English Language Policy and English Language Teaching Practice in Thailand: A Perfect Match or A Mismatch?


  • Unaree Taladngoen


English is a mandatory subject for the entire basic education core curriculum from Prathomsuksa 1 to Matayomsuksa 6 in the 2008 Basic Core Curriculum  (Ministry of Education.  2008). With the concern and focus on English for communication, the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach has been widely implemented. Conversely, English Language Teaching (ELT) practice in Thailand seems to be far from being successful since the Thai students’ English language proficiency was low as shown in the summary report of Ordinary National Education Test (O-NET) in the Academic Year 2017, and Thailand was ranked 64 out of 88 (EF EPI.  2018). However, it could be arguable that the Thai students’ low English language proficiency was resulted from being assessed based on native-speaker (NS) norms, not exactly on communicative ability. Consequently, a gap between the English language policy and ELT in Thailand, especially the students’ proficiency assessment, was found. An intriguing and thought-provoking question that needs to be addressed was raised whether the rank of English language proficiency that Thai students received really represents their actual language proficiency since the illustration was drawn from the statistical data of test takers who took decontextualized multiple-choice NS-based standardized tests. Keywords: English language policy, English language teaching, Communicative English Teaching