinational corporations, international organizations, or as missionaries or entertainers. Professionals, including nurses, engineers, teachers, and simply people who can speak English, came to become English teachers, but only when Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra allowed foreign teachers to teach English in the nation in 2000. The Philippine Embassy estimates that there are 17,921 Filipinos living in Thailand. However, Filipinos’ mobility within the Kingdom could cause a major change in the figure. Due to how many Filipinos entered the country and subsequently became laborers, the Philippine Embassy likewise conveys similar sentiment. The 4,000 undocumented Filipinos listed as of December 2015 likely have been tourists, employees with expired work permits, or those without working visas. Thousands of people from different professions leave the Philippines in pursuit of the fabled “greener pasture” due to recent economic and political disasters. Teaching English as a foreign language could be part of this endeavor (EFL). The Philippines allows visa-free stays of up to 28 days for its citizens. Filipinos moved to Thailand for a variety of reasons, including the lack of stable employment, low pay, a lack of job opportunities, stressful relationships and jobs, a desire to improve living standards, a desire for adventure, a desire to change their way of life, and encouragement from friends and family who had already moved to Thailand. When they arrived, Filipinos stated they were tourists but later found work as teachers in several Thai areas. They are awarded a work permit and a Non-B visa, valid for one year. Depending on the employee’s performance and the employer’s financial ability, the contract is extendable for another year. The travelers have changed into ajarns, khun khruu, or teachers. Filipinos are rarely paid the same as native English speakers on the renowned job site ajarn.com (NES). The salary for NES is between 35 and 60 thousand baht, while the salary for Filipinos is between 18 and 30 thousand baht. Many Filipinos in Facebook communities remark that they are forced to work as part-time English tutors outside school hours because they only receive an average salary of 18,000 Thai Baht. However, this does not discourage them; rather, it serves as a test for them. Finding a Filipino teacher in Thailand’s most distant villages and prestigious colleges is not unusual. Professor Analiza Perez-Amurao, a multi-awarded lecturer and 2011 Bagong Bayani Awardee, is one of them. She has been instructing in Thailand since 2006. She is the director of Mahidol University International College’s Humanities and Language Division. The Filipinos readily adjust to their new environment because of the similarity in their climate and appearance. Most Filipino students in schools across the nation can speak and comprehend Thai. They also teach math, science, social studies, and the arts in addition to English.

            Thailand benefited as a recipient nation from the Filipino instructors who impart English in educational facilities. Employers who hire qualified Filipinos provide research funds and help them complete their education. The Thai students receive these abilities back. The Philippines, a sending nation, receives remittances every month, increasing the micro-level purchasing power of the people. In the end, if the teachers decide to return home, their newly acquired skills and knowledge will be helpful there. Filipino instructors are steady and committed to the teaching profession despite internal and external issues. It is impossible to overestimate their contribution to the advancement of Thai children’s English abilities, which will eventually lead to future generations of Thai professionals. The surge of Filipino migrant teachers in Thailand is significant for other reasons, including strengthening historical ties between the two nations through the cultural interchange.

            The perspectives of 56 Filipino teachers concerning the circumstances and difficulties of working as EFL teachers in Bangkok, Thailand, were examined in Mark B. Ulla’s essay Filipinos as EFL Teachers in Bangkok, Thailand: Implications for Language Education Policy in the ASEAN Region. The information was gathered using a modified questionnaire and an individual follow-up interview. Similarly, a qualitative content analysis of the study’s data was conducted. Findings showed that teacher participants had a favorable opinion of teaching English as a foreign language in Bangkok. They came to Bangkok to teach for various reasons, including decent pay, the opportunity to support their families financially, the ability to expand their teaching expertise, and the chance to interact with individuals from other cultural backgrounds. However, several professional and private concerns were also observed, including the apparent dearth of programs for teachers’ professional development, cultural distinctions, language barriers, and absences from family festivities and other significant occasions. The results imply that although overall satisfaction was high, there were certain personal and professional difficulties for Filipino instructors, especially those resulting from their designation as so-called “non-native speaker teachers” (NNEST) of English.

Statement of the Problem

This study aimed to describe the lived experiences of Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand.

Specifically, this study sought to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the experiences of teachers teaching foundational reading skills in Grade 1 in terms of;
    • alphabetic principle
    • teaching methods
  2. How do the Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 feel about teaching Thai students?
  3. What are the challenges faced by Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand?
  4. How do Filipino teachers cope with the challenges of the phenomenon?
  5. What program can be made based on the findings?

Scope and Delimitations of the Study

            Participants of this study were Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand with a minimum of 1-year teaching experience. The study focused on the experiences of teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in terms of the alphabetic principle and teaching methods they use. It focused on the challenges Filipino teachers face teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1. The researcher’s role was to consider the different meanings that emerged from the one-on-one interviews and identify common themes and issues. This study also explored how teachers cope with the phenomenon.

METHODOLOGY

            This chapter presents the research design, locale, study participants, data collection, ethical considerations, data analysis and interpretation.

Research Design

            The selection of this research methodology was based on the nature of the research being addressed, the researcher’s personal experiences, and the intended beneficiaries for the study. The descriptive phenomenological method provided the lived context of the participant and focused on his or her perspective without deception (Giorgi, 2009).

            The verbatim transcripts of these interviews were analyzed using Giorgi’s phenomenological method. Giorgi’s method of analysis aimed to uncover the meaning of a phenomenon as experienced by a human through the identification of essential themes.

Research Locale

            In this phenomenological study, the researcher explored the lived-experiences of Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand. For this research, the site was in Thailand.

Participants of the Study

            The respondents of the study were 8 Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand.

