Development of communication strategy instruction for a tourism education programme in Thailand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This study was conducted to develop communication strategy instruction for
Thai tourism students to enhance their English oral communication performance. The research was
conducted with 24 fourth-year tourism students, who participated in different aspects of the
voluntary short course of communication strategy, at a public university located in the northern
part of Thailand.
Classroom action research was the methodological approach selected to investigate students’ needs,
the key communication strategies to be taught, the ways to teach the communication strategies, and
the effects of teaching the communication strategies. The process of data collection and analysis
was undertaken in three phases. Phase One involved a pre-assessment to identify the students’ need
for communication strategy instruction. Phase Two involved the development and implementation of
communication strategy instruction, along with data collection and analyses from students’
self-report questionnaires and my teaching journals. Phase Three involved a post-assessment,
followed by a comparison of the students’ pre- and post-assessment oral communication performance.
The findings revealed eight key communication strategies that could be taught for tourism students
to enhance their English communication skills: circumlocution, approximation, literal translation,
self-repair, self-rephrasing, lexicalised fillers, direct appeals for help, and modified
interaction strategies. The study also revealed practical ways of teaching communication
strategies, including teaching a wide range of communication strategies combined with language
knowledge using a variety of communicative tasks. In addition, the findings showed the benefits of
teaching communication strategies because these strategies contributed to raising students’
awareness of using communication strategies alongside linguistic knowledge, and also served to promote among students positive attitudes towards language learning and interaction. This study supports and highlights the significance of explicit teaching of communication strategies and suggests including this new and useful approach to English language teaching and learning for tourism students in Thailand.