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PeaceBlondie

What Serious Demand Is There In Thai State Schools To Learn English Grammar And No Anglo Culture?

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Thai nationals who teach English to prathom and matayom students in state schools stress grammar rules. Most of them they teach vocabulary by sitting or standing before a very bad sound system, without giving good examples of how such words fit into sentences or paragraphs. Tests are multiple choice, incredibly poorly written. Students seldom read or write what might be loosely categorized as literature. Thai nationals in Thai administered private schools such as an MEP or an EP do little better.

There is about as much real demand for this kind of education, as there is for Akkadian linguistics or Venetian linguini. Would it be beneficial to five percent of the Thais who would eventually use real English, to teach them a wee bit of literature in the context of its culture? Would a Thai try to teach Thai language without mentioning Thai culture? Before you read Kipling's "Jungle Book," would it be helpful to explain the evils of colonial India? How is a Thai student going to understand "We're not in Kansas, Toto" or the wicked witch of the West, or America's lyrics in the pop song ("Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have...")?

Then again, maybe 95% of Thai school children do not need to know one word of English.

Okay, so some of my examples are slightly off the mark, like Bolognese baloney, but I hope you get the idea. Thanks.

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Tests are multiple choice, incredibly poorly written.

Sorry I know it's the main thrust of the OP but it made me laugh as it reminded me of something that happens quite often. My Thai oppo (or even worse the academic head for a group of about 15 of our sister schools) will bring me one of these multiple choices (that is going to be given in the next round of exams) where none of the available answers are right. Upon telling them this, I always get the reply 'well which one is the least wrong?' which they mark up as the correct answer. Changing the entire question seems to be beyond the poor souls.

Fill in the blank with the correct word:

I __________ shower in the mornings.

A) Fishmarket

B ) Hatstand

C) Wibble

D) Zzzzzz

Edit: Unwanted smiley

Edited by Slip

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You sound like you've had one of those days Peace. My hat goes off to you that your still in the game.

Now go down to the bar and get pissed. Chin Up!

:o

Edited by DavieA

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Thai nationals who teach English to prathom and matayom students in state schools stress grammar rules. Most of them they teach vocabulary by sitting or standing before a very bad sound system, without giving good examples of how such words fit into sentences or paragraphs. Tests are multiple choice, incredibly poorly written. Students seldom read or write what might be loosely categorized as literature. Thai nationals in Thai administered private schools such as an MEP or an EP do little better.

There is about as much real demand for this kind of education, as there is for Akkadian linguistics or Venetian linguini. Would it be beneficial to five percent of the Thais who would eventually use real English, to teach them a wee bit of literature in the context of its culture? Would a Thai try to teach Thai language without mentioning Thai culture? Before you read Kipling's "Jungle Book," would it be helpful to explain the evils of colonial India? How is a Thai student going to understand "We're not in Kansas, Toto" or the wicked witch of the West, or America's lyrics in the pop song ("Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have...")?

Then again, maybe 95% of Thai school children do not need to know one word of English.

Okay, so some of my examples are slightly off the mark, like Bolognese baloney, but I hope you get the idea. Thanks.

I'm different. I teach MEP English to M2-3 at a large government school. While the EP program is Thai administered, the administrator is very enlightened and often implements new teaching methods to erncourage student production with new vocabulary, critical thinking and western culture.

Recently, she asked me to incorporate a scene from Legally Blond into a lesson, and to create a Jeopardy game on power point. All of my students have watched "The Wizard of Oz" and understand the meaning of "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." We were auditioning MEP students for dancing and singing competition today, and one of my students belted out "Somewhere Over a Rainbow". She melted my heart.

My students will get an opportunity to read "Jungle Book", but I'm not sure I will discuss British colonialism in that context. My students are given lessons in western music, but the group America will not make the cut, as my students have so much to learn about the Beatles and the Stones. This year, I'm adding Bowie to the mix, because of his influence on music in the 80's.

Every three weeks my students must write a 5 paragraph essay, take a speaking test, take a spelling test, take a grammar test and take a reading comprehension test (my only multiple choice test, on the level of the SAT in the US).

