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Phuket Schools Relax Rules For Hiring English Teachers


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I did a TESOL course some time ago and remember thinking that there would be no way to get a good score if I wasn't a native speaker.

Sorry but I have worked with dozens of non-natives who got excellent scores on the CELTA and TRINITY. Certainly none of them were Thais though, and many of them also had teaching qualifications from their respective countries and several years experience, in addition to impeccable English.

Nothing to be sorry about. Maybe I should have said that the grammar section of the course was a bit over the top from what I expected.

Many native English speakers don't particularly like reviewing English grammar in such detail ( I was having flash backs to the 6th grade - not happy ones - but still funny now).

I can't imagine what it would be like for a non Native speaker.

Non-natives who are proficient in the language are usually much better at explaining grammatical concepts to students simply because they had to actually learn how to use them correctly themselves. This is particularly true of trained non-native teachers of the language (I'm not talking Thais here - I mean REAL teachers) whose training courses often include a substantial grammar component - sometimes to the exclusion of almost anything else.

Native speakers use the language intuitively, and although they can often come up with the correct format immediately for structures which may give a non-native pause for thought, explaining the whyand how is usually a different matter entirely. The grammar taught to native speakers of a language in school (if they are actually taught any at all) is often not in itself sufficient for foreign language acquisition. It was only when I started to study Latin and French that I encountered terms and concepts such as tenses, syntax, conditionals, infinitives, et al. They were certainly never taught in English classes.

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Burma was an English colony.

Oh dear, I do dislike pedants but that's the hat I'm wearing right now - Burma was a BRITISH colony, not an English one. By saying it was an English colony, you take away all the credit due to the Scots (in particular) who were equal partners in the British Empire, for good or ill.

Apologies for deviating from the topic.

Edited by MartinL
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For some reason, I don't think 3 years, 1 month, and 2 and a bit weeks is long enough to solve the English language problems!

You reap what you sow. This ASEAN AEC is going to cause big problems for Thailand.

Thailand does not offer attractive salaries for good foreign Teachers. Full stop.

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I did a TESOL course some time ago and remember thinking that there would be no way to get a good score if I wasn't a native speaker.

Sorry but I have worked with dozens of non-natives who got excellent scores on the CELTA and TRINITY. Certainly none of them were Thais though, and many of them also had teaching qualifications from their respective countries and several years experience, in addition to impeccable English.

Nothing to be sorry about. Maybe I should have said that the grammar section of the course was a bit over the top from what I expected.

Many native English speakers don't particularly like reviewing English grammar in such detail ( I was having flash backs to the 6th grade - not happy ones - but still funny now).

I can't imagine what it would be like for a non Native speaker.

Non-natives who are proficient in the language are usually much better at explaining grammatical concepts to students simply because they had to actually learn how to use them correctly themselves. This is particularly true of trained non-native teachers of the language (I'm not talking Thais here - I mean REAL teachers) whose training courses often include a substantial grammar component - sometimes to the exclusion of almost anything else.

Native speakers use the language intuitively, and although they can often come up with the correct format immediately for structures which may give a non-native pause for thought, explaining the whyand how is usually a different matter entirely. The grammar taught to native speakers of a language in school (if they are actually taught any at all) is often not in itself sufficient for foreign language acquisition. It was only when I started to study Latin and French that I encountered terms and concepts such as tenses, syntax, conditionals, infinitives, et al. They were certainly never taught in English classes.

Exactly. I am a native English speaker, have a Doctorate and am a published author. I also would probably not be able to identify a verb in a sentence correctly three times out of four. Luckily for me, I do not have to.

I suppose the point is that being able to speak (and write) a language does not give me the native ability to teach that language, and I have met Thais who have a far, far greater understanding of the mechanics and grammar of the language than I have.

From my observations, one of the problems is that Thais see foreign teachers as a "one size fits all" option, whereas I think there are different types of "teachers":

1. Teachers: Those who have the ability to teach a subject (or subjects) in the English language. An example of this would be some one who could teach say physics, maths, history or other subject in English.

