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We are beginning to agree more and more. Motivation and attitude are the most important factors in learning a language (etc.), - well - for that matter - the most important factors in everything in your life. Therefore an individual (Walen) telling you - you are just getting too old and therefore your ability to learn is limited - is just totally "off his rockers".

I also agree there are patterns in learning. An individual able to speak 6-8 languages does not have to "relearn" every time. This individual has "mastered his brain software program" and can use it for different applications (languages).

Repetition - repetition - repetition is just one part of the learning process. However I feel (as a scientist) this "learning process" can be defined into specific segments and therefore can be optimized.

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An individual able to speak 6-8 languages does not have to "relearn" every time. This individual has "mastered his brain software program" and can use it for different applications (languages).

Repetition - repetition - repetition is just one part of the learning process. However I feel (as a scientist) this "learning process" can be defined into specific segments and therefore can be optimized.

Yes, I have seen research evidence that supports the view that students in bilingual schools are more successful at academic English than students in monolingual English schools, suggesting that learning one language can help you to learn another.

As for the naturalistic approach to optimizing language learning, I'm sceptical simply because the variables are so great. However, you could be right, but I think you may have to be the one to pioneer the study, Parvis!

:)

Edited by SoftWater
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  • 4 weeks later...
While I know nothing of the AUA branch in Chiang Mai, I can attest to the fact that the AUA school in Bangkok is initially a listening ONLY type of school.

It uses the "ALG" aka "Automatic Language Growth" method when learning thai. While I did research into the methodology, I was less than impressed. The innovators of the ALG system allege that after 600 hours of listening to two thai people interact on a stage using a variety of props, you will magically be able to converse in thai to thais. This is done with ZERO student interaction, no question/answers in class and not actually speaking ANY thai at all in the classroom. A dubious claim at best, but with that being said, I did meet several people who had attended 300+ hours and could speak some sort of semi-intelligible thai. Although upon further questioning; they were also learning thai with other resources.

To their credit the teachers or "actors" at AUA are innovative, interesting, theatrical and being thai nationals, speak clear thai. They tend to speak at normal speed and cadence so it's hard to hear the word breaks if you're not used to listening to thais speak. On the up side, if you buy blocks of hours, it's by far the most inexpensive thai language school to attend. The classes are offered many, many hours a day, and you can go at your convenience.

If I am not mistaken, AUA is one of the hardest schools to get an education visa from. Last time I was there they said you must attend class 30 hours a week to qualify for them to help you get your visa. Most private thai language schools stick to the Ministry of Education's minimum of 4 hours a week spread over a year to get a visa.

AUA does have a reading and writing course, but you must test into if you don't attend their whacky "learn to speak by listening only" class before hand. I spoke to the lady who oversees enrollment and it appears the test is such that even a marginal reader of thai, and/or a very basic speaker could probably get into the class if they pushed it, and were motivated to learn once they got in.

The good news is AUA sells all the old text books that they used (before they converted to the ALG method) to teach speaking, reading and writing thai at the bookstore. I couldn't get the cassettes that go with the speaking thai books (that shows you how old the material and method is) as they are all out of stock. Maybe bit-torrent has them I dunno.

...

As a former AUA student for whom the experience was wildly boring, there are a few mistaken impressions I should clear up.

While, as I said, I couldn't tolerate the endless hours of listening to stories, it is NOT true that there is no student interaction. While "Please don't speak Thai" is the stated theoretical optimum (per Marvin Brown, and, especially, David Long, the director of the school), in practice, students are encouraged to indicate their understanding (or not) of the subject being presented. Some of the more pragmatic (and less dogmatic) teachers even encourage answers in simple Thai. And I really believe that the method works for absolute beginners MUCH better than for folks with a smattering of conversational ability. Dictionaries are discouraged, in favor of 'sussing out' the meaning of the overall subject. As you learn, cross correlation begins to single out common words, and substitution becomes possible, so understanding of similarly constructed sentences dawns, albeit slowly.

My personal problem is that I already spoke too much Thai (although not necessarily well), and was placed in Level 3 when I first enrolled. I found it frustrating, because the match was spotty: On some topics, I was bored; on others I was in over my head. Also, I wanted to learn to read as soon as possible, which was going to be several hundred hours hence at AUA, even though I already knew the alphabet (no reading until Level 5).

As for what is the best school, of course, as tod-daniels points out, it depends on how you learn, and what your goals are. I learned to hear and reproduce tones fairly early, because I had a teacher who understood the problems farangs have with them. That occurred at a Wat Thai in the US, and was the true watershed in my Thai education, and I have continued at my normal (not-so-fast) pace ever since. The Union-type language schools were not the best fit for me, either. In the end, I probably took a lot longer with the eclectic approach to get to my current skill set. I get by.

I have friends who swear by AUA, and I have friends who teach there, as well. I try to be unbiased, and I realize that AUA is a radical departure from the usual Second Language methods. I would neither praise, nor condemn it on that basis alone...

Find what works for you.

Sateev

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As a former AUA student for whom the experience was wildly boring, there are a few mistaken impressions I should clear up.