I have been considering deeper literature for my lessons, like Shakespeare, or perhaps short stories by Kafka and Poe.

Its just too bad that only 140 students out of approximately 5,000 students will enjoy these opportunities.

I don't think you're too far off the mark. Lots of methods to expose the Thai youth to western culture. Pick your spots and make it count.

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Thanks, zappadidoodah. I think your students fall into the 5 percent category. You make a lot of good points - Jungle Book was not about colonialism, and "Tin Man" was not an epic classic rock song. I once taught "Blowin' in the Wind" to a great M4 class, and my best student, a genius who died shortly after that, said about that Dylan tune, "I think this is a church poetry!" I put that scene into my novel. :o

My friend who tutors non-Thais in international schools says her students know Wizard of Oz references, all the Disney movie classics, and easily learn Sumerian and Mayan history. Point being, that it's not just Anglo culture. Besides, only the first and last parts of Wizard of Oz happen in an Anglo culture. Oz could have been located east of Ayuttyha. Mowgli lived in the country of the Buddha. Even Dickens' Christmas Carol is not Christian, though it deals with salvation and repentance.

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Thai nationals who teach English to prathom and matayom students in state schools stress grammar rules. Most of them they teach vocabulary by sitting or standing before a very bad sound system, without giving good examples of how such words fit into sentences or paragraphs. Tests are multiple choice, incredibly poorly written. Students seldom read or write what might be loosely categorized as literature. Thai nationals in Thai administered private schools such as an MEP or an EP do little better.

There is about as much real demand for this kind of education, as there is for Akkadian linguistics or Venetian linguini. Would it be beneficial to five percent of the Thais who would eventually use real English, to teach them a wee bit of literature in the context of its culture? Would a Thai try to teach Thai language without mentioning Thai culture? Before you read Kipling's "Jungle Book," would it be helpful to explain the evils of colonial India? How is a Thai student going to understand "We're not in Kansas, Toto" or the wicked witch of the West, or America's lyrics in the pop song ("Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn't already have...")?

Then again, maybe 95% of Thai school children do not need to know one word of English.

Okay, so some of my examples are slightly off the mark, like Bolognese baloney, but I hope you get the idea. Thanks.

I'm different. I teach MEP English to M2-3 at a large government school. While the EP program is Thai administered, the administrator is very enlightened and often implements new teaching methods to erncourage student production with new vocabulary, critical thinking and western culture.

Recently, she asked me to incorporate a scene from Legally Blond into a lesson, and to create a Jeopardy game on power point. All of my students have watched "The Wizard of Oz" and understand the meaning of "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." We were auditioning MEP students for dancing and singing competition today, and one of my students belted out "Somewhere Over a Rainbow". She melted my heart.

My students will get an opportunity to read "Jungle Book", but I'm not sure I will discuss British colonialism in that context. My students are given lessons in western music, but the group America will not make the cut, as my students have so much to learn about the Beatles and the Stones. This year, I'm adding Bowie to the mix, because of his influence on music in the 80's.

Every three weeks my students must write a 5 paragraph essay, take a speaking test, take a spelling test, take a grammar test and take a reading comprehension test (my only multiple choice test, on the level of the SAT in the US).

I have been considering deeper literature for my lessons, like Shakespeare, or perhaps short stories by Kafka and Poe.

Its just too bad that only 140 students out of approximately 5,000 students will enjoy these opportunities.

I don't think you're too far off the mark. Lots of methods to expose the Thai youth to western culture. Pick your spots and make it count.

You certainly are different and so are your students by what you write. I take it they have mostly progressed from a well run EP program from Pratom 1 or earlier? Sounds fantastic to be able to converse at that level zaphodbeeblebrox!

Far from even attempting 1 page of any of the fine material mentioned, would it not be more the norm that the majority of M3+ students at most government schools are still struggling with /is/am/are?

Edited by makavelithedon

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Far from even attempting 1 page of any of the fine material mentioned, would it not be more the norm that the majority of M3+ students at most government schools are still struggling with /is/am/are?

