1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What happened to the Thai educational system in the last 10 years?

Discussion in 'Classroom' started by sirchai, 20 Dec 2016.

  1. sirchai

    sirchai Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Jul 2012
    Messages:
    1,677
    Likes Received:
    477
    Hello and Sawasdee Khrap,

    Today, I went to a shop opposite our Big-C and met two of my ex- students I've taught about seven years ago when they were in grade six. First, I didn't even recognize her when the 19-year-old was greeting me with a Wai and said: "Hello teacher." I also made a Wai and asked her where she'd study but she didn't understand a word I was saying.

    Then she called her one year younger brother for help who attended the same class. After saying hello I was asking him: "How are you?" but it wasn't understood and when their mom and daddy arrived I switched to Thai to make them feel more comfortable and nobody lost face.

    When they told me in what class in grade six they're studying I switched my notebook on and showed them some photos with both of them in their classroom at primary school.

    When they left primary school they could have a conversation in English, knew how and when to use past and present tense and it was a very sad day in my life to see them many years later after six years of high school being unable to have a very simple chat in English.

    They then studied six years at a well known high school that's using two different agencies. Both agencies have a very good looking brochure, and they only offer experienced NES teachers with degrees in education.

    But living in this city I already knew why they didn't catch up with learning English. The girl, for example, had six different experienced NES teachers in only one term. The school is always changing the agencies every one or two years.

    First, they started with agency A, then after a year, or two they decided to sign up with agency B for a year, or two. but very seldom longer. It's easy to understand, each signed contract comes with a great sum in cash and that's what the directors are interested in, not the students' education in a second language.

    Studying English for an hour from a foreigner who's got no idea what teaching is all about, plus the lessons from their Thai English teachers, usually the grammar part, does the rest. But both agencies seem to have the same problem. They can't "deliver" what they promise in their brochures.

    It's not a secret that both agencies seem to have their own ways to get their employees a visa and a work permit, but only for ten months. Not many of their employees are NES and quite a lot of them do not have a degree. There's no student to blame, it all goes back to the teachers, the Thai English teachers, but also the foreign teachers.

    I copied some language learning DVD's for the two ex- students showed them how to do the setup and drove homo with a very bad feeling in my stomach. One way the other, I had a feeling of being guilty, even when I think that I did pretty well as an English teacher when they were in primary school.

    After all, it's not just the no-fail policy, the loss of face and the "please don't ask me any questions Thai English teachers" that make Thailand look very bad in English skills, being the number 55 out of 60 countries.

    There seem to be quite a few foreign people employed who know nothing about education at all.

    As a part of an assignment for my Diploma, I had to watch a film about a teacher from Finland who gave some great and very useful information why his country became the number one in education.

    One of his reasons was the quality of their teachers and all teachers in Finland have to have a Master's.

    The education in Finland is superb, the salary is very high and being a teacher there is an occupation almost every Fin would love to have.

    I was thinking about what we foreigners could do better in Thailand and hope that you add some of your thoughts to it.

    I will stop fixing their computers in my free time and concentrate more on my real job which is teaching English, science, and math.

    From now on the students, no matter if it's teacher x's son or director XXL's daughter, will receive the real grades. The grade they deserve. Too many of them are so used to just copy their homework or any assignments in class right in front of me. That will have an end.

    A meeting with all English teaching staff has to be done this week. It seems that nobody wants to see the problems we are facing. I'm sure that some of you guys out there are facing similar problems.

    It would be great to see your input, your solutions, what you'd do with too noisy students, etc...

    P.S. The lady on the photo was hired as a teacher assistant but she threw the towel after only two weeks just because so many things are completely out of order. She allowed me to post the photo here.

    Thanks a lot in advance for any replies. Merry Christmas. :thai wai

    20160525_143506.jpg
     
    Last edited: 20 Dec 2016
  2. SageAdvice

    SageAdvice Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Nov 2016
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    128
    a) Withdraw from teaching in Thai classrooms until local salaries are commensurate with time spent on the job.
    b) See "a" above.
     
  3. stfranalum

    stfranalum Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9 Aug 2011
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    72
    ^ or put up with it, deal with the meager lifestyle it gives, and put up with the sometimes inane bullshit that they make you do...for the privilege of living there.

    some people just really want to be in a certain place. to each their own. at some point though, you have to realize that not only can you not fix their system, but that you can actually affect virtually nothing that lies outside the realm of your own classroom. and so thats a lot of counting your blessings and thoughts that take you back to being thankful for your ability to be there....which is why its key that you REALLY want to be there in the first place. for me, once i felt my desire to live and work in thailand wane, all the reasons of why working there was a good thing began to fall like dominoes.

    love thailand. i just cant see myself working there again. though, the university job, with its 14 hour a week schedule was a decent compromise. but as everyone's situation is different, watching my son become educated in their school system (an "E"P program) i lost all faith that this was good for my family, however cushy the job was.

