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robitusson

Best Thai Language School

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can anyone recommend the best school in pattaya ?

There are many schools in Pattaya. Most offer only private courses. I've followed a private course a PLC school (Pattaya klaang, a bit up-hill, about 150 meters from carrefour). The teacher didn't put any structure into the courses, because she didn't have any experience teaching somebody that is not at an absolute beginners level. They had a coursebook for beginners but not for the next level. The teacher worked very hard and she tried to help me as much as possible, but she was unprepared for systematic teaching at a bit higher level.

Some people go to AUA in Pattaya. AUA has a good reputation but I've heard that the level in Pattaya is lower than at other places. In Pattaya you've a mix of people. There are foreigners with a doctoral degree that teach at universities, but there are also farangs that ran away from their own country because they were not "talented" enough to get a decent life in their own country. This mix might block the more talented people.

I would also like to know a good place to study in Pattaya.

I didn't find any good place until now and next time I think I'll go to BKK. Probably there are more expats and english teachers in the courses and less tourists. So, it should be easier to find a course that goes a bit further than an absolute beginners level.

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If you are a beginner, avoid AUA Thai language program in Rajadamri (Bangkok).

But, keep in mind, when you reach intermediate level, AUA can be valuable.

I will explain.

I attended a one-hour sample class at AUA when I first arrived in Bangkok.

Couldn't wait for the hour to end, the teaching was so awful.

Instead, I took classes at several language schools, including TLA school which I described in a post above.

In the previous two years, I've been studying with a private tutor, 5 days a week.

Expensive, yes.

But I can read and write with ease at the P-2 level.

My tested vocabulary -- as of today -- is 976 words, with 94% comprehension.

My speaking ability is such that I can tell a taxi where I want to go -- just once -- and that's enough.

I'm far from comfortable with the language, but it's starting to get better.

I'm not trying to brag here, just offering the facts to demonstrate that I am at intermediate level now.

And that's where AUA comes in.

AUA has value for intermediate students

I started attending there last month, level one, the lowest level beginner class.

For someone who already knows some vocabulary, it's a great way to sit back, relax, and listen to Thai language spoken in a clear, ordinary way.

The teachers -- two of them in every class -- use drawings and impromptu acting to illustrate their topics.

And, if you know Thai teaching methods, you already know that can be very funny, in a slap-stick sort of way.

At this stage, AUA is a useful source of listening and comprehension practice.

But what about for a beginner?

For a beginner AUA is awful.

I look around the classroom there and observe the other students.

They haven't a clue.

If it weren't for the teachers' drawings and acting, all the beginning students would be totally lost.

I listen when the other students try to say a few words of Thai.

The AUA technique is based on NOT speaking for the first 800 hours of classroom instruction.

But many of the beginner students try to speak anyway, and the teachers neither stop them, nor correct them.

Their pronunciation is universally awful.

Maybe it improves by some as-yet-unobserved, magical process, at some higher level, but I doubt it.

Those unfortunate students at AUA are developing terrible speech patterns.

For an intermediate student who wants review of listening comprehension, AUA is a good source.

For a beginner, it's an awful place to begin.

If specific questions, you are welcome to send me email or PM.

.

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If you are a beginner, avoid AUA Thai language program in Rajadamri (Bangkok).

But, keep in mind, when you reach intermediate level, AUA can be valuable.

I don't disagree with your perspective on AUA. I had some minimal background in Thai language from self-study, but have been full time at AUA for several months now (400 hours of seat time). Like many of the students I have sat for long hours with absolutely no comprehension of what was being discussed in class. Most of the teachers have minimal English, so can't help even if you ask them. I have a fear of logging 1000-1500 hours in that program, and still not being able to form a simple sentence in the language (i.e. could I have two pieces of grilled chicken, some somtam, and sauce?).

The program does not even introduce reading and writing until about 800-1000 hours of listening. That is too long to wait, so I have been working with a tutor 1:1 (not at AUA) on reading-writing and it has been extremely productive. Also, there is no effort to teach simple grammar and sentence structure. Sure kids learn this way, but it takes them 4-6 years of daily exposure. I haven't got that much time ... I plan to start at the beginning with a speech, grammar, tone course soon (Piammitr?), and spend a few hours a day listening at AUA.

Although a few students may really stick with the AUA methodology, I think most end up learning the fundamentals somewhere else, then using AUA as an excellent suplement to build vocabulary and learn the rythms and tones of the language in normal speech.

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At this moment I am thinking about 2 schools because i read about 2 foreigners on this webboard that managed to pass the pratom 6 tests. These schools are:

AAA Thai language center

PiamMitr

I can already read an write and I would hate to go back to the "transliteration only" way of teaching. Do the teachers in these schools always use Thai script or are the courses based on phonetic script? Can you ask the teacher to (also) write everything in Thai script?