Yes, that would be fair to say. I teach in one of the top foreign languages departments in a government school, and for M3-M6, about 1/2 the students are and will always be stuck at that elementary beginner level. Most of their Thai English teachers have given up, and just play Mr. Bean DVD's for those classes. The interesting development is that every year, all the entering M1's are coming to our school with better English skills. The average M1 is better than the average M6 in English. As bilingualism is encouraged in the childhood years, hope is on the horizon.

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...would it not be more the norm that the majority of M3+ students at most government schools are still struggling with /is/am/are?

Yes, that would be fair to say. I teach in one of the top foreign languages departments in a government school, and for M3-M6, about 1/2 the students are and will always be stuck at that elementary beginner level. Most of their Thai English teachers have given up, and just play Mr. Bean DVD's for those classes. The interesting development is that every year, all the entering M1's are coming to our school with better English skills. The average M1 is better than the average M6 in English. As bilingualism is encouraged in the childhood years, hope is on the horizon.

due to tv, advertising, music, computers, internet etc. the younger generation has a more globalized view and is better motivated to learn english. at the lowest level even i understand "him come' means "he comes". so what? do one need to blame them and make them loose their face until they stop talking? >95% of the thai students need lesser refined methods of aquiring communication skills. maybe that is the big chance for them and non-native speakers alike. i will never forget my 13 years in various schools. the majority of teachers tried hard to torture us with bone-dry details we did not like and therefore did not understand. my most valuable teacher of the english language was mick jagger just because he made me want to understand him ("i can't get no satisfaction"). not shakespeare nor kipling. "we are all different" (life of brian)!

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just two simple questions: does the 'no fail policy' not apply in your place? and what do you think about it?

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You sound like you've had one of those days Peace. My hat goes off to you that your still in the game.

Now go down to the bar and get pissed. Chin Up!

davie, if you want to communicate in private, did you ever consider sending a pm? or do you think this being of public interest?

this post is going not only 2u, but to everyone having a personal relation or concern with posters.....

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I don't mean to sound negative, but the only requirement I see in Thai state schools is a "no fail policy requirement". It does not matter if the student can't even formulate and convey a complete thought no matter how simple as long as the numbers add up to a passing grade. I have a high tolerance to stress, and can even ignore policies no matter how idiotic, but this mode of thinking really gets the best me! :o

Edited by mizzi39

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I don't mean to sound negative, but the only requirement I see in Thai state schools is a "no fail policy requirement". It does not matter if the student can't even formulate and convey a complete thought no matter how simple as long as the numbers add up to a passing grade. I have a high tolerance to stress, and can even ignore policies no matter how idiotic, but this mode of thinking really gets the best me! :o

First of all..

It is NOT Official government or MOE policy that "No student can fail". Actually, it is in the MOE guidelines that students should be held back if they can't perform at required standards...

In fact, it's the issue of "Face" for the school, to ensure their high Reputation and increased enrolement demands, better to collect the additional "FEES" required by some schools to obtain admission. yada yada

Secondly, as I recentley told the Assistant Director of my matayom (and head of the Gifted program I teach in)....

"My marks are written in pencil... I don't put them in the computer... You do... If you want to change the Zero I gave the cheating student to another mark, then it's Up-2-U... But, I'm not changing anything. It sends the wrong message to the other students in my class, and teaches the offending student and the whole class nothing. Besides, failing one test or assignment doesn't mean he fails the semester... the student still gets a 1 at Mid-Term on the 1-4 scale, due to his other work, but getting a zero now on this class work, does tell him that he must be more serious about his studies, otherwise he WILL fail on the Final."

(Background.... I'm teaching M4 & M5 Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills.... Both extemely boring and hard to present in a way that makes the average Thai student understand the course relevence and necessity to their future at university and in their working-life; especially when they are scheduled late in the afternoon after a hard day of rote learning. Add to this the low grammer and vocabulary levels of most students and you will understand the mutual frustrations involved.)

This was on Thursday... I don't yet know what was ultimately decided...

