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Neeranam

Would You Send Your Kids To An EP?

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If you are serious about them being taught properly in English, and can afford it, I'd send them to a good international school.

In my opinion its the only way to ensure some sort of consistency of teaching by native English language teachers.

I have regular face-to-face meetings with my kids teachers at the end of each term, as well as formal written reports.

Only each term..we have them every month and that is a Government school.

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I taught in an EP for 7 years and have a daughter who I would NOT send to an EP. Here is what I can tell you from my experience:

The EP I worked in was well run. The company who provided the teachers worked to make sure the teachers who taught math and science had backgrounds in either their education or previous teaching experience. This, actually, is a requirement most EP's don't follow.

It was a good program. But it had 2 serious issues:

1) It became a dumping ground for students who, otherwise, could not get into the school through testing, but had money to pay for the program. So, 25% - 30% of the students could not speak English very well and/or were poor students.

2) A lot of the other kids were rich and bragged a lot about being in the program. This caused a lot of animosity from other students and teachers. It could be quite difficult to organize activities with the rest of the school.

On the + side. During my 7 years there, the program produced MANY students who went on to accomplish things that got their pictures on the banners outside the school. For example, 1 student got the second highest test scores on an entrance exam for some famous Uni. in BKK.

Now, why would I not send my daughter to one:

During my time in this EP, I was able to see other English Programs at other schools and realized ours was unique. The other ones were run by the school administrators(Ours was nearly independent from the school administration). So they had many of the issues you would expect from anything run my Thai school administrators: unqualified teachers, high turnover (Most of the teachers in our program had been there for 5+ years), lack of understanding of what the students really needed to learn and, of course, the programs were often used as a front to make the schools look better.

The year I left, there was a new director at the school. She destroyed the program. Now it is just like the ones at the other schools. Lots of non-native English speakers, high turnover and all the quality students have left the program.

Another issue is the level of English. I taught M1. Most of the students were OK at English, a few were very good. If I put my daughter in one, she would be so far ahead of most of the students, that she would spend a lot of 'down time' while other students were trying to understand the English. Especially in maths and science.

Someone above mentioned wanting to know the qualifications of the teachers. This would be a very good idea. And also check that the teachers can actually speak English clearly and accurately.

I plan to help my daughter with school work through her high school years. So I know she will be able to learn all the appropriate vocabulary and terms.

With this in mind, last year I enrolled her in a Chinese program. Figured English and Thai are covered at home. A third useful language seems to be a better choice than an English Program.

I think international programs are slightly better. They seem to have the money to pay for teachers with educations in science and math.

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I’d only send them to a “functioning EP”, but would do my homework, before paying a lot of money for stuff my kids will never use.

No parent does their homework as far as I can tell. Teachers are hired and if a parent questions the qualifications the Director and English Department Head lose face. As you must have learned by now, face is more important than the actual qualifications and ability of the teacher to speak English not to mention, teach it to children who as you also indicate you know, have little to almost no English abilities and skills to begin with. The promotional material indicate "Native English Speakers" teaching etc. but the truth lies way on the other side of that parameter or measure. It's a cruel world out here in Thai schools. Face and obedience come long before and ahead of learning real native English in any subject or the English language itself. Lack of care about teaching aides such as mentioned, cables and microphones are only the beginning of a long list. All that said, I guess one could ask is it "better" than being in the Thai program? On balance, maybe yes, it is.

Don't judge others by your own standards. We have checked out the schools very carefully in each of the several countries we've lived in. My wife taught for several years and as a MEd and BA so she does the "quality checks and evaluation". I concentrate on the admin and also make a point of talking to all the "English" teachers whatever thieir nationality.

My daughter is in a EP program. Smaller class size and teachers from UK, Germany, USA and Filipino as well as Thai. The Thai "home room" teacher remains in the room for all lessons form P3 upwards. Prior to that all classes have one Thai and one foreign home room teacher. We attend all parents sessions and meet/talk regularly with several other parents (all Thai except me). My wife looked at several other schools before this one including some much more expensive international "franchises" which she thought not so good. We are very pleased with this one and the standards so far.

