By: Phramaha Tharabun Khuchinda and Ellen Kert
May 18, 2009
Thai culture makes planning very difficult. Thais practice what is often referred to as “Thai Time”. Things start when they start and finish when they finish. This makes scheduling exceedingly difficult. There are also many special school events and holidays learned about on very short, if any, notice that interrupt instructional time.
Thai students and teachers tend to be very shy and afraid to risk making a mistake. The latter is especially true for Thai teachers who are held in high respect and “lose face” when they do make a mistake. It takes time to build comfort levels which are essential to work effectively with each other. This is especially true in poor schools where teachers and students have little to no prior experience working with foreigners or active student directed learning.
Hierarchy and seniority are very important in Thailand. It is a top-down culture. Positions of power and authority must be respected. The project must have the support of school leaders to succeed.
As a consequence, the majority of English instruction is focussed on grammar and paper and pencil work. Students’ speaking, listening and comprehension skills tend to be very low. While active student centered learning helps students improve these skills the need to teach to the test and Thai teachers’ discomfort with their own ability to speak English makes this kind of teaching particularly challenging for them.
“Problem solving is ablility to apply previous knowledges and experiences to define the problem and original causes, and to define objectives of problem solving with selecting the appropreated tools.”
“This kind of teaching is challenging for Thai teachers, but all can be overcome with the right support and teaching tools.”
“The overall rule was “Mai kao jai Mai pood”. If you don’t understand it, don’t say it.”
By Phramaha Tharabun Khuchinda (2009)
2nd International conference on educational reform (ICER2009): Cultural diversity and sustainable education in a changing world.
What we did we laught?