While, as I said, I couldn't tolerate the endless hours of listening to stories, it is NOT true that there is no student interaction. While "Please don't speak Thai" is the stated theoretical optimum (per Marvin Brown, and, especially, David Long, the director of the school), in practice, students are encouraged to indicate their understanding (or not) of the subject being presented. Some of the more pragmatic (and less dogmatic) teachers even encourage answers in simple Thai. And I really believe that the method works for absolute beginners MUCH better than for folks with a smattering of conversational ability. Dictionaries are discouraged, in favor of 'sussing out' the meaning of the overall subject. As you learn, cross correlation begins to single out common words, and substitution becomes possible, so understanding of similarly constructed sentences dawns, albeit slowly.

My personal problem is that I already spoke too much Thai (although not necessarily well), and was placed in Level 3 when I first enrolled. I found it frustrating, because the match was spotty: On some topics, I was bored; on others I was in over my head. Also, I wanted to learn to read as soon as possible, which was going to be several hundred hours hence at AUA, even though I already knew the alphabet (no reading until Level 5).

As for what is the best school, of course, as tod-daniels points out, it depends on how you learn, and what your goals are. I learned to hear and reproduce tones fairly early, because I had a teacher who understood the problems farangs have with them. That occurred at a Wat Thai in the US, and was the true watershed in my Thai education, and I have continued at my normal (not-so-fast) pace ever since. The Union-type language schools were not the best fit for me, either. In the end, I probably took a lot longer with the eclectic approach to get to my current skill set. I get by.

I have friends who swear by AUA, and I have friends who teach there, as well. I try to be unbiased, and I realize that AUA is a radical departure from the usual Second Language methods. I would neither praise, nor condemn it on that basis alone...

Find what works for you.

Sateev

Sateev's impression of AUA is very much like mine. I have attended AUA in Bangkok on and off for several years. It is true that speaking Thai in (or out of) class is discouraged but this rule is by no means rigidly adhered to. As Sateev said, many instructors routinely ask questions of the students during the lessons. It is my impression that when they do they are not looking for long detailed conversations but simple answers to judge how much the student understands the topic on which the teacher is speaking, but this is just my guess. He or she may also just be curious about a student's opinion or just simply trying to keep a dozing student awake. I don't know.

Like Sateev, I started AUA already being able to speak Thai fairly well. I was placed in the AT5 (highest) level when I began. I found the (mostly) listening only method an excellent way to improve my comprehension of rapidly spoken idiomatic speech with which I often have problems. Yes, there are times when it is coming so fast that I lose track but usually I can at least grasp the general concepts that are being discussed. On the other hand, depending on the subject matter, there are times when I can understand everything being said. Regardless, the more I attended the more I absorb. Like most other methods it builds upon itself.

What it doesn't have however is repetition and drills. If your learning style is such that repetition and practice are important to you then AUA alone will probably not be enough. There is no reason however why you can't augment the AUA comprehension lessons with other more traditional learning techniques. There is nothing keeping you from learning reading and writing at another school or on your own while also attending AUA for comprehension. One of the best things about AUA is that you can come and go as you like. You can attend lectures/discussions in the morning one day or in the afternoon or evening on other days and even skip days, weeks or even months between classes if you wish. (Doing this will disqualify you from an Ed Visa however.) Because David Long encourages you not to speak Thai out of class there is, of course no reason why you can't still do it if you so want. I do it all the time. I also review my old FSI and "pre-ALG" AUA materials all the time too especially when I am not in Thailand. (I only spend about half the year here.) I also have some of the newer computer based materials like Courage Thai and Rosetta Stone that I sometimes peruse over as well. Together they have all have served me well.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I'm Japanese live around sukhumvit.

I had taken thai lesson at

Thai Language Station about 10 month.

I am not sure for forigner but this school most famous school in japan.because they have thai school in tokyo

osaka in japan.and they run it long time.

i think their method get many students.

use phonetic alphabet at first.and after middle level

thier textbook use thai letters.

Now i work with thai language.

if i didnot learn thai language with thai lanugage station,

i might not use thai language like now.I can have many thai friend from here. :)

i do not know another person , but i thank thai language station

and their teachers.

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I can only advise everyone to avoid Walen Language school. As they would never hire any qualified teacher. To save money the hire staff who worked before in hotels or restaurants. Those "teacher" can speak basic english, however, the will not be able to answer you any questions relating to Thai grammar.

The "amazing" Walen method to learn English was only created to enable even the most unqualified staff to "teach" Thai. Walen method means the teacher will read out laud the same book 6-8 times (!!!), with same pre=scripted repetitive interaction with the students build in.

If anyone knows a decent Thai school, which actually hires qualified teacher, please let me know.

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I went to Walen for 30 private lessons - my teacher was good - but the book is unprofessional, haphazardly put together. Therefore in principle I agree with you.

The "method" is basically an approach of "total immersion" - which I agree with - were it not for their teaching materials and attitude. However - to get maximum benefit out of this method - you will find using the Rossetta Stone Software is actually much more effective. "L-Lingo" is on the same basic method - better put together than Rossetta Stone - but not as comprehensive. L-Lingo is new and so far free.