My son is disabled. We tried a couple of schools before finding one that has a really good program for disabled pupils, trains its teachers correctly and develops the pupils correctly. This is a Thai government school in an area where the local authority are thoughtful and the current and previous headmaster excellent.

As with every country we've lived in, schools are very variable and parents need to take an ongoing responsibility for their children's education.

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Someone wrote this:

"I would not put my child in an EP program unless I had a plan to send them to University overseas. If the plan is for them to remain in Thailand, then a Thai education, with a strong (very strong) English component is probably the route to go. A bilingual school would be a good option, allowing the choice of study in either language.

I would also not send my child to an EP program if they were a native Thai speaker and had learning difficulties. Children who are not very bright tend to get lost when learning in two languages. Of course, if you plan to resettle in a country where English is the primary language then go for the EP program and forget about any emphasis on Thai."

This is a misunderstanding: the EP program does not give special qulifications for entering university abroad. For tha you would need to send your child to an international programme. EP programmes largely follow the Thai curriculum, even if a number of subjects are indeed taought in Englsi or, like for my son in G3, in both English and Thai.

For the initiator of this question: Move to Chiang Mai, if you can. There are a number of fairly good options for EP programmes, but not very cheap. And a fair guarantee of having native speakers teaching.

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I'm sending eldest to Oz for 12 month's got no choice not to speak English,either that or starve.

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I taught in an EP for 7 years and have a daughter who I would NOT send to an EP. Here is what I can tell you from my experience:

The EP I worked in was well run. The company who provided the teachers worked to make sure the teachers who taught math and science had backgrounds in either their education or previous teaching experience. This, actually, is a requirement most EP's don't follow.

It was a good program. But it had 2 serious issues:

1) It became a dumping ground for students who, otherwise, could not get into the school through testing, but had money to pay for the program. So, 25% - 30% of the students could not speak English very well and/or were poor students.

2) A lot of the other kids were rich and bragged a lot about being in the program. This caused a lot of animosity from other students and teachers. It could be quite difficult to organize activities with the rest of the school.

On the + side. During my 7 years there, the program produced MANY students who went on to accomplish things that got their pictures on the banners outside the school. For example, 1 student got the second highest test scores on an entrance exam for some famous Uni. in BKK.

Now, why would I not send my daughter to one:

During my time in this EP, I was able to see other English Programs at other schools and realized ours was unique. The other ones were run by the school administrators(Ours was nearly independent from the school administration). So they had many of the issues you would expect from anything run my Thai school administrators: unqualified teachers, high turnover (Most of the teachers in our program had been there for 5+ years), lack of understanding of what the students really needed to learn and, of course, the programs were often used as a front to make the schools look better.

The year I left, there was a new director at the school. She destroyed the program. Now it is just like the ones at the other schools. Lots of non-native English speakers, high turnover and all the quality students have left the program.

Another issue is the level of English. I taught M1. Most of the students were OK at English, a few were very good. If I put my daughter in one, she would be so far ahead of most of the students, that she would spend a lot of 'down time' while other students were trying to understand the English. Especially in maths and science.

Someone above mentioned wanting to know the qualifications of the teachers. This would be a very good idea. And also check that the teachers can actually speak English clearly and accurately.

I plan to help my daughter with school work through her high school years. So I know she will be able to learn all the appropriate vocabulary and terms.

With this in mind, last year I enrolled her in a Chinese program. Figured English and Thai are covered at home. A third useful language seems to be a better choice than an English Program.

I think international programs are slightly better. They seem to have the money to pay for teachers with educations in science and math.

I think looking very very closely at qualifications is a great idea. I don't see a lot of parents doing this however, but that is definitely the best filter they could have. I do see many of the parents seem to care quite a bit, but they just aren't very clear on the proper things to care about imo.

To further your recommendation, I would look very closely at these online degrees that the people did nothing but sit on the internet, yet have some sort of "teaching degree". I have seen this a number of times. I personally would be willing to give a pass to teachers without actual teaching degrees if they have advanced degrees in science or math for example.

This is where it would be at I think, parents filtering teachers and demanding that they aren't educated at degree mills or don't have proper educations. Nice post, I agree with a lot of your thoughts.