Demographic Profile of Participant and Pertinent Characteristics              

Participant Age Gender Number of years as a foundational English reading skill in Grade 1 Educational Attainment
Participant 1 38 F 16 MBA, BBA
Participant 2 32 M 4 BSNed
Participant 3 65 F 4 MAed, BEed
Participant 4 27 F 4 BEed
Participant 5 44 M 6 BA Tesol
Participant 6 30 F 4 BEed
Participant 7 32 F 4 BP
Participant 8 59 F 10 MAEd English BSED

The participants’ ages ranged from 27 to 65 years. One participant is in her twenties, four participants are in their thirties, one participant is in his forties, one participant is in her fifties, and one participant is in her sixties. Two participants lived in their own home with at least one dependent child. Six participants lived alone in their apartments. All completed some postsecondary education. Three of the participants earned a Master’s degree. Eight participants have worked in Thailand as a foundational English reading skills teacher for four years or more.

Sampling Design

            Purposive sampling is a technique that is extensively used in qualitative research for the identification and selection of information-rich studies for the most effective use of limited resources (Patton, 2002). This involves identifying and selecting individuals or groups of individuals that are especially knowledgeable about or experienced with a phenomenon of interest (Cresswell & Plano Clark, 2011).

The population of the study were Filipino teachers with a minimum of one (1) year of work-experience in teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand.

Instrument

The protocol below was part of a carefully designed research project that included the following sections:

  1. The researcher sought the expertise of an expert in validating the self-made interview questions to quality for conduction. The questions were validated before it was administered to informants of this study. See Appendix I.
  2. The researcher asked permission from the teachers by writing a letter to request permission to conduct an interview and informing them that the study is of voluntary participation, anonymity, confidentiality, and free from the potential for harm.

See Appendix II.

  1. The interviews were scheduled.
  2. Before the researcher started the interview, she asked for the informant’s permission to record the interview, so she could transcribe it and refer back to it. All were interviewed (semi-structured) via Zoom.
  3. The researcher sought expert validation of the transcription of concepts and themes, which was thoroughly checked and analyzed. See Appendix III.

These are the primary phenomenological interview questions asked the Filipino teachers:

  1. How would you describe your experience as a Foundational English Reading Skill teacher in Thailand in terms of teaching alphabetic principles?
  2. How would you describe your experience as a Foundational English Reading Skill teacher in Thailand in terms of teaching methods?
  3. How do you describe your feeling as a Filipino teacher teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 teaching Thai students?
  4. How would you describe your overall experience as Foundational English Reading Skill teacher in Thailand in terms of the challenges?
  5. How would you describe your overall experience as Foundational English Reading Skill teacher in Thailand in coping with the challenges?
  6. The researcher asked permission from the schools where the teachers are teaching, scheduled interviews with the study informants, harvested the needed data, and organized the data by theme and conclusion.

Data Collection

            The study described the experiences of Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand. The researcher interviewed 8 informants and asked them to share and describe their experiences. They were asked to describe their experiences in teaching methods and teaching Thai students. They were also asked to describe their overall experiences and challenges. The informants gave insights into how they overcame the phenomenon.

Data Analysis

The verbatim transcripts of these interviews were analyzed using Giorgi’s phenomenological method. Giorgi’s analysis method aims to uncover the meaning of a phenomenon as experienced by a human by identifying essential themes.

  1. Transcription – After interviews, spoken words are written in verbatim.
  2. Discriminating meaning units – Organize the data by reading the transcripts carefully, then arrange according to patterns and classify. Consider the words, context, internal consistency, comments’ intensity, responses’ specificity, and big ideas.
  3. Generate initial codes – Find the repetitive pattern and similar group things.
  4. Themes – from codes to themes, to sub-themes of distinct experiences of informants.
  5. Write up – Report the results based on the analysis.

Interpretation

Interpretation

            The study answered the extent of teaching foundational English Reading skills in Grade 1 in Thailand based on the informants’ data, provided new teaching strategies, and devised interventions to build skills and achieve learning outcomes successfully.

Ethical Considerations

            The informants of the study were scheduled for interviews once the researcher secured their consent and ensured their anonymity, confidentiality, and freedom from risk. The informants had complete discretion over when to leave. The researcher gathered the required information, arranged it according to themes, and came to a conclusion.

Given the nature of qualitative investigations, interactions between the researcher and informants may present ethical challenges because they were directly involved in various stages of the study, making ethical concerns more pressing (Kirk, 2007). Potential ethical issues include authority, potential harms, informed consent, and secrecy. Everyone who was directly involved in the research or in the area where the research was conducted gave their informed consent. This rule was based on the idea that participants should not be forced to participate and should have access to all the information before giving their agreement. Written consent forms were used to gain consent, and the review committees determined what constitutes consent. The participants’ privacy was protected during the interviews by maintaining confidentiality. The names of those directly involved in interviewees’ answers could be covered up by using pseudonyms. Participants were made to feel at ease at every step of the procedure since it was clear that participation in the research was voluntary and free. They may forego the interviews or choose not to answer a particular question when asked to describe their experiences.

RESULTS

Research Question 1.1: What are the experiences of teachers teaching foundational reading skills in Grade 1 in terms of alphabetic principle:

THEME: CAUSES OF DIFFICULTIES IN READING

Lack of Foundation

Difficulties in acquiring letter- sound

Thai Phonology

In this study, the Causes of Difficulties in Reading was the theme highlighted as one of the experiences of Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 in selective schools in Thailand in terms of the alphabetic principle. This theme emerged throughout the data review. As commonly defined, difficulty pertains to a difficult situation to accomplish, deal with, or understand. These findings were supported by research that demonstrated a strong positive correlation between the mentioned difficulties, such as lack of foundation, difficulties in acquiring letter-sound, and Thai phonology. Learning a foreign language can pose serious problems for learners. Thailand students face this challenge, especially when they study in foreign countries. Challenges like pronunciation make it difficult for them to speak and understand English words. With these challenges, English learners prefer a foreigner to teach them since they can pronounce words correctly, unlike native teachers who cannot pronounce words correctly hence misguiding the learners. However, even English-speaking countries have pronunciation problems. For instance, people from Australia pronounce words differently from those from the United States. In addition, the use of English words interchangeably between countries. In the United Kingdom, some users are not in the United States dictionary (Swan, 2001).