2. Teachers of English: Those who have the proper training to formally teach the language (grammar, structure and usage)

3. Native speakers: those without formal qualifications and training, but native ability.

Classes 2 and 3 could usefully be employed in school together, with the predominantly grammar teaching being done by 2, but extensive practice done by 3. Easy to imagine a lesson by a teacher in category 2 teaching about the past tense (rules, constructs) and a teacher in category 3 then doing speaking or writing practice on the past tense: "What did you do yesterday?"

Category three would be ideal for those mentioned in the thread (retirees, backpackers etc), with salary reflecting the experience of the teacher. Schools could then optimize payment, with higher salaries to the formal teachers, and lower to the language "tutors". It seems that there is a large pool of people who would happily work a few hours a week doing this last category of teaching. It would also get rid of the apparently ridiculous req,uirement of the teaching licence which is trying to make (in many cases) a silk purse out of a sows ear.

Of course, the truth is, this would require not only a re-working of the education system, but also drastic changes in the rules governing work permits and visas as as such is not ever going to happen.

( and if anyone wishes to pick apart the language in my post, really, don't bother. That is why God made Editors and proofreaders, - to save people like me....)

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There was an article in the "other" paper sometime last year, don't remember exactly, in which the Education Minister proposed bringing in something like1,000 or more qualified Native English Teachers, and paying them a salary of 80-100k a month. That idea died before the ink on the newspaper had even dried.

A little over 2 years ago I was asked by the head of the English Dept of a well known school here in Chiang Mai to join their staff as an English Teacher. I have a B.A. in English Composition & Creative writing. I told him I would like to observe for a week first before giving him a decision.

On Monday, my first day, the teacher gave the students a tests. These students are in the 12-13 year old age bracket. The test took up the entire class period, so I talked to her about teaching and how things were done there, and the more I heard, the less I liked. The next day the teacher announced to each student what their grade was, but did not return their papers. When I asked why, she informed me that "We don't do that." I asked how they were supposed to know what they got wrong so they wouldn't make the same mistake the next time and she merely shrugged and said: "Not my problem."

After that class I went to talk to the head of the English Department and told him about it. He also just shrugged and told me that is the way they school said they have to do it. He doesn't agree with it either, but that's the way it is.

That's all it took for me to make my decision.

If Thailand cannot overcome their "superiority" attitude, and fear of "loss of face" by asking a foreigner to help, and are willing to pay for it, they are never going to get good, qualified English Teachers here. And if they think the "loss of face" would be bad now, wait a few years and see what happens in the AEC when Thailand finds themselves "sucking hind tit" because of their lack of English skills. I could be wrong on this, but I read somewhere that even the current Foreign Minister cannot speak English!

som nom na!

The foreign minister's job is very specific. He has to get visas for Thaksin and reissue his ordinary and diplomatic Thai passports as quickly as possible. His linguistic skills might be rather basic but being Thaksin's first cousin more than qualifies him for the job.

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Sorry but I have worked with dozens of non-natives who got excellent scores on the CELTA and TRINITY. Certainly none of them were Thais though, and many of them also had teaching qualifications from their respective countries and several years experience, in addition to impeccable English.

Nothing to be sorry about. Maybe I should have said that the grammar section of the course was a bit over the top from what I expected.

Many native English speakers don't particularly like reviewing English grammar in such detail ( I was having flash backs to the 6th grade - not happy ones - but still funny now).

I can't imagine what it would be like for a non Native speaker.

Non-natives who are proficient in the language are usually much better at explaining grammatical concepts to students simply because they had to actually learn how to use them correctly themselves. This is particularly true of trained non-native teachers of the language (I'm not talking Thais here - I mean REAL teachers) whose training courses often include a substantial grammar component - sometimes to the exclusion of almost anything else.

