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BANGKOK 22 April 2019 20:58
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westybrook

How Much Thai Language Do You Need?

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Hi Everyone

I was just wondering how much Thai would a newbie teacher need to be able to teach English well to Thai people?

Im sure there are some new and long serving teachers in here that could shed shome light on this matter.

Thankyou!

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None. It is a generally accepted tenet of TEFLology that most students learn faster when taught almost exclusively in the target language (the "Direct Method"). This can be true even of beginners and lower level students - learning to follow simple instructions like "Open your books at page 10", for example. Most Thai teachers attempt to teach English almost solely through the medium of the Thai language - with commensurately disastrous results.

That said, I do not personally subscribe to the theory that the teacher should avoid using the students' mother tongue at all costs. It depends on the situation and the level of the students. Sometimes it is more expedient to translate difficult lexical items, instead of attempting to "TEFL out" a 10 minute convoluted explanation which the students may not understand anyway. A brief translation can make lower level and/or weaker students feel a little more secure. Just be careful not to overdo it, as they will come to expect and depend on the translation and will then make no attempt to understand instructions or explanations in English. Also bear in mind that if they realize that you speak and understand Thai quite well, they will probably not make much effort to communicate with you in English. Basically, the less Thai you use in the classroom, the better. For students at pre-intermediate level and above, the teacher should use only the target language, IMHO.

If you will be teaching kids, there may be times when for the sake of your sanity, it is better to use a little Thai. Others on this board are probably better qualified to advise you on this than I am.

Edited by Rumpole

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Well I amapreciate your thoughts on that anyway :o

The language barrier was something I was thinking about, but it makes sense that its better to learn the way you said.

Do most teachers, go by any curiculum from the Thai Education sector?

I have no experience in teaching yet, only private teaching English to a spanish speaker. But generally do most teachers use books provided by the school, or college.

Or do you do your own investing and buy books and handouts for your classes.

Thanks for any feedback!

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Yep none is needed as Rumpole said.

Although it can help if you can speak a bit (discipline wise, and also often with the Admin side of things), but most teachers here can't IME!

Some schools tell you what you should/have to use, some don't! Some let you choose, some don't! The joys of Thailand!

Edited by kenkannif

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A friend is an excellent teacher and speaks fluent Thai but refuses to use Thai when teaching English.

So, no need from what I can gather. :o

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Most farang teachers I've heard attempt to use Thai in their classrooms have generally fallen flat on their face with students... Most of them didn't have the Thai skills they thought they had, and it's mostly embarrassing for all concerned.

Even if you can speak Thai, it's best, from a learning and classroom management standpoint, to keep to English only. Switching to another language puts the students in a different listening/learning mode, too. Using too much Thai allows the student to effectively stop using their own analytical problem solving skills because they would try to simply use Thai to communicate their point to you, and try to rely (per the norm in most Thai-led English classrooms) on you to 'feed' them English.... When Thai is used in an English classroom, learning effectively ceases.....

For absolute beginners, using both languages can often help the student to feel a bit more relaxed and open to learning. In these situations, especially with young kids, a Thai teacher might be more effective than a farang in many situations.

But an English-only classroom should always be the goal of an English teacher, I feel

Edited by Ajarn

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PS...... Make 'em laugh, they'll love you. :o

Germans don't, and don't last long teaching in LoS.

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Germans don't last long, wow I never knew that :o

Yeah if I become a teacher Ill be making them laugh, I think just by me trying to teach them will do that :D

No I know what you mean, the classroom needs to be fun and enjoyable, I remember when I was at school and I was learning French. I hated it for the sole reason it wasnt fun, and I didnt feel there was a need for us to be learning french in a English school.

Now im 24 and have matured a lot since then I know how important languages are, but I still think Spanish is more easy and more handy to have, as there are far more people that speak Spanish.

Which is why Thai people learning Englsih must be good as they know its a language that most people speak around the world, even if its in small doses (For example English is there second language) Its a language for anyone in Aisa that wants to make a good living and have a good career needs to know!

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I was an English teacher (TESOL) in Australia for over 10 years(mercifully no longer) and the only complaints i got was from German students.

They wanted more grammar and complained that I played too many games!

Like the other posters have stated you don't need to know any other language than English. You will learn the skills that are required to teach TESOL after you do your course and with teaching experience.

Good luck.

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You might want to learn how to say, "Why is it taking so long for my work permit to arrive?" in Thai.

When I taught, sometimes I could tell that the class was getting bored and/or needed a small break so I would write some word I had just learned in Thai on the board and ask them to teach me how to say it or something...it gives them a small break and lets their mind relax a bit but keeps the focus on me and on the board and on language learning. It is also good if the Thai word is in some way related to what you are teaching but I found that not to be necessary. My students seemed to appreciate that I was making an effort to learn Thai and I think they respected me more for it.

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I met this Swiss dude from Bangkok at a friends' house, he introduced himself as a Professor of english. As he was Swiss French, we spoke French then I switched to English as nobody else spoke French. He was completely lost, and couldn't follow the conversations, and the little he could speak(very basic....I have heard bargirls sound like poets compared to this guy) sounded like Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther.....Then I asked him do you speak Thai? He says yeah but he can only write it not read it... :D So I spoke Thai to him and he just nodded and avoided eye contact....Professor Clouseau teaches youngsters in Bangkok....My question is who the h3ll hires these guys??

To answer the OP, yeah I guess no Thai is needed and no English as well...... :o

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I usually never speak Thai when teaching small private classes. When I'm teaching a large class - 50 students - of young children, I'll sometimes give directions in both English and Thai, especially for the kids who are especially clueless. I try to keep it to a minimum though. A friend of mine took over a class from a teacher who spoke fluent Thai and found that the students couldn't understand English at all!

You WILL find speaking Thai to be very useful OUTSIDE the classroom though! :o

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None. It is a generally accepted tenet of TEFLology that most students learn faster when taught almost exclusively in the target language (the "Direct Method"). This can be true even of beginners and lower level students - learning to follow simple instructions like "Open your books at page 10", for example. Most Thai teachers attempt to teach English almost solely through the medium of the Thai language - with commensurately disastrous results.

That said, I do not personally subscribe to the theory that the teacher should avoid using the students' mother tongue at all costs. It depends on the situation and the level of the students. Sometimes it is more expedient to translate difficult lexical items, instead of attempting to "TEFL out" a 10 minute convoluted explanation which the students may not understand anyway. A brief translation can make lower level and/or weaker students feel a little more secure. Just be careful not to overdo it, as they will come to expect and depend on the translation and will then make no attempt to understand instructions or explanations in English. Also bear in mind that if they realize that you speak and understand Thai quite well, they will probably not make much effort to communicate with you in English. Basically, the less Thai you use in the classroom, the better. For students at pre-intermediate level and above, the teacher should use only the target language, IMHO.

If you will be teaching kids, there may be times when for the sake of your sanity, it is better to use a little Thai. Others on this board are probably better qualified to advise you on this than I am.

Very well put Rumnpoole.
To answer the OP, yeah I guess no Thai is needed and no English as well......

Very true for some schools

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