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Actually, what I have found ,

Is that is better to have then an English speaking environment... Have talked with many Thai's about this, and yes many teachers in Thailand. It is no different around the world. The child can go to a English class, but when they get home, what do they think?

Even with my current wife, I have sent her to good schools here in America, but when she hangs with friends she goes back to her native language. The point is to inspire them, and then make them ask questions. Kids are naturally inquisitive, because sometimes they do not understand. Then she wants me to speak her native language. So this is a decision you have to make, after all, it your decision.

Just a thought.

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I'm sending eldest to Oz for 12 month's got no choice not to speak English,either that or starve.

Exactly the point... They will live an learn...

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<script type='text/javascript'>window.mod_pagespeed_start = Number(new Date());</script>

I don't have kids yet, so will cross that bridge when I come to it, however I believe that I would put them into the English Program.

Primarily because it's where the rich kids go lol.

Which initially sounds like a pretty lame reason, until you remember that the kids in the normal program usually have parents who often don't care about their kids education (Because often the parents didn't have an education, and therefore think that it's that important, whereas most rich people had a good education, and believe that it's not just important, but essential). This is then usually reflected by their kids not caring about their education, and spending all of their time just clowning around in class.

Admittedly, the streamed classes are a little bit better, so if I had kids and they were going to be in a good class, then I'd probably be happy with the Thai section classes.

As although of course I'd want to instil the importance of education into my kids, and encourage them to do their homework and pay attention inclass etc, it's not just upto me. As they'll look at what their friends are doing, and that will impact on them too. If their friends think that doing homework is for losers, then my kids might not care as much about homework, likewise if their friends thing that staring out the window is more fun than paying attention in class, then chances are my kids will also do the same (at least sometimes anyway). Then when they get outside of school, if my kids friends think that it's cool to mod their motorcycles and do wheelies, or goto mor lum concerts and fight with the rivals schools, then chances are that my kids will also think that this is pretty cool.

By comparison, if their friends come from good families who care about their education, then chances are that the parents values will be reflected in their kids (Just as I hope my values will be reflected in my kids). So it's then less likely that they'll feel the inclination to do all of the stupid stuff which the kids in the Thai section do.

Also the rich kids are probably going to do extra camps and stuff which the regular kids don't get to do. They will also potentially have the means to travel or similar, so would be more likely to relate to my kids, and my kids might not feel like "The odd one out" because they're the only kid from a wealthy family in their class.

Although as I said, the good kids in the Thai section are usually streamed into the same class, so if I knew my kids were going to go into there, then I wouldn't feel the need for an English program.

That's my 2c smile.png

You seem to be suggesting that the rich kids are more serious about education.

Well at university level I can tell you that's absolutely not true, especially at bachelor level.

I know from lots of experience in several supposedly top universities in Thailand they have very little focus on study and lots of focus on 'fun'. Additionally many of them are disruptive to very disruptive in the classroom which takes up way to many of the available teaching hours.

Further, the lecturer is faced with problems like: small team project - after a week or so some / most of a team complain that xxx is doing nothing whatever to contribute to the project. Lecturer speaks to the student which is a waste of time and achieves nothing, because the student(s) concerned have no intention whatever of doing their share or taking their education / project seriously, and seriously believe they are entitled to share the good grade that the rest of the team worked hard to achieve a good grade.

Again and again I get the : "Professor, If I do one extra quick assignment will you upgrade me to an A." The answer is "No", then there's the 'but that's not fair" etc.

I'm also aware that many of the rich kids in international high schools have pretty much the same attitudes and behaviors.

There are of course some students from rich families who better / much more balanced attitudes and who seriously avoid the students I mentioned above.

Edited by scorecard

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I'm sending eldest to Oz for 12 month's got no choice not to speak English,either that or starve.

Exactly the point... They will live an learn...

Singapore can also be a good option for immersion in English, plus excellent teaching methodologies, good resources, no bullshit teachers, safe environment and not that far away.