Native speakers use the language intuitively, and although they can often come up with the correct format immediately for structures which may give a non-native pause for thought, explaining the whyand how is usually a different matter entirely. The grammar taught to native speakers of a language in school (if they are actually taught any at all) is often not in itself sufficient for foreign language acquisition. It was only when I started to study Latin and French that I encountered terms and concepts such as tenses, syntax, conditionals, infinitives, et al. They were certainly never taught in English classes.

Exactly. I am a native English speaker, have a Doctorate and am a published author. I also would probably not be able to identify a verb in a sentence correctly three times out of four. Luckily for me, I do not have to.

I suppose the point is that being able to speak (and write) a language does not give me the native ability to teach that language, and I have met Thais who have a far, far greater understanding of the mechanics and grammar of the language than I have.

From my observations, one of the problems is that Thais see foreign teachers as a "one size fits all" option, whereas I think there are different types of "teachers":

1. Teachers: Those who have the ability to teach a subject (or subjects) in the English language. An example of this would be some one who could teach say physics, maths, history or other subject in English.

2. Teachers of English: Those who have the proper training to formally teach the language (grammar, structure and usage)

3. Native speakers: those without formal qualifications and training, but native ability.

Classes 2 and 3 could usefully be employed in school together, with the predominantly grammar teaching being done by 2, but extensive practice done by 3. Easy to imagine a lesson by a teacher in category 2 teaching about the past tense (rules, constructs) and a teacher in category 3 then doing speaking or writing practice on the past tense: "What did you do yesterday?"

Category three would be ideal for those mentioned in the thread (retirees, backpackers etc), with salary reflecting the experience of the teacher. Schools could then optimize payment, with higher salaries to the formal teachers, and lower to the language "tutors". It seems that there is a large pool of people who would happily work a few hours a week doing this last category of teaching. It would also get rid of the apparently ridiculous req,uirement of the teaching licence which is trying to make (in many cases) a silk purse out of a sows ear.

Of course, the truth is, this would require not only a re-working of the education system, but also drastic changes in the rules governing work permits and visas as as such is not ever going to happen.

( and if anyone wishes to pick apart the language in my post, really, don't bother. That is why God made Editors and proofreaders, - to save people like me....)

I've no wish to pick apart your own language, grammar or otherwise.. however, if your understanding of the 'mechanics' of English language is a bad as you say then how do you know that the Thais you met have so much of a better comprehension and grasp of it? The teachers at my school don't have a great grasp of the fundamentals, I know, but not one of them has ever admitted openly such, except to ask very occasionally if I 'could just help with this'. Actually they sometimes have papers written either for themselves, as occasional tests, or which they intend to pass on to the students, and either way, the grammar, even from those 'higher educators' who made the paper in the first place is far from good, and the teachers often have no clear idea what could be the correct option to choose (usually multi-choice) especially when the question or sentence itself is already incorrectly constructed. :wai:

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Not sure if anyone's got to the point - I read three pages and got bored - but have you considered that the reason native English speakers don't want to teach in Phuket is because, regardless of all the "teaching specific" issues, Phuket is a sh!te hole?! End of.

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For some reason, I don't think 3 years, 1 month, and 2 and a bit weeks is long enough to solve the English language problems!

You reap what you sow. This ASEAN AEC is going to cause big problems for Thailand.

I have to admit this is the first time I have heard about this? Can you just expand a little bit

on how this would impact on Thailand?

If it is as bad as some people are saying in this thread maybe young Cambodian's will end up being far ahead

of the young Thai's? I have always found on my trips to Cambodia

the young people there seem far more anxious to learn English than the Thai's

and will even do so at their own volition and put up with the most unbelievably hard conditions

in their employment just be able to pay their own way for English tuition.

Edited by khaan
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I have taught English and feel that native English speakers are important if the Thais want to be understood when they speak English. Most of my Thai colleagues in school teaching English, although their grammar was proficient, were difficult to understand because of their poor pronunciation and they were passing this onto their students. They also had no knowledge of idiomatic English which is what most of us use on a day to day basis. The more interaction students have with native English speakers the better will be their real understanding but these schools will have to pay a realistic premium for that extra knowledge of the farang teacher.

