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Thai language school-is Walen any good?


Markos22

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  • 3 weeks later...

Time for me to write here since I'm going back to Bkk in 2 weeks and looking for a good school to learn thai. Since I my self have a masters degree and bilingual in Swedish and english and also studied some german I need to find a language school good enogh.

I've heard that foreigners can learn enogh thai to take the government examination grade 6 after only about 1 years of studing. So my question is what school should I choose; pro language, thai solutions, tls or thong-lor thai language school?

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  • 1 month later...

I was a student at Walen learning Thai as a beginner. The emphasis on learning the Thai alphabet was good, which means you are able to read Thai properly. 

 

The teaching however I found very old fashioned. Basically it is rote-learning using a very boring text book, not even with any pictures. There is no audio-visual material, no computer screen or display, just white board and the text book. That's it. That kind of outdated teaching went out of use in foreign language classes in Europe about 20 or 30 years ago.

 

The teachers were competent and mostly pleasant but they had to stick to the outdated rote learning method used. 

 

Along with learning Thai I also taught English EFL in Bangkok (not at Walen) and we had much better textbooks and audio material than was used at Walen. If we had used Walen methods, I suspect the Thai students would have complained to the school about it as they are very quick to complain, it just wouldn't be tolerated. By contrast, the students learning Thai seem to tolerate this outdated method, I suspect because they are there primarily for the education visa.

 

Classrooms were small, not much space, as was the front desk area for the office staff, they were crammed in elbow to elbow such as I have never seen in Europe, but I guess that's Bangkok (real estate rents).  Teachers tended to be switched every hour, which I found odd, but I does give you some variety, so maybe not a bad thing.

 

Price and overall value is ok and the school assisted you with the visa and visa renewal procedure. For a while the school also had an agent at the immigration department who helped you with the process but this then ended, don't know if this has been restored or not. 

 

Given what's on offer in Bangkok for learning Thai, I'd say Walen is probably the best bet, bearing in mind the old-fashioned style of teaching. To get the best out of it, you need to do extra study in your own time eg with an audio-visual course, online, or private tuition like I did.

 

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32 minutes ago, rickbkk said:

 

 

Given what's on offer in Bangkok for learning Thai, I'd say Walen is probably the best bet, ... 

 

 

Which other schools did you attend to come to this conclusion?

 

Other than that question: excellent and very informativ review! Thank you!

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Haven't attended the other schools in Bangkok. I doubt most other people would have the time money or inclination to do so either.  I'm going by the feedback I've heard from people who've tried other schools, as well as my impression from their promotional material.

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23 minutes ago, rickbkk said:

Haven't attended the other schools in Bangkok. I doubt most other people would have the time money or inclination to do so either.  I'm going by the feedback I've heard from people who've tried other schools, as well as my impression from their promotional material.

 

Ah, ok, that´s absolutely fine! I was just being curious, that´s all..... 

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  • 2 months later...

They start by teaching the alphabet. I guess that's the way to go if you want to become very proficient in Thai, eventually, but that won't quickly give you any basic language skill that will help you in your daily life in Thailand. The teachers (who are nice and friendly) will give some Thai phrases and words during their course, but it's kind of "oh and by the way this is how you say that in Thai", not really in a structured fashion where you can remember it easily. 

 

I suppose that once you know the alphabet then things move faster and it gives a stronger base to learn the rest. 

 

I personally prefer the method that works with transliterations and studies grammar and themed vocabulary (weather, family, shopping, eating, colours, time, etc.).

 

The ideal would probably be a combination of the two I suppose. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Positive points:  They can do education visa.

 

Negative points:  Everything else.

 

 

The classes:

 

 

-  You are not given any instructions on where to go or what class to attend.  The schedule sheet does not make sense.

-  They mix you in with advanced speakers.  Totally baffling and destructive.

-  Because everyone is mixed up you will often be missing major booklets and paperwork. The teacher seems not to care in the slightest even though she knows I am new and even handled my visa paperwork to begin with.

- The teacher will observe that you do not have the worksheet (because they mix everyone up) and ignore you rather than immediately fixing it.

-  There is no progress or personal goal.  So the whole syllabus is a mystery.

-  They do not correct your mistakes and always 'fly with the fastest' students and ignore the weaker ones.

-  The teacher got angry at me (sighed and shouted) after 3 hours of me attending.  She forced me to read entire words while the room goes silent.  She than moved onto sentences in Thai script (I am a beginner and have been to 3 classes / 3 hours).  This woman should not be in a teaching position.

-  The staff repeatedly watch you fail and attend wrong classes with lack of paperwork.

-  They force you to buy a book for 380 bhat but than give it to other students for free if they did not buy theirs.

-  Their entire syllabus is google printouts.

-  They do not remind you of holidays or their long list of threatening deadlines.  Like you must remind if you want to sit the exam 45 days prior.  You must remind them about visa details.

-  The teachers do not ask your name or give their names.

-  The teachers use their hands to clean the ink board and get covered in blue ink.

-  The teachers will not help with extra questions or vocabulary.  They run out of the room as soon as the time is up.  So it's back to google translate and meeting girls at Starbucks for vocabulary lessons.

-  Teachers seem to have no clue of what to teacher and randomly answer questions focusing a whole lesson on one guys question.

 

 

 

All of these problems are the managers fault.  The teachers seem cheerful and try but there is no teacher guides or system in place.  You have hired a bunch of girls and said teach people.

 

I would suggest you provide very clear lesson outlines for your teachers and put cameras in every room so they perform better.

 

The facilities are very good.  Rooms have AC.  Free water.  Good location right next to Asok, Robinson's and Terminal 21.  You can walk from the BTS bridge right into the building.

 

My biggest concern is the lack of order and mixing advanced students with total beginners.  They are more scared of having an empty or private lesson.  So they just mix everyone up.

 

I don't know what the syllabus is because every time I attend a lesson it varies hugely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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