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"and each time there was a different teacher" If you stayed longer in your course you would see the same teachers over and over again. We do use rotation of teachers because with the direct method this system works best. I have 8 years of practice in using the direct method.

"the first 2 teachers I had were great; but I heard they were no longer there" Not sure who told you this, I very rarely change teachers. Whoever told you this probably does not like our school. I am also happy that you say that at least 2 teachers that you had at the beginning were great!

"I can't verify it, but there seems to be a high turnover rate there (but, like I said, I'm not sure what's up with a different teacher every time, since I don't think this is what they planned on)" It is actually planned. I don't want just one teacher teach one course as with the direct method it does not work as well as rotation. The best way is to judge by results.

"recently took a CELTA training. So, I do have some knowledge about how to teach students, including when teaching a foreign language" I am glad you did. We do not ,however, use communicative approach in teaching Thai, neither does Callan take that approach to teach English. We want results fast, we want to save time and money, for this reason we are using the direct method. It differes from CELTA. Did they teach you in the CELTA course to give your students plenty of time to think? You see, we do not believe this works as well as dynamic repetition and revision. There are many fine Thai schools in Bangkok and we have always been of the opinion that it is best to visit as many as possible and decide which one is best for ones individual needs.

Walen School - I love it!

www.thaiwalen.com

For priority service please register

www.dcs.walenschool.com/1mw290910.eng

Edited by macwalen
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Dear macwalen,

So you don't miss it, I replied to you in the 2009-05-12 15:37:44 string. Instead of replying to all that you posted, including regarding what I found positive and not so positive, I'll just say that I hope other students (current and future) at your school don't have the same experience I had.

So as to not bog down this forum with personal correspondence between you and me, if you have something else you wish to tell me, you have my number and email at your school.

I wish you and your school all the best and success.

JJ

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I am the author of Read Thai in a Day. It's a downloadable interactive e-course. It does sound a little far-fetched, doesn't it? Nevertheless, it only requires a few hours to master the Thai alphabet and the tone system if you use the visual-thinking and memory-association approach upon which the method is based. (As in "Men in Black 2", the brain does require time to "reboot" as it were. You also do need to allow time for the information to "percolate" in your brain, so the recommended method is to complete the course over two readings at least a week apart, and refresh it all a month later.) Google it for more details.

I am plugging my system because (as most Thai teachers and experienced learners will tell you) I realized that in order to learn Thai quickly and effectively, it is absolutely vital to be able to read Thai from the beginning. Walen school is right in putting emphasis on this, even though they might be going about it in the wrong way.

My advice to anybody wishing to learn Thai is to learn to read first - buy my system :D - and then sign up with a school or a teacher who will jump straight into Thai reading and listening. AUA follows an immersion approach, but I don't think it's effective on its own. Their idea is to put you in a class which is just beyond your level of comprehension, so that your mind "stretches" into the language, as it were. This is how children acquire a language. But we are no longer children and our brains function in different ways. (I'm currently doing Masters/Doctoral research on this issue, so I'm still trying to find out for sure...)

Nevertheless, AUA is dirt cheap and quite entertaining. If you choose them, my advice is to attend a class exactly at your level of understanding, so that you can simply consolidate your "ear" and really enjoy the classes - otherwise it becomes really very tiring. I know. I've done it!

You need to supplement your learning with reading and listening, again at your level of comprehension. Language learning should never be a struggle. There's enough to contend with already :)

There is an excellent thread about developing your reading skills on this site. Go look it up.

As for speaking, this is purely a muscle skill, which you have to acquire through speech training - much like learning to dance, doing yoga or karate or playing a sport. You must practice enunciating clearly with the correct tones. Not because tones actually matter all that much (surprise!) but because it is difficult for a Thai person to understand you if you mash up the words (like Thai people speaking English).

Imagine someone asking you: "How many kellógrums is that?" A little change in emphasis and we cannot even understand our own language!