    ....all thailand needs to do, and i realize that this is a big investment, is to pay a better wage. i look at these farang teachers run around with licenses, culture, courses, immigration check ins, and all this rigmarole, for what? if they paid a standard job, say 70k a month, that would allow teachers to be able to bank a bit, and as a result, look to the future a tad. they would be able to get some qualified people in there, and even when frustrated with the arcane bureaucracy they could take comfort in the fact that they left after a year having saved a couple of grand and can go back home, able to get on with things. ....Q: how many farang teachers do you know who after a few years, and wanting to leave, are left with serious concerns about their ability to operate back home, with so little saved? me..i know quite a few who go back home with almost no savings to speak of. after airfare and a few cups of coffee, they have little to nothing and their resume isnt much better off.

    just my observations.
     
    SageAdvice likes this.
  4. Hey_ewe

    Hey_ewe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Apr 2012
    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    185
    Before I start on a negative rant, things are changing, slowly. I believe it’s in spite of the system rather than because of the system. There is a growing middle class who see the importance of education and want their children to surpass their own achievements. Thailand is a very aspirational society and it is this factor that is driving progress, not the dysfunctional education system.

    The only students that stand any chance are wealthy students in international schools or English Programs. It’s not that being able to speak English should be the sole measure of a student’s ability but it does mean they they are likely to have been taught by a westerner. A teacher who has been educated in a developed education system. I’m not suggesting we are all the worlds best teachers however, we are used to a system that fosters creative and critical thinking. Very few Thai teachers are capable of that themselves, let alone teaching these skills. They themselves are a product of a terrible education system, that was even worse than it is today. They might get their photo taken next to a poster with their thumbs up saying “Thailand world standard number 1 critical thinking very good.” It’s all for show the reality is that very few Thai students are able to analyse and evaluate complex issues or data. If I were to use one phrase to sum the system up it would be “The blind leading the blind.”

    There are good Thai teachers, who can the see the flaws but this country does not welcome people who rock the boat, especially foreigners. Thai love people love people to tell them their shit smells of roses, nobody wants to deal with any negativity. In Thai culture, if you go to a boss with a problem, you are the problem. You can only do your small part in your classroom and hope for the best. In short you are pissing against the wind.

    If we are talking about English proficiency then there is a huge gap. EP students students start studying English in K1 and then study English for several hours a day P1-6 then M1-3 by which point they should be fluent but most aren’t. An issue I see is that schools have no English Program beyond M3. Students need to use English every day for the entirety of their schooling, if English proficiency is the desired outcome.

    As for the poor normal program students, they are totally failed by the system, only the very strongest will end up studying at university. The rest end up as low skilled factory or rice field fodder, just how the system wants them.
     
    sirchai likes this.
  5. marcusb

    marcusb Active Member

    Joined:
    25 Sep 2012
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    36
    .... So very very true


    This is what I was wanting to ask SC. Are they still EP or down to 55 minutes a week, in a class of 50?
     
  6. Gor Blimey Guvnur!

    Gor Blimey Guvnur! What the duck ! Staff Member

    Joined:
    19 Oct 2011
    Messages:
    2,042
    Likes Received:
    556
    What went wrong, and not even in the last 10 years, in a word: Matayom.

    I've taught both ends of the scale, University business English and Prathom ....that middle bit I wouldn't want to, teenagers and all that. But English in many matayom programs seems to become derailed by no proper continuity from structured prathom programs, leaving Uni entrance candidates at a real disadvantage in understanding English IMO.

    Over to the Matayom teachers to throw some more light on this.
    :lost it
     
    sirchai likes this.
  7. sirchai

    sirchai Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Jul 2012
    Messages:
    1,677
    Likes Received:
    477
    I could still be at my first ( primary) school but an "American friend" got $ 1,000 because he "found me" and I started to work at the high school next door, but for an agency.

    I honestly had no idea how huge the difference was between being directly employed and working for such a questionable agency.

    But at this time employees at least had the name of the school on their contracts.

    Now they can send their guys to Nakhon nowhere without an explanation whenever they want to. If the employer denies, he/she can go.

