There is a huge need for foreigners fluent in English and
qualified to teach that language, says Dr. Matthew John Kay of Chiang Mai
University’s new language institute. Schools are having trouble filling
positions. There are more jobs than qualified teachers. To help meet demand,
in November the CMU institute will launch a certificate program to qualify
more foreign teachers for the local market.
manager Dr. Matthew John Kay and Language Institute director Sansanee
According to Kay, the Chiang Mai economy is growing in
ways that simply require English. We live in an expanding tourist center.
There are many foreign-owned industrial plants here, with foreign managers.
And our export business is critical, whether in widgets or village crafts.
To compete with our Southeast Asian neighbours, we have to develop better
local skills in the English language. It’s that simple.
CMU created its language institute nearly two years ago
to help meet that seemingly insatiable demand for better language skills.
Today, the institute offers a dozen English courses for Thai students. It
also offers programs aimed at English-speaking foreigners. The first course
into the classroom was Survival Thai for Foreigners – a 50-hour course for
beginners priced rather attractively at 90 baht per hour.
But the big enchilada of the institute’s new offerings
for farang is its Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate
program. The course is aimed primarily at foreigners who want to teach
English in Thailand. Taught to a university standard, the program requires
fluency in English and spotlights common teaching issues encountered in this
country. It does not, however, require a university degree. This means
enrolees should check their personal qualifications against Thailand’s
work permit requirements before signing up!
According to language institute director Sansanee
Wannangkoon, the course will be gruelling. Says she, You have to think of
anything that involves 120 hours of structured learning and training over a
four-week period as a short-term, full-time job.
Offered each month, the course will include 60 hours of
class work on teaching theory and practice. Another 60 hours will go toward
practicum – observing an English class for Thai students, preparing class
plans and helping conduct the class. And then there is the homework: besides
studying their course books, students will write reports and take a final
exam. Gruelling is the word.
At 45,000 baht, the course is slightly less expensive
than the other certificate program in Chiang Mai. It gets better, chimes in
TEFL Manager Matthew John Jay, whose irrepressible enthusiasm makes the
program sound like the best thing since tom yum gung. The course fees
include all teaching materials and a catered coffee break. Real coffee!!
For Thai educators, the issue of English skills in
Thailand still rankles. A few months ago, the media covered in gruesome
detail the state of English in this country. An authoritative study of the
countries of Southeast Asia had found Thailand near the bottom of the heap
– ahead of Cambodia and Laos only. As a result, the Taksin government
upped the ante in the language sweepstakes.
To increase English skills throughout the country, the
government laid out a number of initiatives. For example, it proposed new
incentives for teachers who are Thai nationals to improve their English. In
addition, the government is encouraging secondary (mathaym) schools to hire
qualified native-speaker teachers. Says Jay, English teacher salaries at
government schools in the Chiang Mai area can start at 25,000 baht per
month. Private language schools sometimes offer more, but they don’t often
offer fulltime jobs.
More information: 0 5394 2655 and 0 5394 2656; www. licmutefl.com; or
[email protected] Chiangmai.ac.th