At the end of the day, you should choose a school or teacher who will work through reading texts with you, speak to you lots and lots (but just at your level of understanding) and help you to understand how and why things are said/written the way they are. It is up to you to practice speaking. Pimsleur is good for this in the beginning stages. And train yourself by reading aloud every day in an exaggerated manner. Especially with key phrases and patterns such as:

ช่วยเปิดประตูให้หน่อยครับ (chuay pbeut pradtoo hai noi krab, or "please would you open the door for me")

Repeat these kinds of patterns many many times until they become muscle reflexes. This you can do in your own time.

Go to school already able to read Thai (without necessarily being able to understand but having picked up some words and phrases from street signs and shop notices) and having at least worked through the Pimsleur course, say, so that you are starting to speak clearly after a fashion.

Then you will find that your 200 hours and 30,000-odd baht will not be wasted and you will achieve a remarkable proficiency in Thai within a relatively short time.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Holy cow!

Macwalen, every post you make is like watching you put another nail in your own coffin.

There is nothing more frustrating than having the "management" attempt to put the blame back on the person making critical remarks.

Regarding the teachers. I have not been in the class and I am not able to exactly picture what it looked like but you were the only person who complained. I have spoken with both teachers and perhaps you overreacted a little. They are actually well trained. As a matter of fact I train teachers on a regular basis.

"I wasn't in the class, so I don't know what is really going on (but that won't stop me from proceeding as if I had been), but no one else complained so you must be the troublemaker and the teachers, whom I train my wonderful self regularly, make it out that YOU were the problem and were overreacting."

And then a litany of defensive posts.

I thought my years in management school were more or less exercises in common sense, but you take the cake. You should assume the student is right and make every effort to not only make things right for him, but for others who glean information from these exchanges as well.

Looking over your posts and your tenor, I wouldn't come near your school. (And you will probably reply in the vein of, "Great, we don't want a student like you anyway!")

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Mark, easy to criticize. I responded to a post and of course I will be defending my school if I believe that some statements are not true. Would you not do the same? Perhaps I am supposed to accept anything anyone writes even though what they write is not true? I don't think that would be right. Some people like us very much, others not so much, it is natural. As far as 'another nail in your own coffin' comment, things are not as bad as you might think. To the contrary we are gaining more students. School in Chiang Mai will be finished soon and who knows what next.

Regarding the student, you will be pleased to know that every effort was made to make things right. Replacement lessons were offered and encouragement given. But as he brought up some issues I addressed them, that is all. And here it comes, Walen bashing again.

I take my hat off to anyone who can please everyone. Thanks for your input anyway, good to know your opinion. When you have time come for coffee, you might like us once you get to know us.

Walen School - Powering Your Dreams

www.thaiwalen.com

For priority service please register

www.dcs.walenschool.com/1mw290910.eng

Edited by macwalen
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Get some books and get started by yourself so that you are not a complete illiterate and waste your time on basic basic stuff.

Many school text books are hit and miss and will not always give you the good practical everyday language you need to be able to get by on a day to day basis.

So, Make a short list of stuff that you absolutely want to be able to do...show this list to the teacher and make them teach you what you want and need to learn.

After you study, go out and try your horrible Thai on the locals and see how they react. If you make any mistakes you can probably get a lot of free pointers in everyday situations and Thai people will love you.

If you are unmotivated then you must know that you get exactly what you put into it. If you don't really like to or want to study then you are wasting your time. Ultimately you are your best teacher.

Also, many teachers jump from school to school throughout the week in order to make ends meet. And your feelings about the teacher are important as well. You may find the same teacher teaching at 2 different schools.

