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Respect Thai Teachers If Standards Are Ever To Improve

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Instead of getting English teachers from western countries....many whom I have seen cannot even speak or write decent English and are generally sexpats or criminals running away from their own countries and instead of finding Thais trying to speak English with silly American or British accents, simply follow the Singapore model and get teachers from Singapore to train Thai teachers. even if we have develope a Thailish accent, its alright, we are after all Asians. The degree of education and ability to perform is not based on the way we speak Englsih alone. Countries like Singapore, Japan , India, etc have Asian who are smarter, more able and willing to work harder than their western counterparts.

Very well said!

Agree with you that the money would be much better spent on training local teachers (just like most non English speaking countries in Europe have done). It would also be a more sustainable long term solution.

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The education system needs toal reform. Band aids like 83K native speakers wont achieve anything without reform. However, has any government ever been able to reform any part of the bureaucracy?

The single party TRT government threatened to fire the bottom 10% of civil servants in terms of performance and then backed down very quickly. The only time anyone ever changed the police was when they took on and lost to the army back in the 60s and had their naval units taken away. The current government couldnt even stop CAT from keeping its monopoly and the government were meant to have the backing of the elite.

If you want to see anger beyond any red or yellow bile then ask M6 students especially ones from lower or middle class backgrounds about university entrance which changes all the time and whenever the playing field gets a slight leveling there is a backlash from the establishment within education (the university rectors are a particularly reactionary group) to make sure those with the money that the educational elite love retain their top spot and the leveling is more than mitigated against.

While there is an educational system that exists that favours only the wealthy and elite nothing will change. A country as it develops needs to learn to value its greatest asset, its own human capital and a country will certainly suffer vis-a-vis others while it excludes most from decent education thereby never realising full potential.

Lett also be honest, whether it is 83 K native speakers or TRT style one province one brilliant school nonsense it is isnt aimed at any normal student but at satisfying the demands of the local elites and upper middle classes in the province. You aint going to find any US or UK uber-teachers outside the main provincial town and the schools they end up teaching at will be entirely predicatble as they are ones filled with rich kids and a token maids daughter.

Reform is what is needed but no doubt bandaids are easier to deliver than trying to force a bureacracy that is entirely aimed at its own self preservation and self perpetuation with a single rationale of supporting itself to actually do what it was once set up to do but has since pushed down to a minor tertiary role possibly excepting when some propaganda needs peddling to the young.

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Hammered you insightful and spot-on post is detracted only by the sticky keys on your computer!

School is, and always will be, the vehicle by which countries deliver their nationalistic (or religious)indoctrination. It really doesn't take 12 years to teach what is taught. Apparently, it does take that long to make good citizens.

I have always had such admiration as well as sadness toward students who are very bright and excel in school, but have to plan their life according to the darkness of their skin or the lack of connections.

The change has to start somewhere and maybe it can start with English language skills.

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Hammered you insightful and spot-on post is detracted only by the sticky keys on your computer!

Schools is, and always will be, the vehicle by which countries deliver their nationalistic (or religious)indoctrination. It really doesn't take 12 years to teach what is taught. Apparently, it does take that long to make good citizens.

I have always had such admiration as well as sadness toward students who are very bright and excel in school, but have to plan their life according to the darkness of their skin or the lack of connections.

The change has to start somewhere and maybe it can start with English language skills.

Class access to education does exist everywhere but here it is outrageous. Even as the government introduce free education for all schools introduce special rooms and programs for those who can afford it and dont want to sit with their lower class brethren. In most countries there may be elite private/public schools for the wealthy but within a school studentsw are usually taught similarly and even streaming is done on ability rather than ability to stump up lots of dosh or donate to something or other. While class divisions will never be totally broken down the worsy of them need ironing out so people at least have a reasonbably equal opportunity, and to be honest without this Thailand will become less competetive as it fails to reach potential in human capital.

I hope you are right about English skills being a start but I doubt it personally

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In an educational environment where schools will cancel at least 25% of their classes per semester in favour of Nationalistic and ceremonial activities, where assessment and attribution are an absolute farce, where class sizes can easily reach up to 50 and where how you look is more important than what you teach, the 83.000 baht 'white elephants' will have no impact. Reform does not commence with teachers, its starts with the Ministry and school directors!

The Ministry of Education follows what a culture of centuries determines.

Thailand is a hub of hubs.

Thais in general have no notion of the planet on which they live. European culture, geography and literature are dark areas they do not dare explore. South America is a part of the world they are not interested in knowing because they speak a non-Farang language they cannot relate to.

It is not polite to complain.

It is not polite to question anything, much less authority.

Foreigners are not to be trusted (Mr. Suthep recently publicly confirmed it).

Anything non Thai cannot be as good. Etc, etc.