            Learning the English language has been a major challenge for Thai students, especially pronunciation (StudyCorgi. 2020, November 25). This challenge is because of the lack of some letters in their language. It is, therefore, a major problem for them to pronounce some English words. It is difficult for them to incorporate the new letters into reading, especially at older ages. These students may get humiliation if they are learning amongst good English speakers. They might lack the confidence to read aloud due to their pronunciation problems (Aburizaiza, 2013).

The geographical area that a student learning English as a second language influences their pace and way of learning the language. Suppose the student resides in an area where the residents have a certain ascent as they speak, or some who do not pronounce words phonetically affect their learning. It becomes confusing to follow what the teacher or tutor has taught when people around them speak and follow different rules. For instance, people with the southeastern dialect say the word error to sound like an arrow. This becomes even harder for the student to write, interpret, and pronounce such words (Koyama & Subramanian, 2014).

            In addition, students keep making mistakes in pronunciation, morphology, spelling, and syntax. This is because of the absence of some letters in their native language that are in the English language. It is, therefore, difficult for them to pronounce constants such as /dr/, /fl/ and /sl/, among others, since they do not exist in their native language. While reading, Thailand students tend to drop the last letters that are consonants. This causes them to pronounce words that mean different things than they intended.

Participants in this study have shared different experiences that depict challenges and struggles in various aspects of their lives. Thus, the difficulty of a certain situation may be a subjective experience, which is why many different kinds of things may feel challenging (Panu Pihkala, 2019).

Lack of Foundation

            The first difficulty highlighted in the interviews among the participants was the lack of foundation. Educational and emotional issues abound for children who are poor readers. Children behind their peers in reading struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Low achievement in reading is also the common denominator in school discipline (The Children’s Reading Foundation, 2022).

            Academically, children who are not reading on grade level by the end of third-grade struggle in every class, year after year, because over 85 percent of the curriculum is taught by reading. Reading is the skill by which students get information from books, computers, worksheets and boards to learn Math, Science, Literature, Social Studies and more.

During the interview, the informants from the selected schools in Thailand shared their experiences of some of the causes of difficulties in Reading in Grade 1.

The Thai students learn with the local teachers, who also learn from their local teachers. The incorrect pronunciation that the teachers of local Thai teachers taught is being passed on to the Thai students. According to the informant, learning the correct sound of the letter greatly affects if the foundation is wrong. This is true for Filipino students who learned English and pronunciation from Filipino teachers who also learned English from their Filipino teachers. Examples are assumed, Filipino version A-SHUM, the correct pronunciation /əˈsuːm/, ingredients, Filipino version ING-GRI-JENTS, the correct pronunciation /ɪnˈɡriː.di.ənt/, guardian, Filipino version GAR-JAN, the correct pronunciation /ˈɡɑːr.di.ən/. Though we Filipinos mispronounce some words, our proficiency is higher and far than the Thais. In the recent result, the 2022 edition of the EF English Proficiency Index ranks 111 countries and regions by their English skills (EF Education First, 2022). The Philippines is in 22nd place with High Proficiency, and Thailand is in 97th with Very Low Proficiency.

Students’ prior English learning experience has an impact on their reading skills. Students who do not have sufficient exposure to letter-sound relationships, either in or outside class, before coming to Grade 1 usually struggle in their Reading class. The five (5) components of reading identified by the National Reading Panel—are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics and decoding, fluency, and print concepts are widely recognized as foundational reading skills. To be a proficient reader, one must possess these vital skills. Likewise, failure to acquire such knowledge is an important indicator of risk for later reading difficulties (e.g., Gallagher, Frith, & Snowling, 2000; O’Connor & Jenkins, 1999; Torppa, Poikkeus, Laakso, Eklund, & Lyytinen, 2006). As children grow, they naturally hit learning milestones. One of the most critical educational milestones a child must reach is learning the alphabet and the sounds, which prepares them for reading and writing.

Difficulties in acquiring letter- sound knowledge

            Letters are the basic building blocks of writing and learning about letters and their properties is the significant foundation for reading and spelling. Letter-sound knowledge is critical for word decoding. It is particularly important to learn about the links between letters and the sounds they make in words. Letter-sound knowledge is critical for word decoding, and differences among children in reading comprehension often reflect skill differences at the word level (Perfetti, 2007). Supporting these ideas, research shows that children who are poor at providing the sounds of visually presented letters are at elevated risk of reading problems (e.g., Hulme, Bowyer-Crane, Carroll, Duff, & Snowling, 2012; Schatschneider, Fletcher, Francis, Carlson, & Foorman, 2004). These children’s reading skills improve when explicitly taught about the links between letters and sounds (e.g., McArthur et al., 2018). Students that do not acquire letter-sound recognition could struggle later in life with spelling, reading, and writing (Kristina Reeb, 2011).

Filipino teachers experience difficulties in teaching foundational reading skills in Grade 1 in terms of alphabetic principle. This is because of the absence of some letters in their native language that are in the English language. It is, therefore, difficult for them to pronounce constants such as /dr/, /fl/ and /sl/, among others since they do not exist in their native language. While reading, Thailand students tend to drop the last letters that are consonants. This causes them to pronounce words that mean different things than they intended. The Behaviorist Theory deals with habit formation. Students can hence make reading and pronunciation habitual. The theorists believe that learning a second language starts with the habits related to the first language. The habits, therefore, influence those required to acquire a second language. These theorists hence believe that any interference in acquiring a second language has a connection to the habits of the first language. This factor is true because Thailand students are unable to pronounce some words due to the lack of some letters in their first language (Cochran, 2005).

