Thai teachers can and do teach English well



Specific details of Obec’s well-intentioned but misconceived proposal to hire 300 native English speaking teachers to tackle the so-called “shortage of English teachers” must be carefully re-examined. Native English speakers would earn a salary of Bt83,000 per month compared to Bt9,000 per month drawn by their native Thai counterparts – simply because they are “farang.” Just as the double-pricing scheme in Thailand is discriminatory, so, too, this nine fold pay discrepancy shows a demeaning bias against hard-working, dedicated native Thai English teachers, of whom there are many. Having provided teachers training workshops for more than 7,000 highly motivated, enthusiastic Thai teachers of English, I can personally testify to their commitment to improve their own as well as their individual learner-focused classroom effectiveness skills.

In order to make teaching a more attractive chosen profession which promotes self-confidence and positive attitude images, bureaucratic decision-makers should:

* Improve teacher training and nurture professional development growth;

* Maximize smart uses and practical application of Information Technology;

* Allow more freedom and autonomy to encourage creative and abstract thinking;

* Reward outstanding teacher performance based on student learning success;

* Eliminate the deadwood and promote on proven ability rather than nepotism.

Today’s teacher compensation system repels rather than attracts talented, ambitious individuals who are bright, passionate self-starters. Why not raise starting pay, accelerate salary bumps to keep up with a young teacher’s rapid improvement in effectiveness and offer incentives to innovative teachers who instill respectful pride, advance progressive communicative competence fluency and maximize potential as they prepare tomorrow’s civic-minded leaders to meet the challenges of a fast-changing interconnected wwworld?!

Charles Frederickson