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Not sure if anyone's got to the point - I read three pages and got bored - but have you considered that the reason native English speakers don't want to teach in Phuket is because, regardless of all the "teaching specific" issues, Phuket is a sh!te hole?! End of.

Considering the amount of foreigners living here your reasoning is flawed.

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Burma was an English colony.

It has millions of English speakers train by the British (the real McCoy).

Why not just hire Burmese English Teachers. Cheap and good.

"English colony" and here was me thinking all along that they were a former British colony!

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FWIW, on Yesterday, 09.53, said: " .... seems that there is a large pool of people who would happily work a few hours a week doing this last category of teaching .... "

I guess I'd fall into that category - retired (albeit early), engineering degree holder, settled with my family locally, have spare time and would like to give a few hours a week in coaching INTERESTED students in English conversation, based on their lesson work given by proper teachers. I've been approached by a number of local schools to teach English (although my preference would be maths & science, if anything) but I couldn't face a full day, 5 days a week at school with pupils who, from my own observations during school visits, largely aren't interested in anything but their phones. But the schools have insisted it's a full day, lesson plan preparation, the works and I'm not prepared or trained to do that. Salary wasn't a real consideration. So that means the schools are missing-out on a cheap/free "teacher" simply because of their inflexibility. Silly, because they're crying out for English teachers here (central Isaan).

Just1Voice, on Yesterday, 16:21, said: " .... the teacher announced to each student what their grade was, but did not return their papers .... "

My niece wanted help with her English work and I asked to see her textbooks, notebook, worksheets etc. so that I had an idea of where she was and could take it from there. No, there were no textbooks, she had no written notes and she told me that all written work was done on worksheets that were handed to the teacher at the end of every lesson, never to be seen again & with no feedback. After maybe 5 years of English tuition, her English is deplorable yet she's a bright girl. I asked her age and she had to sit & count on her fingers to arrive at an answer which, even then, was wrong. When I learnt French & German at school, numbers/counting was a basic skill that was mastered in a very short time. I try to help her now, informally, but don't know whether or not I'm conflicting with her school work or really helping her in any tangible way. While my intuitive English grammar is good, I couldn't sit down and make a list of English language technicalities and, to be honest, don't want to even if it means I can help someone I'm fond of. To do it properly would take many, many hours of research and I think it'd drive me nuts.

Edited by MartinL
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i can understand the problems _ here in thailand i can take a tefel course at a cost of just over £800 in bangkok---supposed to then be garanteed a job paying 35,000 baht per month with an additional 5,000 baht towards housing costs.....back home in the uk same course £425? almost twice as much here in thailand just to take a course...

majority of the teachers here are american and cannot speak correct english---eg rubbish/garbage sauce/jelly food/groceries the list goes on and on,.

i have no tefel qualifications but could still teach better than the majority of these teachers................so if a school here in buriram is looking for a english speaker then you can send myself a reply to my e-mail box

Edited by LivinginKata
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Hi, I'm a highly qualified teacher, currently working at Singapore American School, and looking to transfer to Thailand. I'm interested in hearing more about this position..

If you're a qualified teacher why on earth would you be looking at 30,000thb a month job? Bottom of the rung teacher with full teaching degree starts at 80,000thb a month here in Phuket at one of the the International Schools. There are several here: Phuket International Day Academy, British International School, Quality International School (huge franchise) and Headstart IS. There are heaps of International Schools all over Thailand.

You won't get people with a Bachelor of Education or Grad Dip in Education at such low wages. Maybe TEFL or TESOL people, but even they are getting sick of being exploited and ripped off by dodgy companies that make all these promises and then take your passport and don't pay you.

I see these salary numbers thrown around left and right in here but I have never seen these job announced.