So, if you find a good teacher, which school is not so important. Many schools will offer a free trial lesson to let you see what the material is and how the teacher teaches. Ask for 1 free lesson and see what happens.

some good schools in Pattaya are:

Pro Language - across from Carrefour on Pattaya Klang Middle Road

Whalen - also across from Carrefour on Soi Yume

There is a reasonably priced school on Soi 6/1 2nd road - near the famous soi Yodsak

and PLC - near Carrefour

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I have to agree with Mark Wolfe, the attitude that was thinly veiled (and some which wasn't) in macwalens post was unbelieable. You may have a couple more students on your books and think you are doing alright, but after reading your replies, I won't be a student at walen. So thats 2 students now you don't have, how much time will you spend pondering how many more out there that scatched walen off their list - or will you just throw something back at me to defend your school at any cost.

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I have to agree with Mark Wolfe, the attitude that was thinly veiled (and some which wasn't) in macwalens post was unbelieable. You may have a couple more students on your books and think you are doing alright, but after reading your replies, I won't be a student at walen. So thats 2 students now you don't have, how much time will you spend pondering how many more out there that scatched walen off their list - or will you just throw something back at me to defend your school at any cost.

I fully agree. I cannot believe that a 'friendly' thread disccusing the relative merits of Thai language schools can be hi-jacked in this way. I looked at Walen school in Pattaya to continue my Thai learning. It was on my list - not any more.

MacWalen, the readers of the posts here are not stupid. We are quite able to read a disgruntled students post and decide for ourselves whether the tone and 'feel' of it is fair. Especially if the complaint is an isolated incident.

So do yourself a favour and go on a course that helps you deal with complaints in a positive manner. Believe me, the tone of your reply has alienated more potential students than you can imagine.

As for 'good' schools, this really depends on many factors including budget, time available, do you prefer being part of a class or individual tuition, do you prefer formal learning where you must learn the alphabet first, do you want lots of homework, do you want to take an exam, do you need a visa etc...

I spent 180 hours at the Progressive Language School in Pattaya (near the Northern Bus Station), one on one, and was very satisfied. I stopped going there as the method was unstructured. This had suited me for 180 hours, but I wanted a more formal approach for the future and I wanted to take an exam. They did not have one.

So even though I think this is a good school - its no longer any good for ME!!!

Edited by dsfbrit
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To dsfbrit, Isee, and Mark Wolfe: I read your posts with appreciation. I was discouraged by the tone in the message responses to my original post by macwalen. It was good to see others also saw the given responses as... well... certainly not student friendly nor student-centered (and I won't describe it any further than that as you all were insightful in that regard).

To macwalen: I want you to know that my original intent for posting my message about my experience at your school was simply to provide information to others so that they could make an informed choice about the school they choose. I ended up losing 9,900 baht I paid for registering at Walen. Yes, it was, in the end, my choice to stop going, but I think I delineated the reason for this clearly enough in my previous posts. The important factor for you is to realize that I stopped going because of poor teaching skills I encountered from two of your teachers; your posted responses to my posts about that experience also contributed to that decision. You lost a student (me) who would have also signed up for at least an additional 120 lessons if I had had a positive learning experience at your school.

Although I mentioned not posting anymore on this matter in an earlier post, I must chime in again to respond to somethings you stated in your 2009-06-15 21:26:17 post. You wrote:

"Perhaps I am supposed to accept anything anyone writes even though what they write is not true? I don't think that would be right. Some people like us very much, others not so much, it is natural."

Firstly:

"Not true" ? If you are referring to my post and my experience, well, that's part of the problem here. That is, it sounds like you're not accepting the fact of my experience, and are simply seeing it as something completely subjective (and delusional) on my part, or that I'm fabricating the whole thing. If this is the case, you won't see the need to get the right training for your teachers (e.g., treating students respectfully and creating an environment conducive for learning)... and that lies at the heart of the matter. If you're not referring to my post, then please disregard this part of my message.

Secondly:

"Some people like us very much, others not so much..." Yes, people will either like a school or they won't (or somewhere in between). However, just to be clear: It's important to realize that one of the major factors for "liking" or "disliking" a school is the quality of service that's provided.