Nor do I care.

CS

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just two simple questions: does the 'no fail policy' not apply in your place? and what do you think about it?

We have a no fail policy in the regular program. I haven't yet failed a student, but my 52's and 53's have gone by without change. These students had discipline problems and should not have been in the MEP. As far as I know, I am the final arbiter on grades, but I'm not sure what the department would do with a fail, other than a retest. I have one M3 student in the 50's this year, but I'm making him act in a drama play in an extra class to get a passing grade.

I understand the need for a no fail policy, because of the sheer numbers in our school. The problem is the Thai teachers that are too lazy to force flunked students to retest, so they pass all their students.

Secondly, as I recentley told the Assistant Director of my matayom (and head of the Gifted program I teach in)....
(Background.... I'm teaching M4 & M5 Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills.... Both extemely boring and hard to present in a way that makes the average Thai student understand the course relevence and necessity to their future at university and in their working-life; especially when they are scheduled late in the afternoon after a hard day of rote learning. Add to this the low grammer and vocabulary levels of most students and you will understand the mutual frustrations involved.)

I don't understand how teaching reading comprehension and writing to "gifted" M4-5 students is difficult as the result of the low grammar and vocabulary skills of the students. I teach both of these to my MEP M3 students. Reading comprehension and essay writing can be challenging, but it's really the subject matter and teacher presentation that make it boring. Jazz it up with realia or some news stories that are interesting (I recently did a reading comprehension/writing module based on the eating competition between Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut and had lots of pics of their hot dog eating contests - the kids ate it up! :D )

BTW - I hope those are typos in your post and not spelling errors. :o

Edited by zaphodbeeblebrox

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I don't mean to sound negative, but the only requirement I see in Thai state schools is a "no fail policy requirement". It does not matter if the student can't even formulate and convey a complete thought no matter how simple as long as the numbers add up to a passing grade. I have a high tolerance to stress, and can even ignore policies no matter how idiotic, but this mode of thinking really gets the best me! :o

First of all..

It is NOT Official government or MOE policy that "No student can fail". Actually, it is in the MOE guidelines that students should be held back if they can't perform at required standards...

In fact, it's the issue of "Face" for the school, to ensure their high Reputation and increased enrolement demands, better to collect the additional "FEES" required by some schools to obtain admission. yada yada

Secondly, as I recentley told the Assistant Director of my matayom (and head of the Gifted program I teach in)....

"My marks are written in pencil... I don't put them in the computer... You do... If you want to change the Zero I gave the cheating student to another mark, then it's Up-2-U... But, I'm not changing anything. It sends the wrong message to the other students in my class, and teaches the offending student and the whole class nothing. Besides, failing one test or assignment doesn't mean he fails the semester... the student still gets a 1 at Mid-Term on the 1-4 scale, due to his other work, but getting a zero now on this class work, does tell him that he must be more serious about his studies, otherwise he WILL fail on the Final."

(Background.... I'm teaching M4 & M5 Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills.... Both extemely boring and hard to present in a way that makes the average Thai student understand the course relevence and necessity to their future at university and in their working-life; especially when they are scheduled late in the afternoon after a hard day of rote learning. Add to this the low grammer and vocabulary levels of most students and you will understand the mutual frustrations involved.)

This was on Thursday... I don't yet know what was ultimately decided...

Nor do I care.

CS

It may not a requirement, but it is the way things are run in the LOS. EP's are money makers, and it bad for business if the student isn't passing. I teach for an EP (M1-M3) at a Govt. school. Most of my Ss did very well on their midterms, but i have a very weak M3 class (M3-1, M3-2). Every S from M3-1 passed, And only half of M3-2 passed. I tried to make M3-2's midterm a little easier, since they are a little bit more "challenged". I was "asked" to retest the Ss that failed. Some I retested 3 times (same test) before they finally "passed". At 35,000 baht per term plus fees, it is not good to loose a "client" because they failed. What the MOE states which may sound politically correct isn't even close to being in sync with the way things actually are. :D

Edited by mizzi39

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