The problematic pronunciation of many Thais
I try to have as much empathy for my students as I possibly can and I am becoming rather good at understanding the unintelligible. However, there are limits to everything and I am not a mind-reader. If a person says for example /sa-pye/, I know he or she means “Spy” (the wine-cooler or James Bond, doesn’t matter). But if someone says “kye”, I don’t automatically think of cry.
Some of these students have had over 2,000 hours of English.
Considering that English has been the international language of tourism and commerce for I don't know how many decades now, and there are I don't know how many thousands of English teachers all over the country, why is the general level of English so poor?
The biggest teaching hurdle: motivation
Motivation in the classroom, both from the teachers and the students, is essential for learning but it is a tricky balance to strike since the two are so interconnected; if the teacher loses motivation, so do the students and if the students lose motivation, so does the teacher.
When parents of students are simply too demanding
The demands and expectations that some parents burden their children with are alas often too great. At the moment I’m teaching a kid who hasn’t even turned six, yet his life revolves solely around learning.
Students are simply just not 'taught' here
Recently I read an article that stated adults in Thailand are ranked 55th from a list of 60 countries on their English proficiency skills. From what I have seen as an English teacher working in government secondary schools over the last 10 years, I'm not surprised,
I couldn't believe what was going on in the classroom
I come from a society and a culture where the copying of anything in or out of a classroom is simply looked on as cheating. Not only cheating the whole idea of education but cheating oneself out of any possibility of learning, not to mention a total disrespect of the student who goes to the trouble of learning the correct answers in the first place. So I was appalled beyond measure when I saw my first example of copying in my classroom at my first school in Phuket.
I’m predominantly focusing on the non pronunciation of “s” when it’s in the final position (ending of the word), I’m fully aware this is an issue at all levels of learners & speakers, however, I’m only concerned with primary age learners.
What to do when the odds are stacked against you?
So apparently my current Mathayom 2 reading class didn't finish the reading book assigned in Mathayom 1. The result is that I've been told I must teach both that book AND the one I was assigned to teach... in one semester.
These kids passed every test I set them after our keep fit regime started. Carrot and stick works every time if used properly, but I suppose it helps if you know what you are doing. I know all teachers don't have the freedom I had but do try it if you can
And if it isn't dead, it damn well should be
Students study English with local teachers or native English speakers (NES), or both, but what they're ultimately looking at is a textbook, many of which were never published with Asian markets in mind.
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