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At this moment I am thinking about 2 schools because i read about 2 foreigners on this webboard that managed to pass the pratom 6 tests. These schools are:

AAA Thai language center

PiamMitr

I can already read an write and I would hate to go back to the "transliteration only" way of teaching. Do the teachers in these schools always use Thai script or are the courses based on phonetic script? Can you ask the teacher to (also) write everything in Thai script?

At PiamMitr Language School they use a phonetic system in the beginner level courses (first 3 months) after which they teach the reading and writing (months 4 and 5). So basically all transliteration is history starting in month 4. From this point onwards, Thai script only.

Since you can read and write already, I assume you will be in one of the intermediate or advanced courses where you will find all materials and instruction is in Thai script.

I passed the Pratom 6 test after studying at Piammitr. Now I am studying their more advanced course offerings. See you there. :o

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I've been studying at Unity Thai Language in Sukhumvit and I can tell you for a fact that 100% of their students that have taken the p6 exam in the last 2 years have passed it. From reading on webboards I had previously decided that passing the test was a distant unachievable goal but from having studied there I have come to realise that this is not the case.

When I asked my teacher about it she said that a lot of people who take the test are unprepared and have signed up to do it by themselves because they thought that they might be able to pass it. If you study with them they have a 3 month prep course which unfortunately I won't be able to take this year. If I did this course I am confident that I would pass. As it is I have decided to continue my studies privately as I must go back to work. I will be studying privately with a teacher from Unity so hopefully I will still be ready in December, but we'll see.

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At this moment I am thinking about 2 schools because i read about 2 foreigners on this webboard that managed to pass the pratom 6 tests. These schools are:

AAA Thai language center

PiamMitr

I can already read an write and I would hate to go back to the "transliteration only" way of teaching. Do the teachers in these schools always use Thai script or are the courses based on phonetic script? Can you ask the teacher to (also) write everything in Thai script?

At PiamMitr Language School they use a phonetic system in the beginner level courses (first 3 months) after which they teach the reading and writing (months 4 and 5). So basically all transliteration is history starting in month 4. From this point onwards, Thai script only.

Since you can read and write already, I assume you will be in one of the intermediate or advanced courses where you will find all materials and instruction is in Thai script.

I passed the Pratom 6 test after studying at Piammitr. Now I am studying their more advanced course offerings. See you there. :o

Most people start learning a language by talking. I started by learning to read (via self-study and help of wife). So I can read much better than I can understand spoken conversations. I read at normal speed but I am slow in talking. So, probably I'll need to start at a level that's not too high. So, I would like to know if in the handbooks of the beginners level courses also show the Thai script (besides the phonetic script). The teacher that I have now (in Europe, only 6 hours per week), writes some things in phonetic script only. This is very annoying, especially because she doesn't put any tone marks on the phonetic script. So it's up to me to guess what she really wrote (I've to use the dictionary a lot).

I'll be moving to Thailand in August (house is sold, still have to work 3 months). Probably you'll be finished by then.

People that reach pratom 6 must be in my opinion pretty smart. I am surprised that so many people of Unity managed to pass this test. I can honestly tell that some people in my classroom never in their life will be able to pass this test. They wouldn't even pass a pratom 1 test. The difference in level is huge.... so the teaching method of unity should be really good...

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Most people start learning a language by talking. I started by learning to read (via self-study and help of wife). So I can read much better than I can understand spoken conversations. I read at normal speed but I am slow in talking. So, probably I'll need to start at a level that's not too high. So, I would like to know if in the handbooks of the beginners level courses also show the Thai script (besides the phonetic script). The teacher that I have now (in Europe, only 6 hours per week), writes some things in phonetic script only. This is very annoying, especially because she doesn't put any tone marks on the phonetic script. So it's up to me to guess what she really wrote (I've to use the dictionary a lot).

I'll be moving to Thailand in August (house is sold, still have to work 3 months). Probably you'll be finished by then.

People that reach pratom 6 must be in my opinion pretty smart. I am surprised that so many people of Unity managed to pass this test. I can honestly tell that some people in my classroom never in their life will be able to pass this test. They wouldn't even pass a pratom 1 test. The difference in level is huge.... so the teaching method of unity should be really good...

I studied at both Unity and Piammitr, but these days I'm sticking with Piammitr for a variety of reasons; class size, cost, and 3 hour morning sessions. Both schools use a basically identical curriculum and methodology which was originally developed by another school (Union Language School). There is at least one more school using the same curriculum, but can't remember the name. Thai script is only introduced at the 4th month.

