Exploring Thai teachers' conceptual beliefs about reading and their influences on instructional practices
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Theories of reading have altered throughout history. Originally, reading was understood as a process of knowledge transmission, but currently, reading is viewed as a process of meaning construction. The changing conceptualizations about the reading process have emphasized the active role of readers among second language (L2) students and altered perspectives on L2 reading instruction in a more constructive way. An unawareness of the changing conceptualizations of L2 reading may be the main obstacle to the professional development among teachers of L2 reading. This study aims to explore Thai teachers' conceptual beliefs about reading, instructional practices in L2 reading classrooms, influences of teachers' beliefs about reading on instructional practices, and their perceptions of the roles of L2 reading teachers.Four Thai participants teaching English (L2) reading at a private university in Northern Thailand participated in the study. Primary data sources included in-depth interviews, classroom observations, and document reviews. A coding system was used to analyze the data.The research revealed that two participants hold transmission beliefs about reading while two others have beliefs that gear toward transactional beliefs about reading. In addition, these beliefs about reading are found to be related to teachers' instructional practices. L2 reading classrooms of teachers who hold transmission beliefs about reading were teacher-directed and focused on vocabulary while classrooms of teachers who hold transactional beliefs were student-centered and emphasized classroom discussions. Teachers who hold transmission beliefs about reading see themselves as a controller of classroom activities and an arbiter of interpretation, while teachers who have transactional beliefs about reading perceive themselves a facilitator of teaching and learning activities and students' reading processes.This study suggests classroom visits and knowledge sharing among teachers of L2 reading are needed. In addition, the university needs an effective professional development program focusing on current theories of L2 reading and teaching methods. Regarding L2 reading instruction, both text-based and reader-based knowledge should be the foci of L2 reading classrooms, and more explicit instruction of strategic reading is needed.