My Thai son did a stint at high school in Singapore (he was very keen to go and got good grades). Not only did it improve his English enormously (he did already speak good English before he went) it also triggered and built his ability to analyse, think, create, discuss, and jumped his maturity up a couple of levels higher than his buddies in Thailand. And not expensive compared to schools in US, UK and Oz. Great value

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I think this a most interesting thread. It is no use putting it in the Primary/Secondary Schools forum. What we are talking about is the best way for our children to be at least bilingual and in some cases, if their mother tongue is neither Thai nor English, trilingual.I think most EP programmes are a waste of time and, particularly, money. If you are lucky you will get a native speaker who can actually teach; either on the basis that he/she is trained or you are just lucky that they have got some grip on what is needed.

We had a memorable confrontation with a so-called native speaker who asked the kids to spell Hossup. Children: Whatis it ? Hossup. Ah Hot Soup.

The presence of Thai teachers in the room is a complete waste of space as their English competence will almost certainly be dreadful. My children have lived in Thailand all their life; but!! they have been taken to the UK for considerable periods of
time..like from 4 to 5, 7 to 8 and 9 to 10..so they are perfectly fluent in English. They speak Thai and various dialects of it! fluently too. But they have some difficulty with writing and reading Thai. Of course, as they point out, the Thai students in their class cannot read and write Thai properly either. We are now embarking, indeed have embarked, on M1-6....Further problems. I have no idea what goes on in the programmes that train Thai teachers; but whatever it is it has nothing to do with equipping a person to teach. We don't want the children to go to international schools, or UK exports, in Thailand with a bunch of rich kids
from wherever. And anyway I suspect that both here and in Malaysia and Singapore they are only in it for the money. We want them to be citoyennes du monde who move easily between cultures and languages, but are also grounded in the towns where we live in Thailand and Europe.

We tried to get private tutors for Thai, Computer Programming, and other things they wanted to learn. The Thai! teacher of Japanese gave up because the lessons conflicted with her Wat Schedule. My wife said:look everybody here is too lazy. The teachers get paid whatever they do, so they do not want to do any 'evening' work. The whole thing is a nightmare. Actually we don't think the schools have much to offer except the potential of friends!

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Did it in primary scholl Got the kids bilingual.

No way were they going through the Thai hischool system. No way.

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As someone mentioned 'checkout the EP program'. Do that carefully. I know a couple of schools that have started EP programs and they have no idea what they are doing. The staff is reasonably good and competent, but they keep changing the job description and it has a negative impact on the staff, and that affects learning. They do know how to collect the additional money, however.

I have a feeling the schools will get their act together, but it is going to take some time. The main advantage right now is that the students do get a lot of English and it has a good student to staff ratio.

The Thai admin, however, think that they can wave a magic wand and make a new program happen. It really doesn't happen quite that way.

Very true. I had my son enrolled in bilingual school back in 2006 (Kajonkiat bah.gif ) and it was absolute disaster.

10 months later we moved him to International School and 7 years later he speaks perfect English, even using American accent. And it is not just his English that improved; he is very confident now and quite good in math and science too.

Neither me or my wife are native English speakers by the way.

Bottom line, I would not hesitate to spend my last baht (US$ in this case) to secure proper education for my kids. I have seen around parents who spent more on status symbols such as yachts, expensive cars and big houses but send their kids to Thai Government or Bilingual schools rolleyes.gif to save a buck. Really strange list of priorities.

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I'm sending eldest to Oz for 12 month's got no choice not to speak English,either that or starve.

Exactly the point... They will live an learn...

Singapore can also be a good option for immersion in English, plus excellent teaching methodologies, good resources, no bullshit teachers, safe environment and not that far away.

My Thai son did a stint at high school in Singapore (he was very keen to go and got good grades). Not only did it improve his English enormously (he did already speak good English before he went) it also triggered and built his ability to analyse, think, create, discuss, and jumped his maturity up a couple of levels higher than his buddies in Thailand. And not expensive compared to schools in US, UK and Oz. Great value

Good point about the analyse, think, create and discuss. I forgot to mention this in my earlier post.

English is a nice benefit of an EP or international school. But these other things they pick-up from studying so much with Farang well outweigh the benefit of improved English.

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