The Singaporean model has been there just around the corner and yet, Thailand is still in the throws of the Third world in terms of mental attitudes.

I studied Russian in Kiev, capital of Ukraine. My teacher was from Moscow and she spoke not a word of English. We were prodded by her on a daily basis to speak the few words and/grammar we absorbed every day we were in class. We were taken to environments where we had to interact with Russian students.

Fast forward to Thailand. Thai teachers just talk and talk and allow little room for interaction on any subject they teach. Thai teachers are not interested in making their work more challenging by having to manage an interactive classroom. They are ceremonial and perfunctory as a whole. They just do the bare minimum acceptable within the system. There may be exceptions but exceptions do not make a rule.

Unfortunately, schools, private businesses and government establishments take a cue from the policies advocated in Thailand.

Double pricing system, fueling nationalism that only serves to isolate the mind, to mention only two of the most egregious examples.

I want Thailand to prosper. I can understand the reasons for the proposed high salary to native English speaking teachers. These are the same reasons that compel Indian software developers and engineers to migrate to Germany and the USA. A better salary and higher living standards.

Thais are certainly not inferior to other humans in the world. If guided and schooled properly they can be innovators and make this country prosper in dramatic ways.

But if Thailand does not try to at least to copy the Singaporean model, this country will continue being a LOS (a blithering marketing label-ploy of the TAT) on paper and have their citizens carry cell phones and ideas from the time of King Narai.:jap:

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Sorry this is long; you may still find it of value if you stick with it :whistling: .

I've had the displeasure to sit thru more 'mind-numbing' totally b/s engrish classes taught in Thai schools up-country than I care to count. I can say wholeheartedly the biggest impediment to Thai kids learning something that resembles engrish is the methodology used in teaching it. The solution is not simply throwing money at the problem. That won’t begin to re-vamp the totally antiquated, ultra-controlled and terribly skewed system in place for learning.

This is not limited to engrish by any wild stretch of the imagination, but is seen in every subject. Things are taught here by rote alone. They are totally pounded into the students’ heads over and over. The students never ask questions, just copy text off the board, sit thru lecture after lecture on the subject and then test out via exams. The “no-child-left-behind” initiative which is in place now makes even failing a class not an option. There are more than just anecdotal evidence of foreigners teaching engrish being called into the principal’s office after an exam and being told “These grades are unacceptable; change the grades so everyone passes your class!” :unsure:

The 'face loss' factor is quite possibly the biggest hindrance to effectively learning any subject. Buddha help us when a student raises their hand and asks a teacher to better explain something! Oh, what a can 'o worms that would open concerning "loss-'o-face". The teacher could ‘lose face’ for not explaining things clearly or (much more likely) the student would ‘lose face’ (and possibly be ridiculed by the teacher) for not understanding. It’s almost hard-wired to be a lose/lose situation. Sheesh, if you don't understand, raise your hand and say, "I'm sorry, could you explain that in another way?" I'm sure the student who asked wasn't the only one in class who didn't understand, they were just the only one who had the balls to ask about it. :D

The hierarchy or 'pecking-order' in Thai schools seems to be purposefully designed to “choke the life” out of any new teacher who has initiative or wants to use innovative teaching techniques. :bah: Imagine if a Thai teacher "thought-outside-the-box", encouraged students to ASK questions, encouraged interaction in class and at least began to teach students to use rudimentary critical thinking skills. :rolleyes: Ask the 'old guard' which really control the education field this question and they'd say classes would become total chaos! It's exactly that mind-set that has held back generation after generation of Thai students except the uber-rich. :(

Thankfully in a more 'connected' world, Thailand will either hafta step up or shut up in the not so near future. I have met many Thai students who are starting to question the status quo, insofar as the quality of their education. It will be a long, slow, painful process to revamp something as deeply entrenched as the education sector, but it can happen.

I totally agree; any Thai who even becomes semi-proficient in engrish is snapped up by the private sector either here or abroad. Face it, who would want to be employed in the over-controlled, stifling, mind-numbing education sector? I think they'd rather work for a ‘real’ company where initiative and creative skills are looked at as a benefit instead of as a detriment.

Sometimes I tell my Thai friends in jest; the reason Thais don't “think outside the box” is because no one ever told them there even was a “box” to begin with. B)

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Instead of getting English teachers from western countries....many whom I have seen cannot even speak or write decent English and are generally sexpats or criminals running away from their own countries and instead of finding Thais trying to speak English with silly American or British accents, simply follow the Singapore model and get teachers from Singapore to train Thai teachers. even if we have develope a Thailish accent, its alright, we are after all Asians. The degree of education and ability to perform is not based on the way we speak Englsih alone. Countries like Singapore, Japan , India, etc have Asian who are smarter, more able and willing to work harder than their western counterparts.