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I have taught English and feel that native English speakers are important if the Thais want to be understood when they speak English. Most of my Thai colleagues in school teaching English, although their grammar was proficient, were difficult to understand because of their poor pronunciation and they were passing this onto their students. They also had no knowledge of idiomatic English which is what most of us use on a day to day basis. The more interaction students have with native English speakers the better will be their real understanding but these schools will have to pay a realistic premium for that extra knowledge of the farang teacher.

In theory that sounds great, but that's not the way it works.

Edited by Markaew
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i can understand the problems _ here in thailand i can take a tefel course at a cost of just over £800 in bangkok---supposed to then be garanteed a job paying 35,000 baht per month with an additional 5,000 baht towards housing costs.....back home in the uk same course £425? almost twice as much here in thailand just to take a course...

majority of the teachers here are american and cannot speak correct english---eg rubbish/garbage sauce/jelly food/groceries the list goes on and on,.

i have no tefel qualifications but could still teach better than the majority of these teachers................so if a school here in buriram is looking for a english speaker then you can send myself a reply to my e-mail box

Nice try troll.

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"Just hiring native English speakers is not really worth it because these people do not have teaching skills."

Well Mr. Jian, I guess you can hire native Thai English majors...but wait: Just hiring native Thai English majors is not really worth it because these people do not have speaking or writing skills! And their understanding of English grammar terms might be better than mine, but most can't use proper grammar in a spoken or written sentence. I speak from three years of experience that included teaching native Thai English teachers who taught in primary and secondary Thai government schools.

Personally I think Mr. Jian (and others like him) should use a narrower brush to paint this picture -- because it borders on xenophobia...as usual. It may take a few months for a "green" native English speaker (with a 120 hour TESOL) to gain enough teaching experience to become an effective English language teacher. However, it takes years for the average native speaking Thai to gain adequate fluency in English to become an effective English language teacher.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Please chew on that for awhile Mr. Jian. Then you wonder why you only have 50% of the teachers that you need.

I'm sure the next thing we'll hear out of Mr. Jian's office is that teacher over 35 years of age are not really worth it because these people no longer have teaching skills. If it's not xenophobia, it's age discrimination. :rolleyes:

Well, so much for my opinion -- now here's Somchai with the weather!

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There was an article in the "other" paper sometime last year, don't remember exactly, in which the Education Minister proposed bringing in something like1,000 or more qualified Native English Teachers, and paying them a salary of 80-100k a month. That idea died before the ink on the newspaper had even dried.

A little over 2 years ago I was asked by the head of the English Dept of a well known school here in Chiang Mai to join their staff as an English Teacher. I have a B.A. in English Composition & Creative writing. I told him I would like to observe for a week first before giving him a decision.

On Monday, my first day, the teacher gave the students a tests. These students are in the 12-13 year old age bracket. The test took up the entire class period, so I talked to her about teaching and how things were done there, and the more I heard, the less I liked. The next day the teacher announced to each student what their grade was, but did not return their papers. When I asked why, she informed me that "We don't do that." I asked how they were supposed to know what they got wrong so they wouldn't make the same mistake the next time and she merely shrugged and said: "Not my problem."

After that class I went to talk to the head of the English Department and told him about it. He also just shrugged and told me that is the way they school said they have to do it. He doesn't agree with it either, but that's the way it is.

That's all it took for me to make my decision.

If Thailand cannot overcome their "superiority" attitude, and fear of "loss of face" by asking a foreigner to help, and are willing to pay for it, they are never going to get good, qualified English Teachers here. And if they think the "loss of face" would be bad now, wait a few years and see what happens in the AEC when Thailand finds themselves "sucking hind tit" because of their lack of English skills. I could be wrong on this, but I read somewhere that even the current Foreign Minister cannot speak English!

som nom na!

Exactly! +1

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Great, we'll therefore see yet another bunch of cheap "English teachers" with no real teaching accreditation and who will not care about teaching properly (just have fun, fun, fun). Yeay.