    Plus, the agency paid 10 K for November and 10 K for April. These days people only get a 10-month contract and and.......... ( fill in the blanks)

    That was back in 2008 and since then is the high school with a good reputation dealing with agencies.

    When I first started there nobody had a work permit. That changed after we went on strike and the superiors of the agency turned up the next day and within 2 days all of us had a work permit.

    They told them that it wouldn't be a problem and that they would just have to pay a fine if somebody would "show up".

    But I knew the boss of the department and the whole city was aware of the critical situation, unfortunately, excluding the current employees of the school.

    The local labor department had the school on their top list.

    Can't really say that the situation had gotten any better. You don't have to work there to know what's going on.
     
  8. SageAdvice

    SageAdvice Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Nov 2016
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    128
    With your local experience, I'm curious as to why you can't answer the question you originally posed.
     
  9. sirchai

    sirchai Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Jul 2012
    Messages:
    1,677
    Likes Received:
    477
    Well, it's quite interesting to hear others' opinions and how they deal with certain situations.

    My view of various things might not necessarily be the right one after such a long time being an active circus member. What I'm currently doing isn't teaching, it's more like fighting with windmills.

    I walked away from a good teaching position being the foreign head teacher and only had eight grade six twice a week, just because I thought it would be great to sleep in my own bed every day and 4 K more per month.

    I made a huge mistake by trusting the superiors at my current school and found myself in a living hell.

    The promised NES teachers were never hired, such a program can't be done by one person only.

    Not working for an agency in my area decreases the chances of finding an ok good job dramatically.
     
  10. SageAdvice

    SageAdvice Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Nov 2016
    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    128
    Fine, but how does your specific experience reflect education in Thailand over the past 10 (or whatever number of) years?
     
  11. Hey_ewe

    Hey_ewe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Apr 2012
    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    185
    It does seem that the focus has been on primary education, which is a good thing but it shouldn't be at the expense of secondary education. In Korat there aren't too many Mattayom English programs. Those that do have a program almost exclusively use Filipino teachers to teach Science and Maths and if they can hire a NES they will only be teaching English.
     
    sirchai likes this.
  12. sirchai

    sirchai Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Jul 2012
    Messages:
    1,677
    Likes Received:
    477
    A great post, indeed. On the other hand sometimes only a cheap excuse of some schools for not hiring a qualified NES teacher with experience to teach subjects as well. Shouldn't the whole teaching process in an EP, and that includes subjects in English as well, go hand in hand by professionals?

    An ex-employee of that school made a cool example, he's on of the NES teaching staff who taught "conversational English an hour per week from grade one to grade six. The other guy grammar for an hour. How do you teach grammar to grade one students who've just started to learn a second language?

    He's asking me if he could learn German if a Russian would teach him German grammar, an Italian teaching German for communication and Filipinos teaching him subjects in German The answer was, of course, no. K., should you read this, please don't forget to write your point of view.

    I've heard that so often that head teachers of schools told me that Filipinos do not teach English in their EP, "only subjects" which brings me to the point.

    The same school where I started teaching now has a huge EP, a few guys from agencies are employed to teach in the EP, but mostly Filipinos teach subjects such as science and math.

    It was last year when the director hired an Asian guy who couldn't even have an easy conversation with one of the NES teachers but he "only taught science."

    The NES teacher who taught computer last year, or the year before, ( maybe still does) wasn't able to book an online ticket at my former school and needed our help to book an Air Asia flight. He got kicked out after only three months teaching grade one.

    Well, can't really say teaching, to be honest.
    So much about the quality of the NES teachers. The irony is that none of the staff working for the school directly seems to have a degree and they're all assistants and curriculum eating worms. Or similar.

    I'm teaching science to grade two and three students and the vocabulary use is huge. So how does a "teacher" who can't have a simple conversation with an NES teacher be efficient in teaching any sciences?

    I don't buy such excuses when hiring somebody they pay peanuts while the parents have to pay a lot of hard-earned money. The NES "computer teacher" who couldn't book an online flight on Air Asia's website started with more than twice of the Filipino's salary.

    This is just my own personal opinion and should in no way be seen as any criticism of a specific nationality.
     
  13. stfranalum

    stfranalum Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9 Aug 2011
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    72
    the best gigs in thailand will do one of two things:

    1. pay you well
    2. if not paying well, give you as few classes as possible and leave you the fuck alone.

    sadly, many, if not most places fail to do both. given that, it's hard to see why so many...thousands...go through with it.


    [​IMG]



    ...oh, right.
     
    Stamp, SageAdvice and sirchai like this.

Share This Page