About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 5892 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0239

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

USING SOCIAL STUDIES LESSONS TO CHALLENGE LIBERAL FORM OF MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION: THE CASE OF THAILAND

T. Arphattananon

Mahidol University (THAILAND)
Multiculturalism in Thailand has gone from the stages of assimilation to benign recognition of difference. Throughout the twentieth century, Thailand emphasized sameness for national integration so the cultural diversity of several ethnic groups in the country was repressed for nation-state building purposes (Barry, 2013). At the turn of the century, Thai culture was re-defined again to include the cultural identities of 30 ethnic groups in the country (Hayami, 2006).
However, the cultural diversity accepted by the state is often that which has economic value and does not undermine the overarching cultural symbols of the state. In other words, state-approved cultural diversity is often de-politicized and standardized (Hayami, 2006).

As education is one form of ideological state apparatus, the evolution of the state-definition of Thai culture over the past eighty years is manifested in curriculum, instruction materials and teaching methods. In social studies textbooks, cultural diversity is represented mostly in the form of visible aspects of culture such as the food, costumes, and festivals of the four regions of Thailand (Arphattananon, 2013). Culture, as presented in textbooks is reduced to static practices of different groups. In this study, the researcher worked with primary school teachers in Thailand to plan social studies lessons that challenge this form of multicultural education.

The researcher used Participatory Action Research (PAR) as a research methodology. The researcher worked with four social studies teachers from three public primary schools in Thailand which were selected based on their student population; students in the three schools were from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds—children of migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos as well as Muslim students.

The conceptual framework of this study is critical multicultural education which views education as a hegemonic tool and proposes that in order to balance the power among majority and minority groups, education should help students discern distorted power structures in society (May and Sleeter, 2010).

The curriculum should provide not only different perspectives, but help students see how those from minority groups have been put in disadvantaged position. Schools should teach students not only the skills to live in a culturally diverse society, but social action skills as well.

To this point, eight lesson plans in social studies have been developed and trialed in real classroom. The lesson plans aimed at reducing prejudice and stereotype towards minority groups by prompting students to question the stereotypical portrayals of diverse cultures in the textbooks, such as the stabilized cultures of the four regions and the culture of ethnic and religious minorities in Thailand. Furthermore, the lesson plans also try to have students experience the lives of people from minority cultures through role play, critical reading of the news and recollection of their own experiences. This is aimed at cultivating sympathy among students and teaches them about inequality that exists nearby in their lives. When these lessons were taught, some students expressed stereotypical attitudes that they held against people from some groups. Some students empathized with the experiences of people whose cultures are different from their own. Students also had a chance to reflect on their experiences.
@InProceedings{ARPHATTANANON2018USI,
author = {Arphattananon, T.},
title = {USING SOCIAL STUDIES LESSONS TO CHALLENGE LIBERAL FORM OF MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION: THE CASE OF THAILAND},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.0239},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.0239},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {5892}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Arphattananon
TI - USING SOCIAL STUDIES LESSONS TO CHALLENGE LIBERAL FORM OF MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION: THE CASE OF THAILAND
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.0239
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 5892
EP - 5892
ER -
T. Arphattananon (2018) USING SOCIAL STUDIES LESSONS TO CHALLENGE LIBERAL FORM OF MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION: THE CASE OF THAILAND, ICERI2018 Proceedings, p. 5892.
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