Thai English teachers

I teach at a large government school. The students tell me their Thai teacher doesn't ever speak to them in English, even when their lesson is English. After being at this school for a while, I've noticed that very few know enough English to even say, " good morning."

I was told, not asked, to participate in the English Club every Friday. The teacher over it is of course a Thai that literally slaughters the English language. At the first meeting, she said a total of six words in English. I counted every one. At the second meeting last Friday, she said a total of thirteen words in English. Last weekend, we had "open house". While the other foreign teachers were there, several of us were taking to the director of the English Department and she ask us for ideas on how to improve it. I told her, "for a start, make the teachers and students speak English when they come in the office." One of the other teachers agreed and told her, "this is the English Department, so the students need to speak English when they come in." Another teacher agreed and basically said the same thing. The director said, "I am going to implement that." You must understand, she barely speaks enough English to be coherent herself. Anyway, the very next morning, six students came into the office to talk to the teacher over the English Club, who sits beside me, not one word was spoken in English. The director was also in the office and joined in the conversation with the students. In Thai of course.

Later that morning, I went to my class and all my students were gone. I ask a student teacher passing by, "do you know where my students are?" She told me, " they are watching a cartoon in the Assembly Building. I said, "a cartoon?" She said, "yes, about Bangkok, it's kind of like a game show." Of course it was in Thai. I went back to my office and the director was there. I told her, "it's no wonder why Thai students can't speak English." She said, oh?" I told her, "until schools get serious about learning English, the students will always speak pigeon English or no English at all." She just shrugged her shoulders.

I do not understand how the students learn any English at all.

Ralph


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