This month, Garden International School of Rayong hosted
a series of radical new English language teaching skills workshops that
aimed to improve the level and quality of spoken English in Thailand’s
private schools. These Workshops provided English teachers (all of whom
were non native English-speakers) with a valuable opportunity to practice
modern techniques for teaching spoken English as a foreign language (EFL)
in the classroom. A total of 40 teachers travelled to GIS from over seven
provinces to attend the workshops. They received training from TEFL and
CELTA qualified instructors, hospitality and accommodation courtesy of
Garden International School.
fun is part of learning - and teaching.
The project started earlier this year when the Thai
Office of Private Education & Commerce and the International Schools
Association of Thailand met with Garden International School and a handful
of other International Schools to discuss English education in Thailand.
During the meeting a request was made by participating International
Schools to put together a free training package as a gesture of goodwill
towards OPEC and Thailand’s private schools. OPEC and ISAT agreed to the
proposal and GIS put together a curriculum guide, timetable and team of
English as Second Language (ESL) specialist teachers to work on the
project. Following this, a series of training workshops were developed for
English teachers in Thailand’s schools.
The workshops provided a series of lessons and
activities geared towards encouraging students to speak more English in
class, including techniques for teaching phonetics and natural speech.
Many of the participating student teachers agreed before the course that
special skills were needed to encourage Thai Students to practice speaking
English; “My students are too shy to speak English sometimes,” said
Khun Panida from Rungnapapittaya School, Rayong Province. “They are shy
and I am too, but by using games and activities we can encourage them to
speak. During the GIS course I learnt some new techniques for encouraging
students to enjoy speaking and listening to the English language.”
The training workshops were developed at Garden School
by the Principal Ken Sly, and a team of EFL tutors. Each participating
International School kept to a general curriculum standard, but individual
schools were allowed to provide their own materials and additional
content. The workshops involved investigating new techniques for teaching
English language, mainly centring on skills for encouraging conversation.
Some of the teachers found some new techniques quite
radical. Tiwoporn, a teacher from Chonburi Province found the going hard
at first: “At first I thought I could not teach English without using my
native Thai language also, to translate. After I talked to students at
GIS, who are taught solely in English, I realized that this technique
works. Children should be exposed to as much English as possible in the
classroom. It’s tough at first - but after a while they learn new
techniques for understanding and they listen harder to their teacher.
Students who are taught using Thai translations for words simply do not
learn as quickly as students who have to work out the meaning
On finishing the course, students submit an assessment
including case study and lesson plans. Certificates (prepared by ISAT, GIS
and the participating schools) are presented to the participants. The last
day of the course is gruelling, with teachers presenting a lesson using
some of the skills they have learnt for teaching conversational English
during the course and submitting language assessment tests, a student case
study report and lesson observation reports.
GIS has put together a web site for student and
teachers to exchange ideas and resources with teachers from international
schools in Thailand and overseas. It is accessible at www.kruthai.net
The site is in its infancy, but GIS hopes to keep in
touch with the Thai teachers via this portal.