To all: I'm certainly not here to "promote" Pro Language in Bangkok, but would like to reiterate that I've found it to be a good school. I've now moved into learning Thai script there and find the way it's taught to be a good one. It's methodical and logical in its progression. Yes, we did start with transliteration and some students may not want that; and some schools of thought regarding Thai learning may disagree with that. But, in the end, I find it is working for me. All the best in choosing the school that's right for you and your Thai language studies.

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I have to agree with Mark Wolfe, the attitude that was thinly veiled (and some which wasn't) in macwalens post was unbelieable. You may have a couple more students on your books and think you are doing alright, but after reading your replies, I won't be a student at walen. So thats 2 students now you don't have, how much time will you spend pondering how many more out there that scatched walen off their list - or will you just throw something back at me to defend your school at any cost.

Isse, did you read those posts and my replies carefully. It seems you did not.

Do you know they person that wrote the post, have you met him? Have you spoken to him? I have, and what i write is true, I have addressed the issues in detail. Take time and read it first please before you do some more Walen bashing.

And as far as defending my school, should I not? Would you just prefer us to be quiet and take whatever. We are actively contributing to the increased knowledge of the language as well as helping people to have comfortable stay in Thailand during their stay here.

Also take the trouble and get to know our staff and teachers first. Or do you prefer others to form your opinions?

At last this threat become more informative to potential students whether they decide to study at Walen or not.

Walen School - Powering Your Dreams!

www.thaiwalen.com

For priority service please register

www.dcs.walenschool.com/1mw290910.eng

Edited by macwalen
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I have to agree with Mark Wolfe, the attitude that was thinly veiled (and some which wasn't) in macwalens post was unbelieable. You may have a couple more students on your books and think you are doing alright, but after reading your replies, I won't be a student at walen. So thats 2 students now you don't have, how much time will you spend pondering how many more out there that scatched walen off their list - or will you just throw something back at me to defend your school at any cost.

I fully agree. I cannot believe that a 'friendly' thread disccusing the relative merits of Thai language schools can be hi-jacked in this way. I looked at Walen school in Pattaya to continue my Thai learning. It was on my list - not any more.

MacWalen, the readers of the posts here are not stupid. We are quite able to read a disgruntled students post and decide for ourselves whether the tone and 'feel' of it is fair. Especially if the complaint is an isolated incident.

So do yourself a favour and go on a course that helps you deal with complaints in a positive manner. Believe me, the tone of your reply has alienated more potential students than you can imagine.

As for 'good' schools, this really depends on many factors including budget, time available, do you prefer being part of a class or individual tuition, do you prefer formal learning where you must learn the alphabet first, do you want lots of homework, do you want to take an exam, do you need a visa etc...

I spent 180 hours at the Progressive Language School in Pattaya (near the Northern Bus Station), one on one, and was very satisfied. I stopped going there as the method was unstructured. This had suited me for 180 hours, but I wanted a more formal approach for the future and I wanted to take an exam. They did not have one.

So even though I think this is a good school - its no longer any good for ME!!!

dsfbrit, Pattaya school is a separate school, teachers are different, you will usually see a lot of students around the school, go and talk to them, get more than one opinion. This issue being discussed here happened in Bangkok and if you are a fair person and indeed read the reply you will see that the poster has thrown a lot of untrue statements with some other issues that have been addressed. You want to believe 100% of the post he has written? Please read it again and my replies.

I also have not hijacked this post. Just responded to a post that misrepresented our school in general and was not true taking under consideration all the statements of the poster. I do not believe he had a genuine intention to give information to students but rather to promote another school as he keeps doing.

Walen School of Thai - See it for yourself

www.thaiwalen.com

For priority service please register

www.dcs.walenschool.com/1mw290910.eng

Edited by macwalen
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I have to agree with Mark Wolfe, the attitude that was thinly veiled (and some which wasn't) in macwalens post was unbelieable. You may have a couple more students on your books and think you are doing alright, but after reading your replies, I won't be a student at walen. So thats 2 students now you don't have, how much time will you spend pondering how many more out there that scatched walen off their list - or will you just throw something back at me to defend your school at any cost.