            Most of the English language pattern in Thai contains the ‘Thai’ accent. This pronunciation error usually results because the Thai phonological system is compelled to fit in each English word. This implies that the nearest Thai equivalents are used to pronounce English. The syllables of words towards the end are stressed in the Thai language. Consonant clusters and final consonants are problematic to articulate (StudyCorgi 2022). As a result, English consonants and vowels are widely pronounced as their nearest Thai equivalents.” (Smyth, 2004: 344)

What makes English difficult for Thai students is to make to transfer between linguistically complex structures. It is also challenging to learn how to think in another language. Above all, it takes time, hard work, and dedication. Almost every language-learning journey starts with the alphabet, which can be difficult for some people. ELLs think in their mother tongue when they start learning a new language. They tend to translate words in their head right away, which, of course, takes time. However, by doing this, they get more and more confused.

Thai Phonology

            This passage from Learner English, in the chapter about Thai speakers: “Thais speak English with a ‘Thai accent’ because they try to fit every English word into the Thai phonological system”. While this is to some extent true of every foreign accent, there does appear to be a peculiar reluctance among many Thai speakers to shed their accent. But as numerous English loan words (including brand names of hundreds of consumer goods) have passed into everyday Thai, it has become a perfectly normal and legitimate strategy to pronounce English words in a Thai way. Teachers and English-Thai dictionaries reinforce this process by providing transliterations of English words in Thai script to clarify pronunciation. As a result, English consonants and vowels are widely pronounced as their nearest Thai equivalents.” (Smyth, 2004: 344)

            According to Monthon Kanokpermpoon paper on Similarities and Differences between Thai and English consonants, areas of difficulty when Thai students try to pronounce English consonantal sounds. It is found that English sounds which do not occur in Thai phonology tend to pose great difficulty for Thai students to utter. Those sounds include /g/, /v/, /0/, /d/, /z/, IL /S/, /tf/, and /d3/. The sounds which exist in Thai but can occur in a different environment, i.e. syllable position, are also prone to be difficult to pronounce. Such examples are /f/ and /s/. To tackle the problem of sounds nonexistent in Thai, Thai students substitute Thai sounds for English sounds. In addition, the phenomenon where /l/ and /r/ are used interchangeably in Thai tends to be transferred in pronouncing /l/ and /t / in English with great challenges. The number of English constants is much greater than Thai consonants.  The sounds of English which do not exist in Thai are likely to pose a great challenge for Thai learners of English to utter.

Vowels are set in the Thai script either before or after the preceding consonant or below or above. Together with an additional tone mark can thus be assigned up to two levels above the consonants. Vowels are never written alone without consonants. There are 28 simple vowels, including 12 each in a short and a long version. Not each vowel is its vowel sign available so some are composed of several characters. In this case, the vowel characters must be regarded as a unit. A decomposition into individual characters is not permitted, as in part the result of the individual characters having a completely different sound.

To name a vowel, the word สระ [sa\ ra\ ] = vowel is spoken by the sound of the character.

Research Question 1.2: What are the experiences of teachers teaching foundational reading skills in Grade 1 in terms of teaching methods?

THEME: EFFECTIVE TOOLS FOR ELL

Supporting the ELL

Differentiated Instruction

Teaching Aids

            In this study, Effective Tools for ELL was the theme highlighted as one of the experiences of Filipino teachers teaching foundational reading skills in Grade 1 in selective schools in Thailand in terms of teaching methods. According to Carol Nancarrow in her Overview of Effective Learning Tools, a learning tool is an instrument designed to be used by learners to provide a structure for growing learning skills and behaviors and systematically collecting and thinking about key information. While teaching tools are primarily used by faculty, learning tools are primarily used by students. Faculty provide appropriate tools and the necessary instruction on how to use them, but students use learning tools independently. Learning tools may involve technology, such as computers and calculators, but they can also be pencil and paper tools. Students can improve key learning skills in the affective, cognitive, social, and psychomotor domains using appropriate learning tools. Success in using learning tools is highly dependent upon the faculty member’s belief in the efficacy of the tools. Faculty members tend to work best with tools they have used and have found valuable in their learning process. If a tool is provided without sufficient training in the use of the tool, it may just add noise and frustration to the learning environment. Therefore, faculty should choose a few tools they can fully implement rather than overwhelming students with tools not fully integrated into the course. Often the full value of a tool is not apparent until it has been used over time in multiple applications. Faculty and students can give up on a valuable tool because they have not used it enough to develop a facility with it and thus appreciate its value. Well-chosen and well-implemented learning tools provide significant dividends in increasing student learning and the ability to apply skills in future contexts.

Supporting the ELL

Adaptations are teaching and assessment strategies especially intended to accommodate a student’s needs so he or she can achieve the learning outcomes of the subject or course and to demonstrate mastery of concepts. This is an important support, especially for Thai ELL learners who have different prior backgrounds in English. Some can already read, some are still blending, and some cannot identify Big A and small A.

If the student has no prior background in English such as learned from an English tutor, has an English-speaking environment at home, from a kindergarten with Phonics instruction and others, according to Gabe Wood in his article How to Use Flashcards to Learn a New Language in 2022, when you’re learning a new language, you have a lot of information to remember. Children can easily link the letter name or the letter sound with a picture since they see these things and pronounce their names in their everyday life. An example is A is for apple, a-a-apple. The know that the initial sound of an apple is /a/.

According to Disha Gupta in her 11 Strategies for Improving Learning Retention (2023), learning retention is a person’s ability to transfer new information into their long-term memory so that it is easy for them to recall and put that knowledge to use in the future. In simpler words, learning retention is all about making new knowledge stick for a long time. A well-planned lesson and targeted objectives that are not too many are effective in helping the ELL learners, according to Participant 1. Imagine yourself as a teacher and try to learn Thai phrases. It is difficult too to remember them all the next day. The students are not only learning how to sound out, blend and read in a day. They have other subjects, such as Maths, Science and they are also learning to read in Thai, which is the complete opposite of English.