As an illiterate, lazy American sexpat with a silly accent I completely agree. :ermm:

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From my experience teaching at larger schools in Thailand the students tend to run the classrooms not the teachers. Why do you think the teachers use microphones?

In smaller schools the teachers control the students.

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Sorry this is long; you may still find it of value if you stick with it :whistling: .

I've had the displeasure to sit thru more 'mind-numbing' totally b/s engrish classes taught in Thai schools up-country than I care to count. I can say wholeheartedly the biggest impediment to Thai kids learning something that resembles engrish is the methodology used in teaching it. The solution is not simply throwing money at the problem. That won't begin to re-vamp the totally antiquated, ultra-controlled and terribly skewed system in place for learning.

This is not limited to engrish by any wild stretch of the imagination, but is seen in every subject. Things are taught here by rote alone. They are totally pounded into the students' heads over and over. The students never ask questions, just copy text off the board, sit thru lecture after lecture on the subject and then test out via exams. The "no-child-left-behind" initiative which is in place now makes even failing a class not an option. There are more than just anecdotal evidence of foreigners teaching engrish being called into the principal's office after an exam and being told "These grades are unacceptable; change the grades so everyone passes your class!" :unsure:

The 'face loss' factor is quite possibly the biggest hindrance to effectively learning any subject. Buddha help us when a student raises their hand and asks a teacher to better explain something! Oh, what a can 'o worms that would open concerning "loss-'o-face". The teacher could 'lose face' for not explaining things clearly or (much more likely) the student would 'lose face' (and possibly be ridiculed by the teacher) for not understanding. It's almost hard-wired to be a lose/lose situation. Sheesh, if you don't understand, raise your hand and say, "I'm sorry, could you explain that in another way?" I'm sure the student who asked wasn't the only one in class who didn't understand, they were just the only one who had the balls to ask about it. :D

The hierarchy or 'pecking-order' in Thai schools seems to be purposefully designed to "choke the life" out of any new teacher who has initiative or wants to use innovative teaching techniques. :bah: Imagine if a Thai teacher "thought-outside-the-box", encouraged students to ASK questions, encouraged interaction in class and at least began to teach students to use rudimentary critical thinking skills. :rolleyes: Ask the 'old guard' which really control the education field this question and they'd say classes would become total chaos! It's exactly that mind-set that has held back generation after generation of Thai students except the uber-rich. :(

Thankfully in a more 'connected' world, Thailand will either hafta step up or shut up in the not so near future. I have met many Thai students who are starting to question the status quo, insofar as the quality of their education. It will be a long, slow, painful process to revamp something as deeply entrenched as the education sector, but it can happen.

I totally agree; any Thai who even becomes semi-proficient in engrish is snapped up by the private sector either here or abroad. Face it, who would want to be employed in the over-controlled, stifling, mind-numbing education sector? I think they'd rather work for a 'real' company where initiative and creative skills are looked at as a benefit instead of as a detriment.

Sometimes I tell my Thai friends in jest; the reason Thais don't "think outside the box" is because no one ever told them there even was a "box" to begin with. B)

Is there a reason you insisted on spelling English to engrish throughout your entire post? It wasn't funny the first time and by the tenth time I seriously started to question your intelligence. What was the point of doing that repeatedly?

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In an educational environment where schools will cancel at least 25% of their classes per semester in favour of Nationalistic and ceremonial activities, where assessment and attribution are an absolute farce, where class sizes can easily reach up to 50 and where how you look is more important than what you teach, the 83.000 baht 'white elephants' will have no impact. Reform does not commence with teachers, its starts with the Ministry and school directors!

Right!!!!!!

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In an educational environment where schools will cancel at least 25% of their classes per semester in favour of Nationalistic and ceremonial activities, where assessment and attribution are an absolute farce, where class sizes can easily reach up to 50 and where how you look is more important than what you teach, the 83.000 baht 'white elephants' will have no impact. Reform does not commence with teachers, its starts with the Ministry and school directors!

I couldn't agree more. It's very normal for Thai schools to cancel an entire week of classes for 'sports week' and all sorts of ceremonies that cut into class time. It's bad enough when you only get a class of students for 50 minutes a week, but then when you add all the other cancelled classes, you sometimes are lucky to see them once a month! It takes time and effort to learn a foreign language and Thailand just doesn't give enough of either to make much of an impact.

Thailand is still teaching English as a foreign language and it is NOT a requirement that students learn this subject well enough to graduate. Students know this and a lot of these teens learn that it just doesn't benefit them to make the effort. So if these expert foreign teachers come over here with lofty expectations, they will soon become disappointed in about a week's time.

