Benito Vacio

A fruitful visit

When English club students and international school students meet

Last month, 10 Grade 4-6 English Club members of Wat Lakkhorn, a public school in Sainoi, Nonthaburi had a trip to Rose Marie Academy, an international school at Nichada Thani in Pak kret, also in Nonthaburi.

Months ago, I asked the coordinator of my plan, but she was hesitant to allow us to go because of the children's safety ( we would be travelling more than 80 kilometers). But due to my accomplishment lately as a winning coach in impromptu speech, that took my student to the provincial level of competition, I was able to get the approval of my new director.

The purpose of the trip was to give my English Club members an opportunity to experience learning being in an English environment so that they could get inspiration to like English more. Somehow I was able to achieve my goal for they were able to relate with Rose Marieans in their assigned classes. One more thing, the congeniality of the teachers, and staff of the school also helped in making the students feel at home.

My students toured the school and saw several huge and impressive art work displays, experienced an hour and a half sessions with the students, ate lunch at their canteen, and were treated like honored and welcomed guests all throughout the day. This was highlighted by a friendly football match that my students enjoyed so much for even if they lost the game they were awarded silver medals like they had won in an Olympic competition.

In appreciation for all these, my students sang an ASEAN song, did a Hawaiian dance, and gave souvenirs to their newfound friends. We might have known a little bit of the school but more than that we learned so much how it was to be a part of it.

I thought my students would be the only one to benefit from this encounter, but to my surprise, I, their teacher, was able to learn something too. From one Math teacher, I learned the integration of mathematical computations in making cubes and prisms through discovery. He just presented ready-made cubes and prisms and it was up for students to discover how it was done. He said that students must learn to discover and experience failure so that he can attain ultimate success.

This reinforced my knowledge that learning English using the discovery method can work too. A learner must figure out how to learn the language with the help of a knowledgeable English teacher. The teacher must transform the students to be smart not only studying the language but eager to learn it by taking down notes, using the dictionary, asking questions, listening to how words are said, talking to native speakers, studying extra time, watching English movies or listening to English music and programs on the radio.

The second one was from the language arts teacher who utilized students' background knowledge as springboard for learning. And the one I liked, best was the bulletin board display that showcased students writing outputs from varied levels that encouraged me to use it in my classes next term.

Anyway, I have taught my students for nearly 4 years. I'm pretty sure they are ready for it. In fact, I have already requested a hundred folders and fasteners for my students' use next term. I will use my own drawings, clip arts of things from the internet, and things drawn by them, then they describe the art work depending on their ability. The finished work will be displayed uncorrected around the room, kept in a folio too so that I can see the authentic improvement in their written language and self-expression.

Next time, I plan to take my English Club members to a place where they can interview native speakers and practice what they have learned from the club. Other than this, I will invite foreign speakers to whom my club members can interact with. I believe that "Learning how to speak English is likened to learning swimming by frequently swimming in the pool."


Congratulations, June. The national finals is the highest competition in speech. I hope your student will make it because you still have time to prepare (2 1/2 months away) If your student is a spontaeous one he/she will make it. Otherwise, you have to let him/her memorize at leasst 10 topics for we won't know what the question will be. Good luck and thanks for reading my blog.

By Benito Vacio, Nonthaburi (2nd October 2013)

Hi Benito. First, I wanted to comment that I always look forward to reading your posting. The reason I inquired about your Impromptu Speech because I too recently had to groom my student for this competition. We are from a government school out in the suburb. The head of the English Department had too much on her plate, so she ask me to help the student for this competition. With only 5 days for preparation, my student was coming into this competition as an underdog. I had never heard of an impromptu speech before this moment, so I too was the underdog as mentor. We worked countless hours and we pull off the most imaginative win by coming in second and taking the gold. So now we are going all the way to the national in December. I'm sharing this story with you because I wanted you to know that my student definitely isn't a native and isn't from a private school. His grammar actually is awful but with strong will and a lot of praying anything was and could be possible. For me, I was able to win the respect from my Head and my peers. Before this I didn't know if i would get a contract for next year, but now the head wants me to stay as long as possible. What a twist of faith.

By June, Bangkok (30th September 2013)

My student got the gold but will not represent in the national competition. In storytelling and speech private school students made it.

By Benito Vacio, Nonthaburi (29th September 2013)

Hi there. Just curious what medal did you got for you impromptu speech competition? Will you advance to the national in December?

By June, Bangkok (28th September 2013)

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