When learning to read, it is important always to let your learners speak and hear them say the letter names and sound out the letter sounds. There are English consonant and vowel sounds nonexistent in Thai, and to tackle the problem, Thai students substitute Thai sounds for English sounds. Practice is important. Let each student speak individually, always listen to how the student pronounces the letter names and sounds, repetition and correct the student right away until he gets the correct way. Provide opportunities for interaction. Children cannot learn to speak English without opportunities to practice speaking English. Providing students with opportunities to interact with other students will naturally enhance English language development while providing the scaffolding needed to help ELLs achieve in the content areas. Use adequate wait time to help an ELL formulate a response in a large group context. Use a think, pair, share strategy where students first think about a question for themselves, then talk about it with a partner, and finally share their thoughts with the larger group. Try conversational role plays in pairs or small groups. Topics could include polite language (please, thank you, excuse me…).

Differentiated Instruction

            According to Geri Coleman Tucker in her “What is differentiated instruction?” differentiated instruction is a teaching approach that tailors instruction to all students’ learning needs. All the students have the same learning goal. But the instruction varies based on students’ interests, preferences, strengths, and struggles. Instead of teaching the whole group in one way (like a lecture), a teacher uses many different methods. This can include teaching students in small groups or one-on-one sessions. Students have “multiple options for taking in information, making sense of ideas, and expressing what they learn,” says Carol Ann Tomlinson, an educator who has done innovative work in this area.

            Timothy J. Landrum and Kimberly A. McDuffie of 2010 said in their journal that the idea that people learn things differently has tremendous intuitive appeal. It is not difficult to argue, for example, that among the various skills people master over their lifespan, some things are learned more quickly than others, skills are mastered with greatly varying amounts of practice, and the acquisition of some skills demands different types and levels of instruction and support. Moreover, different people learn to read, write, solve mathematical computation problems, hit a baseball, and bake a cake to hugely discrepant levels of success or mastery. An understandable outgrowth of this generally accepted logic is that humans must have some discernible way or method of acquiring information or mastering skills that suits them best: a learning style. Differentiated instruction, broadly defined as “varying instruction to meet the individual needs of all students” (Tomlinson, 1999), typically focuses on individual students’ learning profiles. Differentiated instruction represents the newest incarnation of schools’ attempts to meet the needs of a diverse student population. Among the more prominent models of differentiation is Tomlinson’s (2003) model, which proposes that teachers modify content, process, or products to meet the varied needs of students. We agree that differentiation is necessary, especially in the context of increasing diversity in classrooms. The need to modify content, process, and product is predicated on variations in students’ readiness, interests, and “learning profiles.” Acknowledging the need to differentiate, Rock et al. (2008) offered advice on determining students’ readiness, interests, preferences, strengths, and needs. A successful teacher recognizes that diversity may affect learning and works toward a classroom in which diversity is valued (Tileston, 2004). Differentiated instruction is one way to meet the needs of diverse students (Thousand, Villa, & Nevin, 2007).

Teaching reading to Thai ELLs may seem daunting, but the good news is that you don’t have to learn an entirely new method. You can and should use what you already know to be effective, research-based reading instruction. However, ELLs will need additional support in learning how to read by making their classroom lively. The classroom is an established organization in society. An interactive and lively classroom is one in which the learner and the teachers keep on important discussions on academic topics. In this type of classroom, all learners participate in the learning process and share their views. The lively environment leads to effective learning. The efficiency and management skill of the teacher in using different teaching strategies will help maintain the students’ interest. Very skillfully, he can create and maintain students’ interest by questioning, seeking clarifications, giving their views, examining others’ views, and arguing decisions. In a lively classroom, the teacher creates an environment for frequent dialogue between students and teachers. The teacher creates a conducive learning environment so that every learner will participate and removes their hesitation in participating in the class. From the above, we can conclude that in a lively classroom situation, there is likely to be frequent teacher-student dialogue.

Research Question 2:  How do Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 feel about teaching Thai students?

THEME: STUDENT’S PROGRESS INFLUENCES TEACHER’S EMOTION

Positive Emotions and Classroom

Negative Emotions and Classroom

In this study, Student’s Progress Influences Teacher’s Emotions was the theme highlighted as one of the experiences of Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 feel about teaching Thai students. According to the interview with the 8 participants, students’ progress can elicit strong emotions in teachers and impact teachers’ occupational wellbeing, though their answers are subjective. Emotions are highly elusive constructs that are both challenging to define scientifically and to capture empirically. In line with most emotion researchers, we view emotions as the interface between an individual and their environment, continually mediating between events and social contexts and the individual’s responses and experiences. We adopt a multi-componential definition, proposing that emotions can be understood as synchronized, coherent patterns of central nervous and peripheral-physiological reactions that are reflected in action tendencies and facial, vocal, and gestural expressions that are integrated into subjective experiences (Mulligan & Scherer, 2012; Scherer & Moors, 2019). For example, in a moment of anger, a person will feel highly negatively aroused and the urge to “fight” the aversive stimulus that arouses their anger, while frowning and making menacing gestures. Emotions thus have important motivational implications because they can instigate and sustain goal-directed activities (Frijda, 2013).

Research Question 3: What are the challenges faced by the Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1?