Sorry but i do not agree that all non qualified teachers do not care, i am not qualified and would love to teach english to primary school kids, but how do i apply if i do not have formal qualifications?

Then you can't teach. Why the average English-speaking Joe, despite his best will, would be allowed to teach English without a certification? Teaching is no small feat and is a job like any other.

I will disagree - I am degreed - not certified, but I have taught many different subjects all my life...

Teaching is like any other job, the most important thing is attitude.

Every country has people called teachers, who have all the necessay qualifications, but still can't teach...

Thailand is famous for instilling class discipline and rote reptition, neither of which helps a student learn anything.

Such a system ensures that students here are readily bored, because they have become locked into robotic repetition, instad of thinking for themselves.

Discipline for studies and a pleasant atmosphere is much more conducive to learning...

As mentioned earlier, I would be happy to teach, but my Visa doesn't allow it.

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Great, we'll therefore see yet another bunch of cheap "English teachers" with no real teaching accreditation and who will not care about teaching properly (just have fun, fun, fun). Yeay.

Sorry but i do not agree that all non qualified teachers do not care, i am not qualified and would love to teach english to primary school kids, but how do i apply if i do not have formal qualifications?

Then you can't teach. Why the average English-speaking Joe, despite his best will, would be allowed to teach English without a certification? Teaching is no small feat and is a job like any other.

I will disagree - I am degreed - not certified, but I have taught many different subjects all my life...

Teaching is like any other job, the most important thing is attitude.

Every country has people called teachers, who have all the necessay qualifications, but still can't teach...

Thailand is famous for instilling class discipline and rote reptition, neither of which helps a student learn anything.

Such a system ensures that students here are readily bored, because they have become locked into robotic repetition, instad of thinking for themselves.

Discipline for studies and a pleasant atmosphere is much more conducive to learning...

As mentioned earlier, I would be happy to teach, but my Visa doesn't allow it.

Sounds just like the system I was educated under in a western country. All my teachers were degree holders and teacher trained, yet I learned nothing from any of them. Despite that I went on to be a qualified mechanic and later a registered nurse. It's probably more about the willingless of students to learn rather than the ability of their teachers.

Unfortunately, Thai children seem spectacularly uninterested in becoming educated, and I say that from experience. Boys especially seem more interested in playing computer games than learning anything.

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It seems that there is a couple of problems, the schools only pay "lip service" to quality teaching ie thai teachers teaching grammar don't co-operate with the "conversation" teacher, examinations by making a mark on a score sheet and no post mortem of results show the students that the teachers don't really care, farang teachers pupil scores are meaningless as they generally end in the bin and to top it off the farang teachers salary is usually paid for by the parents, not the school, with the school taking their cut of the donations!

All this heart wrenching wail about not making the "level" is just self justifing w_nk!

I've been there, and painfully gave it up as a lost cause after 12 years! :jap:

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The most useful move that the education system could make would be to Romanise the Thai alphabet, this is the biggest obstacle to learning English, and conversely for foreigners learning Thai. Just look at how Turkey emerged from the Middle Ages when it converted from Arabic to Roman.

As to unqualified but native speakers, these can do an adequate job if the department also contains enough qualified and experienced teachers to provide guidance. At the moment it is often the one eyed leading the blind.

I'm not a fan of the romanization at all. Even though it occurred for several south-east asian languages (Vietnamese and Malay come to mind), I believe it permanently alters and distort the language. It also smells vaguely colonial...

At least, Thais are fortunate enough to have an alphabet, unlike Chinese.

I find "it's vaguely colonial" a rather weak argument, then again, to be fair, so is the notion that the language reform in Turkey was the particular catalyst that brought about rapid modernization - in fact the language reform was only one small part of a much broader policy attempting to modernize the country - correlation does not equal causation.

