Rote learning and Thai schooling

Improving student language skills

To improve Thai-language skills amongst youngsters, Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng plans to cut rote learning and introduce more reading and writing. Mr. Chaturon said Thai-language teaching needed to undergo a radical change since children were not good at their mother tongue.


What hope for a superficial education system?

The joys of being part of the system

Being a foreign teacher is again another superficial and costly exercise. They want to show you off like a new piece of gold jewelry or a good photograph. Relatively speaking it costs a lot to employ a foreign teacher in Thailand.


The magical land

Where no student fails an exam

Yes, dear readers, students in Thailand simply cannot fail exams. This probably comes as a very big surprise for the people unfamiliar with the Thai situation, but believe me, it is true. Well, it is still true at the time of writing, but maybe not for long anymore.


Ayutthaya island

Tales of ghosts and spirits in deepest Thailand

I have yet to see a ghost in Ayutthaya myself. But, I am learning to speak Thai, so maybe that will help. The main problem today is this: wailing ghosts don't attract western travelers, who are celebrating on vacation. Nobody likes whining and misery. We can always get that at home.


Touch their hearts

Touch their hearts and their minds will follow

Let's leave the academic stuff to Thais. Leave all of this pedagogical, impersonal, pompous-ass, Ivy-league, academic mumbo-jumbo for their own people. As westerners, let's teach them some real English.


TOEFL woes

How Thai English speakers measure up

The Minister of Education apparently thinks it’s possible the revamp a whole educational approach in just a month. It made me wonder if he’s got any idea at all what he’s talking about. Everyone with more than a pea-brain should know that change – especially a change of this magnitude – is always a slow process


Never mind fluency

Here comes the grammar teacher

I think it is quite absurd to reward students who are good at cramming grammar rules – and may not be fluent at all – and punish students who can speak English fairly well but aren’t very accurate. English is a language. The main purpose of a language is communication.


Sit fetch and roll over

Basic Thai commands for teaching children

Let me get a few things straight first. First of all, it doesn’t really matter if the kids understand everything you say. Even if they do, they still won’t listen to you. Second, even if you know the commands in Thai, you’ll probably get the tones wrong and no one will understand you.


Monty Python returns

Teaching can be rewarding, stressful, frustrating, or even downright funny

What follows are a few (slightly adapted) classroom conversations. Although they might be familiar to you, I hope you’ll find them entertaining.


A teacher's lot

A week in the life of an English teacher

As Friday is my day off, I consider Saturday to be the start of my working week. Yes, that’s right, I work six days a week, not unusual if you work for a language school. Unlike Thai schools, the weekend is the busiest time for language schools.


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