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Tuesday, 15 September 2015 12:03

Kreng-jai Knowingly Undermines Individual Creativity


Paper presented at: The 8th International Conference on Educational Research, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
11-12 September 2015.


Paper published in the ICER 2015 Conference Proceedings, pages 589-598.



Globalisation has affected everyone in some way as it brings with it challenges to our values and beliefs on a daily basis. Education is one of the avenues that can assist communities and national populations to adapt to world changes whilst still keeping their existing culture and traditions. This is especially true when dealing with English language education, as English has become the Lingua Franca (LF), especially in Southeast Asia.

Thailand is proud, and rightly so, of its history, traditions and culture; however, globalisation and the forthcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) require that member countries relinquish some of their peripheral beliefs, values and character traits in order to trade, negotiate and assimilate with and into larger collective organisations as part of the globalisation process.

This paper investigates the Thai character trait of ‘kreng-jai’ by looking at how it has been perceived in academia and analyses how this phenomena is regarded by some as having a negative impact on English language learning and teaching in Thailand. By taking an ‘outsiders’ perspective, this research demonstrates that for Thailand’s education sector to keep pace with globalisation, the character trait of ‘kreng-jai’ needs to be addressed so that future generations of Thai English language learners will have the opportunity to remain competitive within ASEAN and beyond.

Keywords: character traits, culture, English language, kreng-jai, learning, teaching, Thailand.


For more content access ICER article in PDF here.

For more content access conference proceedings in PDF here.




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