THEME: CHALLENGES IN PREPARATION AND INSTRUCTION IN SUPPORTING THE ELL

Preparation

Instruction

ELL Support

In this study, Challenges in Preparation and Instruction in Supporting the ELL were highlighted as challenges faced by Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1. Teaching can be challenging but rewarding, allowing you to guide students as they learn about important topics and materials. Preparation can be important if you want to make the most of your learning journey and help students develop skills and competencies for success. “Skillful instruction is imperative to bring the curriculum to life for young learners, and flexible instruction is necessary to make the curriculum work for academically diverse student populations.”  (Tomlinson, Carol Ann, and Jay McTighe. 2006. Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design: Connected Content and Kids. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). Instruction is the process of teaching and engaging students with content. A growing body of evidence indicates that the effectiveness of teachers’ instructional practice has an enormous impact on whether and how students learn and thrive (Wenglinsky, Harold. 2002. “How Schools Matter: The Link Between Teacher Classroom Practices and Student Academic Performance.” Education Policy Analysis Archives, vol. 10: 12). Studies have shown that differences in student performance across classrooms are attributable to teachers and to instruction that is aligned to current content (Rivkin, Steven G., Eric A. Hanushek, and John F. Kain. 2005. “Variable Definitions, Data, and Programs for Teachers, Students, and Academic Achievement. Econometrica Supplementary Material, vol. 73: 2). Explicit instruction strategies engage students in the learning process, stretching their knowledge and skills in the curriculum (Pressley, Michael, Irene W. Gaskins, Katie Solic, and Stephanie Collins. 2006. “A Portrait of Benchmark School: How a School Produces High Achievement in Students Who Previously Failed.” Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 98 no. 2: 282–306). Instructional strategies such as effective use of targeted direct instruction, scaffolding and modeling, monitoring student learning, and two-way feedback among students and teachers are associated with improved student achievement (Kluger, Avraham N., and Angelo DeNisi. 1996. “The Effects of Feedback Interventions on Performance: A Historical Review, Meta-Analysis, and a Preliminary Feedback Intervention Theory.” Psychological Bulletin, vol. 119 no. 2: 254–284). And recent research on teaching students’ metacognition—that is, to “think about their thinking”—has revealed improvement in student study skills and self-questioning (Hattie, John. 2009. Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 8700 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. New York, NY: Routledge.). The quality of the instruction teachers delivers a striking impact on student achievement. When instruction is differentiated to accommodate students’ learning styles, backgrounds, perspectives, and cultural identities, teachers often see dramatic improvements, particularly for students who are working below grade level academically (Farr, Steven. 2010. Teaching as Leadership: The Highly Effective Teacher’s Guide to Closing the Achievement Gap. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass).

Schools must understand the language proficiency of ELL in English as well as their home language. Most states have a similar protocol to determine whether or not a student is proficient in English when they enter school. In Preschool Teachers’ Quality in Lesson Preparation and Implementation of Tang, Keow Ngang; Hashim, Nor Hashimah; Yunus, Hashimah Mohd (International Journal of Learning . 2011, Vol. 17 Issue 10, p89-103. 15p. 2022), studies show that the single most important factor determining the quality of the education a child receives is the quality of his teacher. They explored the preschool teachers’ quality teaching in lesson preparation and implementation in Penang state, Malaysia. A preschool teacher should be able to apply systematic methods of preparing a lesson plan and implementing teaching in preschool. The research employed a quantitative method using a questionnaire which 476 respondents answered. The qualitative method utilized observation to collect data from six participating preschool teachers.

            The first stage of the study was to administer a self-assessment questionnaire that was related to lesson preparation and implementation. The second stage was classroom observation to identify the preschool teacher’s teaching based on the descriptors and indicators developed. The observation data obtained supported and further complemented the preschool teacher’s self-assessment of their lesson preparation and implementation of teaching. The results from the questionnaire revealed that the preschool teachers perceived that they were of high quality in lesson preparation and implementation. They can be categorized as quality teachers based on the descriptors and indicators developed. In their study, quality preschool teachers mean that they can deliver effective instruction, focusing on lesson preparation and implementation. However, the data from observation failed to support the quantitative findings. Only two out of six respondents showed good teaching quality, while three had average teaching quality. There was one respondent who was of low quality. This implied that teacher education programs for in-service training need to be revised and upgraded to improve preschool teachers’ teaching quality.

            In the study of Pambas Tandika Basil of Early Grade Lesson Preparation in Tanzania: Teachers’ Focus and Perceived Benefits investigated the perspectives of Grade one and two teachers on the essential lesson preparation made and its usefulness in the teaching and learning process. Descriptive or transcendental phenomenology using semi-structured interviews collected data from 43 (18 first grade and 25-second grade) teachers sampled randomly among participants of in-service training programmed in Mufindi District Council and Maringa Town Council in the Iringa region. Using thematic content analysis, the study established that teachers were aware of key preparation activities preceding a focused lesson. The lesson plan was their main activity for executing the selected learning activities using appropriate instructional strategies for equipping pupils with the desired learning competencies. Moreover, teachers prepare a lesson plan to guide and boost efficiency in achieving lesson competency (ies), and becoming confident; hence used for every lesson. The study concluded that most of the teachers supported the use of lesson plans to boost efficiency in teaching and learning and recommended that the production and distribution of the lesson plan be done by one unit/agency.

Instruction

The brain needs to make new neural pathways to convert our oral language to linguistic code, which takes practice! Children are learning to read need to work with and practice decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling). This work in integrating phoneme awareness to graphemes and letter knowledge and handwriting formation is the heavy lifting that is needed during reading instruction to allow for the orthographic mapping process to occur. Our lessons should provide repetition in linking speech sounds to their letter representations (phoneme-grapheme correspondence), letter formation, reading, and spelling.

ELL Support

            It is beneficial for elementary teachers to get to know all the students in their classes as much as possible, but there may be extra factors to explore. Creating a positive learning environment is important for supporting the growth of all students. Most elementary teachers try to establish a sense of community in their classrooms and provide structures such as predictable routines, procedures, and expectations. Because beginning ELLs may not initially understand verbal cues, predictable structures are even more significant in reducing anxiety, fostering feelings of safety and comfort, and orienting them to classroom expectations. Classroom patterns and predictable structures also aid language development.

