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BANGKOK 20 November 2018 19:27

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SlyAnimal

Thai Culture Course

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Last week I went and did my Thai Culture Course in Bangkok, and thought I'd share my experience for people who are curious about it. As I know I wasn't really sure what was going to happen at the course, and a lot of what I'd read online was really negative.

What is it:

The Thai Culture Course is a 3 day course run my various different universities in Thailand on behalf of the Teacher's Council of Thailand (TCT for short, or Khrusapha which is the phonetic of the Thai word). It costs 6000฿ and is a requirement for any foreign teacher who would like to obtain a full Thai Teacher's Licence. Sitting the course also qualifies teachers for a second provisional teaching licence or "waiver".

Where to apply:

I initially saw my culture course advertised on http://www.ksp.or.th/, which then directed me to a university's website where I could apply. ksp.or.th is the website for the TCT. The website has a simplified version in English, and has a lot of resources for foreign teachers in Thailand.

There are other ways to apply, my boss has been telling me for 2-3 years that he'll put my name forward to someone, and that then they'd organise a course locally, however after 1 1/2 years of waiting, I figured I'd better do it myself in Bangkok before my provisional teachers licence expired.

From what I've gathered, there are A LOT more applicants than what there are positions available in the culture courses. So if you see one advertised, apply immediately, as the places are limited.

I asked the organisers if they could e-mail me when the next courses were coming up, and that I'd then post the details on ThaiVisa. They actually said that they'd prefer if I didn't specifically post their university's details, just Khrusapha's, as they have so many applicants already, and people get so disappointed when they miss out on a position in the course (paraphrasing a little here), but they feel so bad when they have to keep telling people no, even though it might mean that someone will have to undergo some major employment/life changes as a result of missing out on a spot in the course. They e-mailed and called all of the applicants a few times in the lead up to my course to ensure we were all coming, as they were really trying to get people in from the waiting list if I wasn't going to come.

Cancellations:

My course was originally scheduled for late January 2013. However around 2 weeks before the course, they had to postpone it until 2 weeks later because TCT was having a meeting about something. Then the week of the rescheduled course, they advised me that they'd had to cancel the course, as Khrusapha was changing some details of what they wanted in the course, and that they would contact me when they were able to offer it again. They contacted me around 2-3 months later, and gave me the option of 4 or 5 different dates during the year when they were going to run the course.

Course content:

The course was really interesting. I have been living in Thailand for 3 years already, and speak Thai pretty well, so figured I understood Thai culture already, and that the course wouldn't be very worthwhile for me. They gave us a pre test of what they were going to teach us, and I scored 32/60, so although I had been here for 3 years, there was still a lot of things in the course which I didn't know.

The topics which we studied:

Thai language - They didn't really do a lot of teaching here, just briefly went over a few basics, as everyone has such varied levels of Thai, so if they went slowly, it'd be too boring for people who can speak Thai, and if they taught something more advanced, it'd be difficult for teachers who have just arrived in Thailand. At the end of this section they got us to do a brief roleplay, in groups, of a conversation in Thai, which we made up ourselves. They tried to make sure that each group had at least 1x person who could speak Thai reasonably well. In general, around half of the course content is mandatory for all Thai students to learn, and the other half is made up of things which anyone living in Thailand for a while would/should know.

Thai dancing - They taught us a traditional dance which is important to Thai people. Thai students all learn this same dance in school, as it is required learning for students.

Thai history - A history of the Thai people, starting with their migration from China, through the Sukothai, Ayutthaya, Thonburi, Siam and Thailand periods. This is also required learning for Thai students.

Thai music - Some classical Thai songs from different parts of Thai society, as well as a brief history of the development etc of the songs. This was mainly a listening exercise, rather than singing, although we did sing the Thai national anthem and the King's song to familiarise ourselves with them. They also gave us English translations of all of these songs, so that we could understand them a little more.

Thai Etiquette - How to wai properly, and who to wai to, as well as other little things about politeness (Don't point your feet at people etc). If you're new to Thailand it'd be really interesting, although even if you've been here for a while you might learn a few new things (or have an official confirmation on a few things which you "thought" but weren't sure on). It was by no means a comprehensive lesson, as there are too many random things which are impolite for them to teach them all in the short time frame, but it was interesting.

General knowledge - General information about Thailand, so information about the regional differences, industry, statistics and different foods/fruit/desserts, as well as some of the history behind the different foods etc.

Professional Ethics - Some information about the standards which the TCT wants teachers to adhere to, this was boring but was potentially useful, as it might help with some of the TCT Teacher's licence exams. At the end of this session we did a group activity, where we had to present some of our views on the TCT code of conduct and why it is important.

General observations:

Free coffee / water and some snacks were provided, as was an information pack with copies of all the slides they used during the course, so that we could refer back to them later if we wanted.

The atmosphere was relaxed, the lecturer was a really funny guy, who constantly kept on telling jokes and going off on random tangents to tell us interesting information related to what he was teaching.

It was expensive (6000฿, although that is for a 3 day course), but that's simply a necessary expense if you want to legally teach in Thailand long term. It was also a good opportunity to meet other teachers from various different schools. I did feel good getting my certificate afterwards, as now it's done, and I am one step closer to getting my 5 year teacher's licence.

So in general, I though that it was a decent course, and I'm happy that I did it (Even though it was a bit of a hassle to do).

These are my observations, so not everyone may agree with them (I tend to be a pretty positive thinker, I know not everyone on TV falls into the same boat lol), however the intention is for it to be an information resource for new teachers. However if there's any important information which I've missed, then please pm me and I may add it into this post.

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