Could you be more specific about how Vietnamese and Malay have been permanently distorted and altered since adopting Roman letters, please? Language change is an ever-occurring phenomenon and the chief reason (apart from group identification) why there are different languages in the first place. The nature of change reflects the environment the language and people navigate in - hence Thai has a huge number of English loan words (many of which do not sound the same as in English, nor mean the same thing) that occur spontaneously, a large scientific vocabulary that is mostly Indic-based, mostly introduced by decree, and a language seen as more sophisticated which mostly consists of Khmer loan words.

The Thai alphabet is very beautiful and serves its purpose reasonably well, but there are a number of niggles. It uses a system that is unnecessarily involved for conveying one and the same tone. Having several letters to represent the same sound is also a hurdle to spelling (let's not get into the inconsistencies of spelling in European languages, especially English, here - I am aware of them, but there are many European languages that are not burdened with those problems - Italian, Spanish, Finnish, etc.).

Malay was written with Arabic letters before, and that writing system was not specifically designed for conveying Malay either... And if you want to go far enough back, the Thai writing system builds upon the Indic scripts, which were originally designed for non-tonal languages very different from the local language here. These things do change over time, it is natural and it makes life easier for people. Nostalgia and nationalism are also fairly natural, I suppose, but they tend to lose.

Thai texts require slightly more effort to read than a text written with Roman letters because of punctuation rules. Of course, for an educated native speaker, most words will be known beforehand, but for less educated Thais and for those learning it as a second language, a simple reform like introducing spaces between words would help a lot. I've learned to read Thai quite well, but this is a hurdle for advanced texts that really does not need to be there. Also, the tone formation rules needlessly complex, and could be made easier by reform.

Pinyin for writing Mandarin really is a great system and Thailand would not suffer at all from introducing a similar standard and actually implementing and following it.

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The most useful move that the education system could make would be to Romanise the Thai alphabet, this is the biggest obstacle to learning English, and conversely for foreigners learning Thai. Just look at how Turkey emerged from the Middle Ages when it converted from Arabic to Roman.

As to unqualified but native speakers, these can do an adequate job if the department also contains enough qualified and experienced teachers to provide guidance. At the moment it is often the one eyed leading the blind.

I'm not a fan of the romanization at all. Even though it occurred for several south-east asian languages (Vietnamese and Malay come to mind), I believe it permanently alters and distort the language. It also smells vaguely colonial...

At least, Thais are fortunate enough to have an alphabet, unlike Chinese.

I find "it's vaguely colonial" a rather weak argument, then again, to be fair, so is the notion that the language reform in Turkey was the particular catalyst that brought about rapid modernization - in fact the language reform was only one small part of a much broader policy attempting to modernize the country - correlation does not equal causation.

Could you be more specific about how Vietnamese and Malay have been permanently distorted and altered since adopting Roman letters, please? Language change is an ever-occurring phenomenon and the chief reason (apart from group identification) why there are different languages in the first place. The nature of change reflects the environment the language and people navigate in - hence Thai has a huge number of English loan words (many of which do not sound the same as in English, nor mean the same thing) that occur spontaneously, a large scientific vocabulary that is mostly Indic-based, mostly introduced by decree, and a language seen as more sophisticated which mostly consists of Khmer loan words.

The Thai alphabet is very beautiful and serves its purpose reasonably well, but there are a number of niggles. It uses a system that is unnecessarily involved for conveying one and the same tone. Having several letters to represent the same sound is also a hurdle to spelling (let's not get into the inconsistencies of spelling in European languages, especially English, here - I am aware of them, but there are many European languages that are not burdened with those problems - Italian, Spanish, Finnish, etc.).

Malay was written with Arabic letters before, and that writing system was not specifically designed for conveying Malay either... And if you want to go far enough back, the Thai writing system builds upon the Indic scripts, which were originally designed for non-tonal languages very different from the local language here. These things do change over time, it is natural and it makes life easier for people. Nostalgia and nationalism are also fairly natural, I suppose, but they tend to lose.