In addition to helping a new student feel comfortable through pattern and predictability, it is important to help other students to welcome the ELL into the classroom. They are talking to students about the challenges of learning a new language. Help them see that mistakes in English will not mean that the new student is unintelligent. After all, the new student already speaks another language very well. In an ideal world, every student would be getting the same amount of attention from their teachers and progressing at more-or-less at the same pace. Unfortunately, the combination of a crowded classroom, an unoptimized curriculum, and the language barrier often makes it difficult for ELLs to keep up.

Research Question 4: How do Filipino teachers cope with the challenges of the phenomenon?

THEME: ROLE OF KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN INDEPENDENT LEARNING

Develop Independent Learning

Teacher’s Perspective on ELL Success

School and Parent Involvement

Stakeholders in education are those who are affected by the educational system or have a vested interest. They play roles and work together to reach a common goal that can lead to success (Linda Roundy, 2021). The stakeholder refers to a person who has an interest or concern in the organization at hand. So, in terms of education, a stakeholder is someone who has a vested interest in the success and welfare of a school or education system. This includes all parties that are directly affected by the success or failure of an educational system, as well as those indirectly affected. School board members, administrators, and teachers immediately come to mind. They each want their work to have a positive impact on children, and their jobs are directly affected by the success of the school system. Parents desire a successful education system for their children, while the students themselves have an interest in receiving a good education. It’s also easy to imagine the influence the education system has on government officials, like city councilors and state representatives, as voters may base their decisions on the way such officials support the school system.

            In fact, the community as a whole is a stakeholder in its education system. This is because local schools educate future employees, business owners, and community leaders. A solid education program builds a stronger community by better preparing its students to be successful community members.

            Since all community members are stakeholders in its education system, you may wonder how each stakeholder is important. Every different stakeholder plays a different, significant role in support of the education system. Furthermore, the students are the primary stakeholders in education. The primary purpose of why the school was created is for student learning.

Develop Independent Learning

            Independent learning is a method or learning process where learners have ownership and control of their learning – they learn by their actions and direct, regulate, and assess their own learning. The independent learner can set goals, make choices, and decide how to meet his learning needs, take responsibility for constructing and carrying out his own learning, monitor his progress toward achieving his learning goals, and self-assess the learning outcomes.

The concept of independent learning is associated with, or a part of other educational concepts and wider policy agendas, such as improving the educational experiences and outcomes for learners through student-centered learning approaches that personalize learning and enable the learner to take ownership of the learning process (Meyer et al. 2008).

Encouragement is one of the most powerful tools a teacher can use. It is often the key to unlocking untapped potential in children, especially those who have trouble learning. “Everyone has inside them a piece of good news.

The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”

– Anne Frank

            The path to student confidence begins by creating a culture of encouragement. Teachers and parents can build a culture of encouragement by embodying the belief that every student has the potential and is the ability to accomplish their goals. Additionally, it would be best if you focused on students’ positive behaviors and actions instead of their negative ones (Kentwood Preparatory School).

Teacher’s Perspective in ELL success

            Teachers’ beliefs and perspectives are important predictors of their behaviors, classroom instructions, and practices, affecting student learning. Research on English language learners (ELLs) specifically shows that teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards ELLs have an impact (Sharkey & Layzer, 2000). Researchers have only recently begun to explore how practicing teachers’ perceptions of English Language Learners (ELLs) impact the literacy instruction ELL students receive (Au, 2011; Garcia, 2015; McWayne, Hahs-Vaughn, Wright, & Cheung, 2012). As McSwain (2001) points out, “teachers’ perceptions of cultural and linguistic competency as they relate to helping children achieve academic and social potential play a very critical role in the type of educational services provided to culturally and linguistically diverse children” (p. 54). Unfortunately, many mainstream teachers hold deficit views toward the ELLs in their classrooms (Garcia, 2015). In addition, researchers have also established that teachers across U.S. public schools have largely developed negative theories about mainstream ELL students’ ability to learn (Cummins, 2001; Gandara, Maxwell-Jolly, & Driscoll, 2005; Garcia, 2015). If not properly unpacked, explored, and rectified, these implicit theories will continue to affect and shape how mainstream early childhood teachers instruct their ELL students.

            Consequently, these choices are often informed by the perception that ELLs would learn English quickly if “they really wanted to” (Pappamihiel, 2007, p. 44). Suarez-Orozco and Suarez-Orozco (2001) conducted a study in which they found that mainstream teachers of ELLs often saw immigrants’ failures as personal faults, something immigrants have brought on themselves or something they deserved. These deficit models of thinking are consistent with what Gutierrez and Orellana (2006) refer to as situating the problem within the ELL students themselves.

School and Parents’ Involvement

            Family engagement describes a situation in which families and the school share the responsibility to help students reach their academic goals. It happens when families commit to making their child’s education a priority, and teachers commit to listening and collaborating with families.

            Family engagement in school is different from family involvement, though both support student success. Involvement includes family participation in school events or activities while teachers provide learning resources and information about their student’s grades. With involvement, teachers hold the primary responsibility to set educational goals. They relate to families and caregivers as an academic advisor for their children rather than their partner in learning.

            Think of family involvement as the first step to family engagement. While teachers can offer advice, families and caregivers also have important information about their children that teachers may not know. A student’s learning experience is enriched when both bring their perspectives to the table. With family engagement, home and school come together as a team. Researchers found strong connections between family involvement/engagement and student academic achievement across fifty different studies (Hill, N. E., & Tyson, D. F. “Parental involvement in middle school: a meta-analytic assessment of the strategies that promote achievement.” Developmental psychology, 2009, 45(3), 740-63). The earlier educators establish family engagement, the more effective they are in raising student performance. Family partnerships formed during elementary school years build a strong foundation for future student success and continued engagement (Dearing, E., Kreider, H., Simpkins, S., & Weiss, H. B. “Family involvement in school and low-income children’s literacy performance: Longitudinal associations between and within families.” Journal of (Educational Psychology, 2006, 98, 653-664). When students receive more support, classrooms with engaged families perform better as a whole (Henderson, A., & Berla, N. “A New Generation of Evidence: The Family Is Critical to Student Achievement.” Washington, DC: Center for Law and Education, 1995, 14-16). Families encounter different obstacles that get in the way of being involved in school. Scheduling and transportation issues make volunteering or attending teacher conferences tough. Families may feel uncomfortable with staff that show a lack of cultural awareness (Learning for Justice Staff. “Family and Community Engagement.” https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/publications/critical-practices-for-antibias-education/family-and-community-engagement). If a positive family-teacher relationship is not established early in the year, families may not feel welcome at school.

