Shadow Education in Thailand: A Case Study of Thai English Tutors’ Perspectives towards the Roles of Private Supplementary Tutoring in Improving English Language Skills

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Saksit Saengboon

Abstract

Shadow education, particularly tutorial schools, is a familiar yet under-studied educational phenomenon in Thai society. This exploratory qualitative case study aimed at gaining a better understanding of English tutorial schools through the lens of tutors. Specifically, two tutors in Bangkok, Thailand were selected via purposive sampling. Two rounds of interviews were conducted: 1) focus group and 2) individual. Key themes emerged from the two rounds of interviews, namely challenges in providing tutorial courses, tutorial schools and Thai society, the importance of motivation, tutorials and English teaching, success and failure in tutoring and English language teaching policy. Concluding remarks suggested that shadow education, in this case private supplementary tutoring, has a potential to improve English language skills of Thais through its motivating force and that dichotomous thinking about key components of English language teaching e.g., to teach or not to teach grammar; English native speaking vs. non-native speaking teachers should be avoided.

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