Most of the English language being taught in the school system is being done by Thai teachers who only teach grammar. They use an ineffective rote method and they don't focus on speaking, listening, writing or comprehension. There is no fun involved. Worse yet is the overall physical abuse of the teacher for students who don't show enough respect or do as they are ordered. Then again, teenagers soon realize that they don't even have to go to class and endure this kind of torture because all they have to do is show up for the last day for repairs. A students never has to attend a single class or take one exam and he/she must pass if they ask to do repairs. Then the teachers is ordered by the administration to give that student anything to MAKE them pass. So you get hundreds of students like this come to your desk during the week that you are trying to calculate the grades for over 500 students.

The best thing Thailand could ever do is decide to make English an official second language and make a serious effort to get their own Thai English teacher brought up to speed. Most of them cannot communicate in English and they do a LOUSY job of trying to teach this subject. That needs to change. Those foreign teachers should be brought over to first help the Thai English teachers to improve their own English skills and then to give them some better teaching methods to practice.

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The simple fact is that most Thais do NOT WANT to make efforts learning English. It is not about teaching only, the internet alone has so many possibilites.

The few remaining motivated Thais then are TOO SHY to practice. Language is about making mistakes and learning by them. That's how I learned English long time ago and I stlll don't care about my mistakes.

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Until all (Thai and Farang) teachers get the kids enjoying a lesson (regardless of numbers in the class) there will not be any progress in knowledge. Lack of student interest is the biggest block to learning in the present public school system.

I was a low qualified English teacher at a low income area school. The vast majority of the students there, will never ever have any need for English as they would never have the opportunity of progressing past the Thai perceived "low class" image. The boys would follow in fathers foosteps, the girls teen mothers. The students saw no need or point in learning English.

For approximately 6 months I tried following the "accepted" practice of teaching as laid out by the school with virtually no appreciable increase in student English ability. Trying to maintain interest and disipline was impossible.

Finally I threw all the books away.......and stopped teaching.

I instead......Started playing games (physical), bought (I paid) a large LCD TV screen hooked up to my laptop and used cartoons (in English) and computer games (in English) Played latest music hits (of course only English) and had the kids singing and dancing, Made lots of craft models and basically "talked to the kids"

The difference in classroom behavior was dramatic, most noticeably from the trouble makers of before!!! They were always the most keen to play the English games and sing. I became their friend....not their teacher and earned their respect..

I never taught grammar again. That followed naturally from "listening to correct English" usage........ as every toddler does in their learning to speak.

When I started at the school, even though there had been Native teachers there previously, none of the kids could speak any English. Within 2 years after I started, virtually ALL of the kids could speak basic elementary English. Achieved by doing what kids like doing......having fun.

Even though I wasn't following curriculum procedures, i was allowed to use my methods as the Director very quickly saw that I was getting dramatically improved results.

Unfortunately circumstances meant I stopped teaching there after 2 years, but even now almost 3 years later, when i visit the school the remaining students that had me as a teacher, still leave their classrooms to greet/welcome me and want to know when I am coming back..

I must admit though, It cost me about 30% of my salary to buy the materials and DVDs etc to keep new content for my lessons. For me, the dramatic results were reimbursment for my outlay so I wasnt concerned about the financials.

So from my experience, it is the method of teaching, and the ability to "read the kids wants" that is the main stumblig block, more so than academic credentials which in most cases are theory and not practice.. An inexperienced native English teacher that can adapt and motivate in teaching the students, is a far better teacher than a highly qualified over paid stuffed shirt that demands the students do it his/her way.

All the talk about 'respecting teachers' and 'improving schools, classes, pay' etc causes us to lose sight of the first and only law of education:

It is IMPOSSIBLE to teach ANYTHING to somebody who does not want to learn, likewise if somebody REALLY wants to learn something NOTHING can stand in their way (even the world's worst teachers, the biggest class sizes and the worst learning materials - the worst they can do is to waste a true student's time.)

Visions seems to be one of the rare people who have stumbled upon this simple but obvious rule. The system as a whole is based on the converse of this rule - and the result is an enormous number of very stupid people.

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Getting class sizes below 50-60 students is a huge factor. No amount of money thrown at teachers or educational resources will be effective when a teacher is trying to get through to that many students at once, no matter what subject is being taught.

You may be correct. However I believe the number of students in China are very high. The Chinese seem to have many highly educated students regardless of this fact. I know the emphasis on education in China is very very intense. Would you agree?

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Respect is EARNED not just given because it is demanded, when the thai education system starts to realize this things will start to improve.

I agree. I also believe a native English speaker w/out a college degree ought not be understood as being a "teacher." Does doing a 2 week (or so) course constitute being qualified to teach?

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BANGKOK 19 July 2018 06:56
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