Thai texts require slightly more effort to read than a text written with Roman letters because of punctuation rules. Of course, for an educated native speaker, most words will be known beforehand, but for less educated Thais and for those learning it as a second language, a simple reform like introducing spaces between words would help a lot. I've learned to read Thai quite well, but this is a hurdle for advanced texts that really does not need to be there. Also, the tone formation rules needlessly complex, and could be made easier by reform.

Pinyin for writing Mandarin really is a great system and Thailand would not suffer at all from introducing a similar standard and actually implementing and following it.

Now here's the funny thing, I educate people in NZ from asian countries about english, sure we do not practice to TESOL standards, most of my work involves pronounciation (conversational english - after all if they cannot hold a intelligable conversation, the whole thing becomes a waste of time), as I feel most of the english requirements are at a too high level for most native speakers to get right.

I would love to educate in Thailand, and teach if I really had to, beware however I only have a masters degree in computer science and did do a couple of pedagogy papers to get a grasp of educating.

My 5 Bahts worth :P

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For most teachers who are qualified and have chosen this work as a career, not as a way of making money while traveling or as a way of scraping by in Thailand, THB60,000 a month just isn't going to cut it. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Agree, I take home well over 100,000 and many teachers at my school complain that the pay isn't near what it should be!

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How about offering a better salary to those who are qualified instead of the same ole unattractive, low wage standard thats been going on for years...."you get what you pay for!"

That's one of the big problems. Typically the Thai government would pay 17,580 baht per month plus an 8,000 baht per month housing allowance. That's only 25,580 aht per month. How are you going to live on this? This was a common practice all through the mid-90's up until early 02. It did not keep up with inflation forcing many teachers to take on part time teaching or private groups which is technically illegal unless it is through their employer. Private schools know this and have paid their teachers a higher wage although not great. Thus, more teachers opt for the private schools and shun the government schools.

Anyone know what the current government teaching wage is?

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The most useful move that the education system could make would be to Romanise the Thai alphabet, this is the biggest obstacle to learning English, and conversely for foreigners learning Thai. Just look at how Turkey emerged from the Middle Ages when it converted from Arabic to Roman.

Like Vietnamese or Malay.

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For some reason, I don't think 3 years, 1 month, and 2 and a bit weeks is long enough to solve the English language problems!

You reap what you sow. This ASEAN AEC is going to cause big problems for Thailand.

This may shed so light on the problem with (OrBorJor) or provincially run schools.

(First I will say the school I was allocated to by the province was lovely the director was great so were the staff and most of the teachers.)

6 teachers were employed by a North Eastern Province last May recruited by the head of English at a well know school for the province, we were promised 30K baht + 3K accommodation, 12 month contract renewable. Visa and work permit paid for.

Ok after a month we were asking when do we do the visas, when are we signing the contract?

6 weeks later we were all asked to sign the contract at a sports day cameras there etc.

The contract 3 months, 24K visa and work permit we had to pay for.

One guy went on a visa run for his B visa was refused by the consulate and he had to pay for this a second went again refused.

The schools said could they do it as the teachers who were old hands knew what was needed; the schools were refused by the province as it was there job. (But were totally useless at it)

Now a neighboring province in the North East is trying the same thing.

Paul.

Typical Thai mentality. Advertise one thing and then eventually ofer something else. Bait & Switch??

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Burma was an English colony.

It has millions of English speakers train by the British (the real McCoy).

Why not just hire Burmese English Teachers. Cheap and good.

I agreee, but..........the way the Thais look at the Burmese it would be a huge "loss of face" to hire someone they think of as being inferior to them.

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A lot of this has to do with the wages. I know a guy that teaches at Uni level and get less than 30K a month. But a lot of it has to do with location... we have an ELS and we're offering 60K a month... but when you say it's in Surin they're not interested. Still needing two TESOL teachers...

Hi, I'm a highly qualified teacher, currently working at Singapore American School, and looking to transfer to Thailand. I'm interested in hearing more about this position..

If I were you I'd try ISB.

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