Don't ask me

In a previous position at a large government high school I was required to instruct my senior students in the art of expressing their opinions in English. Great idea!! One problem - these students had NEVER been encouraged to express any form of opinion in their native language and had no concept of critically appraising any statement made by their teacher. They are the products of a system which requires them to unthinkingly accept and repeat anything their (unquestionably correct) teacher chooses to tell them and then tick the correct box in a multiple guess examination at the end of term. If a student happens to fail the exam it is obviously due to the failure of the teacher to impart the necessary information.

This system, which also actively encourages and rewards non-performance through the totally ridiculous no-fail policy, demonstrates to students that there is absolutely no need for independent thought or personal effort. If somehow the model could be changed, from one of passively "being taught" to actively learning, perhaps it may become possible to facilitate the airing of students' opinions in whatever language they choose to use.

Unfortunately, this would require a degree of insight on the part of those within the higher echelons of the MoE (themselves products of the aforementioned system). Inherent in this would be an admission that the system, and not the teacher, is responsible for the current day failings which result in the annual production of thousands of university graduates whose degrees are worth little more than the paper on which they are printed.

With the looming advent of the AEC, Thailand is being left behind by it's neighbours and the international community at large. It risks becoming the labour pool for its' more realistic and far sighted competitors in the global economy. This will be good for those of us with savings in foreign bank accounts but not so good for the average Thai citizen.

I love Thailand and have no desire to live anywhere else. My desire is for the betterment of the people and the nation as a whole. Stupid Farang!


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