I fully agree. I cannot believe that a 'friendly' thread disccusing the relative merits of Thai language schools can be hi-jacked in this way. I looked at Walen school in Pattaya to continue my Thai learning. It was on my list - not any more.

MacWalen, the readers of the posts here are not stupid. We are quite able to read a disgruntled students post and decide for ourselves whether the tone and 'feel' of it is fair. Especially if the complaint is an isolated incident.

So do yourself a favour and go on a course that helps you deal with complaints in a positive manner. Believe me, the tone of your reply has alienated more potential students than you can imagine.

As for 'good' schools, this really depends on many factors including budget, time available, do you prefer being part of a class or individual tuition, do you prefer formal learning where you must learn the alphabet first, do you want lots of homework, do you want to take an exam, do you need a visa etc...

I spent 180 hours at the Progressive Language School in Pattaya (near the Northern Bus Station), one on one, and was very satisfied. I stopped going there as the method was unstructured. This had suited me for 180 hours, but I wanted a more formal approach for the future and I wanted to take an exam. They did not have one.

So even though I think this is a good school - its no longer any good for ME!!!

dsfbrit, Pattaya school is a separate school, teachers are different, you will usually see a lot of students around the school, go and talk to them, get more than one opinion. This issue being discussed here happened in Bangkok and if you are a fair person and indeed read the reply you will see that the poster has thrown a lot of untrue statements with some other issues that have been addressed. You want to believe 100% of the post he has written? Please read it again and my replies.

I also have not hijacked this post. Just responded to a post that misrepresented our school in general and was not true taking under consideration all the statements of the poster. I do not believe he had a genuine intention to give information to students but rather to promote another school as he keeps doing.

Walen School of Thai - See it for yourself

www.thaiwalen.com

Macwalen,

Now I'm angry.... but jai yen yen as they say. For you to say that you: "Just responded to a post that misrepresented our school in general and was not true taking under consideration all the statements of the poster. I do not believe he had a genuine intention to give information to students but rather to promote another school as he keeps doing." Now that just down right ugly. Any respect I had for you is surely gone. Simply unbelievable. As I said in previous posts, your perception appeared to be that I was not telling the truth... now you've confirmed that. Again, as I also said before, because of that, you won't see the need to get the right training for your teachers which would help with the quality of your school. Also, for you to take it another step and to also say I am only trying to promote another school is doubly amazing. I'm providing information to other persons in this forum who wish to find a good school so that they don't waste their time and money, and they have the best opportunity to learn Thai. For you to call this "promoting" another school (like vs your school) and to secondly put it in an accusatory tone is incredible. That's what dsfbrit means by a "hijacked' forum. I don't know what else to say, except the same Mark Wolfe said, man, you take the cake.

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You must have forgotten your post. Please read it. As a whole it was not true. I am politely presenting a different point of view to yours. You are entitled to have your views and others theirs. I have explained what was done to address the issue of one teacher or two, most other students never complained about them, and you sir, after how many lessons, 4-6?, made a judgment on the whole school. I am sorry but I will not be able to just agree with whatever you write as I know my staff and my students much better than you do. That would mean that I agree with your assessment of our school after you barely spending a few hours there.

You have not just expressed an opinion, it was an attack on our school. That is how it felt, so there was my response. I am happy to talk about it in person when I see you next time. As you pass by our windows you see we have a lot of students, we must be doing something right, it is hard to please everyone and in your case I tried and am still trying. Your lessons are waiting for you, you will be greeted with a smile and teachers have known this issue for some time now and you as a sensitive person will be treated with extra consideration.

As a side note it is interesting that even different students judge teachers differently. For someone this teachers is great for another person not really. For this reason teachers at the Walen school rotate so you get the best out of them all. I have tested this system in Thailand for 8 years and it is still the best working system.

Walen School - The Way Forward

www.thaiwalen.com

For priority service please register

www.dcs.walenschool.com/1mw290910.eng

Edited by macwalen
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