Unity in particular requires that you pass a qualifying test to enter their Pratom 6 preparation course, selecting only the top students to prep for the exam (ie. the people they expect to pass), hence their ability to boast a 100% success rate. When I was at Unity they had a Pratom 6 preparation course that had around 30 students. I finally got around to taking the course myself in the following year at Piammitr and luckily there were only 7 students. I suspect the ability to get more personal attention in the classroom helped me to sucessfully pass the exam.

At any rate, at any of these schools you have a good chance of passing the Pratom 6 test assuming you keep up with the instruction - it does require a certain amount of determination and plenty of hard work.

Personally, I'm planning to study through the end of this year, I get constant review of things and plenty of conversation time too. This is my solution to overcoming the semi-fluent hump.

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Thanks Expat_4_life

You've convinced me. I'll go to have a look in August. If I need to start at the beginners level, I'll just have to use my dictionary again (for knowing the Thai word behind the transliterations). Maybe I could do a beginners level course before noon (just to reverse) and an intermediate course in the afternoon. Nice to have someone on this webboard that can actually compare 2 schools.

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Thanks Expat_4_life

You've convinced me. I'll go to have a look in August. If I need to start at the beginners level, I'll just have to use my dictionary again (for knowing the Thai word behind the transliterations). Maybe I could do a beginners level course before noon (just to reverse) and an intermediate course in the afternoon. Nice to have someone on this webboard that can actually compare 2 schools.

By the way, looked around on the internet and the school I couldn't think of was in fact AAA Thai Language Center, the school that was on your list. They are also using some variation of the Union developed curriculum.

The main focus in the curriculum during the first several months is to develop spoken and comprehension skills; you also get a huge vocabulary. In retrospect, having to focus on the written language at the same time as developing these other skills would have been too much. So, my advice would be start at whatever level you are comfortable and focus on your comprehension, verbal skills as well as vocabulary building. You'll be using Thai script soon enough in your studies. Pesonally, morning and afternoon sessions I would find to be entirely too much. After my 3 hours a day, I'm ready for a break.

Feel free to send me a message via the forum here when you arrive or if you wish additional information.

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You guys dont mention how many students are in a classroom... I would like to be 1:1 at about 20 hours/week for a month. What do you recommend? What price should I expect to pay?

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question: is there a test at the end of the month/class period? what are the pass fail rates? if there are so many schools, why do so few farang speak thai?

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The reason why there are so many schools yet so few farang speak Thai is because there are so few farang at the schools. Most of the students at Unity are Korean or Japanese.

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You guys dont mention how many students are in a classroom... I would like to be 1:1 at about 20 hours/week for a month. What do you recommend? What price should I expect to pay?

Classroom size is somewhat dependent on which level you are studying, with the earlier course levels more heavily attended.

Personal experience at Unity was about 8 students in a class through the reading and writing courses. After that attendance dropped to 4-6 students.

Currently at Piammitr class size is running around 5 students in the earlier courses, then dropping to 2-3 students.

Both schools offer 20 day, Monday to Friday, 4 week courses with basically the same curriculum. Unity has 80 hour (7,000 Baht) morning courses and 60 hour (6,000 Baht) afternoon courses, while Piammitr offers only 60 hour (5,500 Baht) morning and afternoon courses. Piammitr also offers weekend courses with morning, afternoon or evening sessions. If you really want 1:1 instruction, both schools offer private lessons. I think the prices are about 500 Baht per hour.

question: is there a test at the end of the month/class period? what are the pass fail rates? if there are so many schools, why do so few farang speak thai?

For the most part, no tests. The teacher simply recommends if they think you should progress to the next level. I've known plenty of students that elected to repeat courses at various levels. The exception to this being after the reading and writing courses, we all sat an exam. I never saw anyone fail one of these tests.

Personal story, the reason I searched out and studied at one of these schools was based on meeting some missionarys here years ago. I was amazed at their competency with the language and asked where they had studied. I'm still impressed when I see new students progress through the courses, the curriculum and methodology really work.

Recommendations, depends on your goals. Definitely learn to read and write, practice, practice, practice. There are many posters here on the forum that have used a variety of learning techniques or a combination thereof; classroom, books, tapes, tutors, TV/Radio, and self-study. Choose what works best for you. I don't see any real need for a private tutor, you can practice elementary/basic conversational skills everywhere. Personally, I like the structured classroom environment and don't see any real substitute to one of the schools we've discussed if your goal is to pass the Pratom 6 exam.

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There's probably not one school that's best for everyone, it all depends on your learning style.

Just to add to the current list, the intensive Thai course at Payap University in Chiang Mai has a good reputation. So does the Chiang Mai branch of AUA.

thank you, that is most helpful.

I am thinking of running off to chiangmai away from family members to study the thai language intensively for a few months.

Looks like I finally found the right place to reassure my father that I will be fine in Changmai then Phuket.

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BANGKOK 22 November 2017 00:22
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