I believe you should not spent your money on Schools until after you have learned to "master" a Rossetta Stone type of program. You will have "basic knowledge" and the ability to read Thai script.

Thereafter, I feel a "Conversational Thai Course" may be appropriate - all in Thaiscript. I interviewed "Plammitr" - they have such a program - but I have no personal experience with them. I would like comments on Plammitr from anyone who has experience with them.

Edited by Parvis
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Let me assure you if Walen had a "Money back Guarantee" I would have asked for my money back. The teaching material is useless. Their business is Visas - go to Pattaya and you will notice they MAY have 2-3 student studying.

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I can only advise everyone to avoid Walen Language school. As they would never hire any qualified teacher. To save money the hire staff who worked before in hotels or restaurants. Those "teacher" can speak basic english, however, the will not be able to answer you any questions relating to Thai grammar.

The "amazing" Walen method to learn English was only created to enable even the most unqualified staff to "teach" Thai. Walen method means the teacher will read out laud the same book 6-8 times (!!!), with same pre=scripted repetitive interaction with the students build in.

If anyone knows a decent Thai school, which actually hires qualified teacher, please let me know.

What competing school are you from? Did you register just to say something bad about your teachers? If you read more this forum you will find that our teachers are actually considered very good.

Walen School - our teachers are our pride!

www.thaiwalen.com

PS. Ok guys, Walen is back in this thread so now after a long period of very low activity we will create some motion!

PS2. For all Walen haters, peace to you!

For priority service please register

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

Edited by macwalen
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I went to Walen for 30 private lessons - my teacher was good - but the book is unprofessional, haphazardly put together. Therefore in principle I agree with you.

The "method" is basically an approach of "total immersion" - which I agree with - were it not for their teaching materials and attitude. However - to get maximum benefit out of this method - you will find using the Rossetta Stone Software is actually much more effective. "L-Lingo" is on the same basic method - better put together than Rossetta Stone - but not as comprehensive. L-Lingo is new and so far free.

I believe you should not spent your money on Schools until after you have learned to "master" a Rossetta Stone type of program. You will have "basic knowledge" and the ability to read Thai script.

Thereafter, I feel a "Conversational Thai Course" may be appropriate - all in Thaiscript. I interviewed "Plammitr" - they have such a program - but I have no personal experience with them. I would like comments on Plammitr from anyone who has experience with them.

The good point is that we are able to constantly improve based on your comments. Thanks and continue your constructive criticism.

Walen School - hot topic!

www.thaiwalen.com

For priority service please register

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

Edited by macwalen
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Let me assure you if Walen had a "Money back Guarantee" I would have asked for my money back. The teaching material is useless. Their business is Visas - go to Pattaya and you will notice they MAY have 2-3 student studying.

Oh my dear, Parvis, you are really an offensive guy, Pattaya school is very popular with many many students. The busiest school in town. You lost your face already so you sworn to be our enemy, it was your own making, that is OK, we never did anything against you and your issues are purely personal but at least do not write complete lies!

www.thaiwalen.com

For priority service please register

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

Edited by macwalen
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Walen -

Did you ever consider why I have turned negative on your School?

Obviously - I must have been positive in the beginning - to even attend your School - especially at the high price I paid (22,500 baht for 30 hours).

Therefore, my "negativity" appears to be from experience rather than "perturped imagination (i.e. lies)".

Can you follow the logic?

If my comments actually "inspire" you for some "corrective actions" then my comments are what they are meant to be "a call for necessary action".

Walen - you should have offered me a tuitionfree week BEFORE I STARTED - which you advertise - but since I was not aware of it - you may have just thought "there comes another farang sucker". It is very unlikely that I would have paid 22,500 baht for 30 hours after a trial.

THEREFORE, let me make you an offer :

Invite me for a trial of 1 week with the new material that you appear to say you are revising and I will discontinue my negativity based on any new facts I MAY DISCOVER AT YOUR SCHOOL.

Edited by Parvis
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^^ Parvis

I dont know what level you are at, or what you are looking for, however you could do worse than try the following,

Thonglor Language Center

806 Sukhumvit Soi 38,

Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110

Tel: 0-2391-6358, 0-2390-0244

Located right next to the sky train enterance.

There is also another school on Suk soi 11, Somchart I believe its called.

Can you confirm you paid 22,500 baht for 30 hours.

The reason I ask, that equates to 750 baht per hour, sorry I wouldnt pay that sort of money.

At one of the schools I attended, a teacher was leaving because of problems with the school.

I ended up paying her 1,000 baht per day (more than double she was being paid by the school) for private tuition, money well spent.

Getting hold of a decent teacher isnt easy, but when you do find one hold on to them.

You should have enough experience by now, talk to the teacher and school first, ask to see the course content, ask what they can do for you and what they expect from you.

Dont be fobbed off with vauge answers or promises, ask around, I am sure there are plenty of us out here who have been through the same.

Just remember someone has to pay for those fancy office spaces being leased in prime locations, I wanted a decent teacher and course content, location was of secondary importance.

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