The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News The Phuket News Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Phuket Community
The Phuket News Arts | Community | Culture | Dining | Education | Phuket Entertainment | Environment | Health | People | Technology | Travel | World Entertainment XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Interview: Researcher finds that English teachers in Thailand lack cultural understanding

Do English teachers, Western politicians understand Thailand?

Steven Layne

Monday 26 October 2015, 08:00AM

Interview: Researcher finds that English teachers in Thailand lack cultural understanding

Jason Jellison, 38, is an American-born academic who, like many of us, has adopted Thailand as his second home. He recently completed and published a research study, in which he gave thirty unsuspecting foreign teachers in Bangkok a surprise test on Thai culture. Most of them failed, in that they demonstrated a clear and quantified lack of understanding of the Kingdom. The Phuket News spoke with Jason to find out more. Here is the first part of the interview.

Tell us about yourself, and how you ended up as a student in Thailand:

Back in 2000, I decided to take a vacation in a warm country, and came to Thailand, initially for five and a half weeks, and it changed my entire life. I discovered a country where most people tend to deal with problems calmly. I also discovered a country where many people were much happier in their daily lives. From very early on in that trip, I became insatiably curious about how people could be so different. I wanted to know everything that I could about Buddhism. So, I set off atop a motorcycle, up towards Chiang Mai. I was entranced by driving through hill tribe country, discovering forgotten Buddhist shrines, as well as discovering strange religious texts that I sought to understand … After an injury in 2003, and I wound up retiring early due to medical problems, and decided to finish my college degree at Thongsook College, near Mahidol University in
Salaya, Nakhon Pathom. The College President, Dr. Pornchit, was kind enough to host over 150 foreign students, and I publicly thank her for envisioning such a new idea. The BA-TESOL programme would never have happened without her vision and expertise. I am about two years away from finishing my bachelor’s degree in International TESOL and intend to pursue a Master’s and PhD here too.

Tell us about your study, and particularly why you decided to pursue this research topic?

I recently became a Buddhist at Wat Naripilom, just outside Bangkok. Thailand is a second home to me, and I wanted to do something with my academic career to benefit the entire country. Someday, we’ll all be gone and, for those of us who enjoy research, we will be remembered for the body of work that we leave behind. Bangkok’s libraries are full of dusty books written by long deceased researchers. I was sitting in an old library, late one hot afternoon in Bangkok. Lest anyone think that those books are now “irrelevant dinosaurs,” I happened to come across a copy of Thailand: Buddhist Kingdom as Modern Nation Stateby Charles F. Keyes. Although the book was written in 1987, I found it was still very relevant to Thailand as we know it today.

C and C Marine

Also, a former Harvard academic, Donald Swearer, personally accepted a copy of the research once it had been submitted to my college. I had cited his work heavily in my paper, and this all gave me a idea never attempted before: Test a mass of foreign, second-language teachers to see just how much they are absorbing about Thai culture. I got the idea because there is a constant backand-forth between Thai academics and western academics.

Thai academics say that Westerners don’t understand Thai culture. Western academics from the USA, EU and Australia claim that they do. They often make direct policy suggestions to Thailand as the country develops. Recently, Mark Kent, the outgoing British Ambassador, wrote an op-ed extolling the virtues of the Magna Carta in the Bangkok Post. W. Patrick Murphy, the US charge d’ affaires, made a statement recently that seemed to show a western view of human rights issues; which tends to be in conflict with [some views in] the East.

This back-and-forth, where the West tries to import its values to the East, has really boiled over recently. Western academics and politicos have claimed to understand Thai issues well enough to pressure Thailand towards Western values, and are sometimes critical of the decisions Thailand makes. As an aspiring researcher, I thought the best thing I could do would be to conduct a research study that took a snapshot of just exactly what Western academics did, or did not know about those issues. So, I decided to create a surprise test for foreign English teachers to take …

The conclusion of this interview, and Jason’s research can be found here.



The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
   => Forget password?

archbrow | 17 November 2017 - 15:07:53

I'd like to add some additional context to this article.  
1. jason was never a siam student, he interviewed thongsook students  not siam students 
2. jason attended a required 1 week intro to statistics course at thongsook, this was the extent of his research. 
3. Google jason jellison and you can find more of his "research". 

The Phuket News

alrichfled | 26 October 2015 - 09:49:53

I think that Jason Jellison gave your publication an impeccable interview.  I was privileged to read his research regarding this topic, and I'm looking forward to reading not only the remainder of this interview, but also the publication of future examples of his research.  I believe that Jason will be a most valuable contributor and asset to your newspaper. 

The Phuket News
Matches 2 result(s)
The Phuket News
The Phuket News
The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments

New bar-coded traffic violation tickets not in use in Phuket yet, confirmed

...."As there are many illegal drivers out there"... I think that is hardly the issue, because a illegal driver pays the fine and still c...(Read More)

More smoke than light in e-cigarette row

This is as always about tax revenue and nothing about helping people quit smoking the silly thing is if they did legalize these products and put a tax...(Read More)

More smoke than light in e-cigarette row

This is not about health but about the State tobacco monopoly in Thailand and potential loss of revenue. Only here would they increase cigarette t...(Read More)

Phuket tourists dissatisfied with beach trash and water quality, reveals survey

I agree! The big amount of tourists from Luxembourg not coming to Thailand anymore is a huge factor in the dwindling tourists numbers from European ...(Read More)

Phuket Gov repeats call to solve rubbish, wastewater issues

Snore. Why even keep bringing this up? Nothing is being done to make any difference. I saw somebody pull out in front of me on his motorbike with a dr...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Hobbled by Bangkok

There is one fundamental issue missing from this article. The fact of local people being elected means 'favortism'(or massive corruption as it...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Hobbled by Bangkok

As always, a great PN Public Opinion! Problem is: This Governor seems to be abandon/sabotaged by every single Phuket local government department in...(Read More)

Korean tourist 72, saved from drowning off Phuket

A lengthy article which gives no info on how she was "saved from drowning"...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Hobbled by Bangkok

It says in the opinion that expats helped in the 80's to develop Phuket.30 years later i see here some expats posting with an incredible knowledge...(Read More)

Patong Mayor, PEA drive on to bury communication cables

"The wonders of modern satellite technology" although that part is correct, the rest is not, granted satellites have their place, but there ...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
Weird World
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.