DISCUSSION

Summary of Findings

            The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to search for common essences experienced by participants of a shared phenomenon. The informants in this study shared their experiences of working in Thailand as foundational English reading skills taught in Grade 1. By seeking and hearing participants’ subjective encounters and how they made sense of these occurrences, this research gained a better understanding of their lived experiences and how they cope with the phenomenon.

Four research questions guided the study.

  1. What are the experiences of teachers teaching foundational reading skills in Grade 1 in terms of;
    • alphabetic principle

The experiences of the Filipino teachers in the phenomena revealed its result from the semi-structured interview. It was found that the major theme that emerged relative to the participants’ responses was: Causes of Difficulties in Reading. The sub-themes are Lack of Foundation, Difficulties in Acquiring Letter-Sound, Thai Phonology.

  • teaching methods

The experiences of the Filipino teachers in the phenomena revealed its result from the semi-structured interview. It was found that the major theme that emerged relative to the participants’ responses is: Effective tools for ELL. The sub-themes are Supporting the ELL, Differentiated Instruction, and Teaching Aids.

  1. How do the Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 feel about teaching Thai students?

The experiences of the Filipino teachers in the phenomena revealed its result from the semi-structured interview. It was found that the major theme that emerged relative to the participants’ responses is: Student’s Progress Influences Teacher’s Emotions. The sub-themes are Positive Emotions and Classroom and Negative Emotions and Classroom.

  1. What are the challenges faced by Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1?

The experiences of Filipino teachers in the phenomena revealed its result from semi-structured interviews. It was found that the major theme that emerged relative to the participants’ responses is: Challenges in Preparation and Instruction in Supporting the

  1. How do Filipino teachers cope with the challenges of the phenomenon?

The experiences of the Filipino teachers in the phenomena revealed its result from the semi-structured interview. It was found that the major theme that emerged relative to the participants’ responses is: Role of Key Stakeholders in Independent Learning. The sub-themes are Develop Independent Learning, Teacher’s Perspective in ELL Success and School and Parents’ Involvement.

            The participants learned to overcome the effects of the experiences from the phenomenon. Through Zoom interview, the participants revealed how they cope with the situation: Role of Key Stakeholders in Independent Learning. Through these coping strategies, Filipino teachers could face the phenomenon’s demands. All of them shared how the role of key stakeholders helped them to overcome the struggles they experienced in teaching the Grade 1 students.

CONCLUSION

            This study showed that teaching foundational English reading skills in Grade 1 gave many experiences to Filipino teachers. In relation to their responses regarding their experiences, five major themes emerged, which are Causes of Difficulties in Reading, Effective Tools for ELL, Student’s Progress Influences Teacher’s Emotion, Challenges in Preparation and Instruction in Supporting the ELL, and Role of Key Stakeholders in Independent Learning. This study revealed how the teachers got affected by their situation.

  1. Filipino teachers shared both positive and negative experiences in teaching Grade 1 Thai students in selected schools in Thailand. They experienced difficulties such as the absence of letters and sounds of the English alphabet in Thai letters and sounds, no prior English learning of the Thai students and others. Nevertheless, they were able to adjust and overcome using coping strategies.
  2. Most participants give perspectives on how they feel about teaching Thai students. Filipino teachers experienced positive emotions such as accomplishment, love, respect, fulfilment, and satisfaction. They have negative feelings when students do not learn.
  3. Many participants viewed that to help the ELL; you must look at your preparation and instruction.
  4. They realized the importance of the role of the key stakeholders. Many participants believe that the students, teachers, school and parents must work together to become a successful ELL readers.

            This study contributed to the larger body of literature about the experiences of Filipino teachers teaching Grade 1 Thai students, that even though they had difficulty with the demands of the phenomenon still; they were able to overcome them all. This study helped them better understand themselves by looking into their strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it provided further support to the existing literature that suggests that the findings can help schools and training program designers understand and address the needs of Filipino teachers teaching foundational English reading skills so they may adapt and improve existing training programs. Moreover, this study will most importantly help our learners address their current and future concerns.

RECOMMENDATIONS

            Foundational English reading skills are crucial during the alphabetic fluency stage. This is the stage they must develop their print knowledge, print awareness, phonological awareness, and phonemic awareness and recognize relationships between letters and sounds. It is the strongest and most reliable predictor of reading abilities and lowers academic failure risk. Given that the Filipino teachers in this study demonstrated positive attitudes in supporting the Grade 1 Thai students, the following recommendations are created:

  1. Good teaching and a good teacher are the most effective instructional tool. Hire a qualified English teacher (at least the minimum academic qualifications, having both an academic qualification and the proper training in pedagogy). The researcher recommended that the schools provide in-service and other professional development training to the teachers. They can constantly improve their skills and become more proficient at their jobs. In the field of K-12 education administration, school administrators need to encourage teachers to pursue professional development to ensure the best learning outcomes for their students and be more effective and satisfied in various other aspects of their work.
  2. Additionally, schools must design new programs and implement new teaching strategies.
  3. Teachers must help the school devise essential teaching strategies and interventions.
  4. Furthermore, the school must encourage parents by creating programs to get them involved in their children’s learning, development, and progress.
  5. Lastly, it is recommended that future research endeavors may increase the sample size to include more participants to obtain more information about the experiences regarding the phenomenon.

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