Frontiers of International Astrophysical Research
Pavinee Chommuang, Project
Manager British Council
Saksit Tridech the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology
giving token of appreciation to Jon Glendinning Director of British Council
for supporting the workshop on INYS Workshop: Frontiers of International
Astrophysical Research for collaboration between young researchers from UK
The British Council, in partnership with the National
Astronomy Research Institute (NARI) of Thailand hosted a week long workshop
for Thai and UK astronomers as part of the inaugural activities of NARI.
The workshop was designed to bring together young
scientists from the two countries to promote the creative exchange of ideas
in the field of Astronomy.
Saksit Tridech the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology
witness the signing ceremony between Dr Boonraksa Soonthorntham Director
NARI and Dr Andrew Lyne Director Jodrell Bank Observatory University of
Both Thailand and the UK have a long tradition of
research. This is important as the take-up of science courses in both
countries needs to be extended if the basic scientific research which
underpins our economies is to be vigorously pursued.
The theme of the conference was the ‘Frontiers of
Astrophysical research’ and the recent landing of the Spacedust probe and
the increasing commercialisation of space travel is evidence of the direct
relevance of Astronomy today.
In addition to the workshop discussions, there was also be one of the
regular British Council @the bar events where interested members of the
public could take part in a lively and informal discussion on the topic of
‘Dangers from Outer space’.
photo, from left: Jon Glendinning Director British Council Chiang Mai, Dr
Daorung Kungwanpong Vice President Chiang Mai University, Dr Saksit Tridech
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Boonraksa
Soonthorntham Director NARI, Dr Monkol Rayanakorn Dean Faculty of Science
Chiang Mai University and Dr Andrew Lyne Director Jodrell Bank Observatory
University of Manchester.
Confessions of a language school junkie
Peter McKenzie-Brown (Head
TEFL instructor at CMU Language Institute)
Many people in Chiang Mai’s expat community teach
English, and many more are learning Thai. Combined, they have more than a
passing familiarity with the
frustrations of learning language. But help may be at hand, “If you follow
a few basic rules, you can take the ordeal out of language learning,” says
local resident Dr. Lynn Morris.
The occasion was a presentation at Chiang Mai University,
and Lynn called his talk “The Confessions of a Language School Junkie.”
An economist by training, during the last 12 years Lynn has studied five
languages in seven countries at 15 different language schools. He only moved
to Chiang Mai three years ago, but has already developed conversational
fluency in Thai.
In his seminar, he offered ideas about language study
from a learner’s perspective and in his case, a learner with a bad memory.
His audience included foreign students training to be English teachers in
Thailand, and English instructors from CMU.
Lynn’s presentation offered suggestions for learners
based on his own experience and research. Noting that the great majority of
language school students give up long before they reach conversational
fluency, he stressed motivation above all. But suppose you are motivated.
What can you do to speed up your language learning? You need to begin by
understanding that most students study too little and try to learn too much.
No one can realistically learn more than ten new words a day, for example,
but learn new words you must. Says Lynn, “Vocabulary is king in language
learning, and verbs are the queen. Ninety-nine percent of the time that I
can’t do something in language, it’s because I don’t know the right
word.” As a personal aid to his language study, he has created a system of
vocabulary cards and voice recordings for pronunciation practice.
Technically speaking, this system uses a principle known
as anticipated graduated interval recall. Lynn’s language regimen has five
deceptively simple rules. First, “Repetition is the mother of mastery.”
Use it. Another imperative is this: learn the most common words in your
early days of language learning and move progressively on to those less
frequently used. Third, get the pronunciation right. “If you can’t
pronounce a word,” Lynn says, “you can’t memorize it.” Vowels are
the biggest pronunciation problem for most people, so make this an area of
special effort. Fourth, learn the vocabulary before you begin a reading
practice. After all, reading exercises are about developing reading fluency
rather than acquiring new words. Finally, spend 80 percent of your study
time reviewing what you have already learned.
A vocabulary fetishist in every way, Lynn notes that you
can actually define the stages of language learning by word count. For
example, a learner who has only mastered 500-1,000 English words can have no
more than functional proficiency. By contrast, fluent conversation in social
settings requires 3,000-8,000 words. And to understand TV news, read
or participate in group conversation, you need 5,000-10,000 words. To put
all this in context, an adult native speaker can typically use or recognize
more than 20,000 words.
For most of us, the road to learning a new language is
long and hard. Linguists
often explain this by noting that we acquire our native language in
ly different ways from the classroom-based approaches used by most language
schools and teachers.
A rare few schools can teach languages quickly. America’s Foreign
Service Institute, for example, is operated by the State Department and has
supremely motivated students (career diplomats, military officers); highly
expert instructors; and vast financial and training resources. Even with
these enormous advantages, the FSI needs at least ten months to train an
adult to work effectively in Thai. By contrast, most language learners have
limited resources and average teachers, so the period of mastery is much
longer. Unlikely though it may seem after your first Thai lesson, however,
there is no reason why a serious adult learner can’t become
conversationally fluent. It just takes time and dedication.
Faculty of Fine Arts CMU organizes contemporary Asian music concert
Pinutda Suwanchaisri and
Kittiyaporn Kanjam (student trainees MFLU)
Lanna music band of Fine Arts Faculty, led by Ajarn Thitiphon Kanteewong,
performing Lanna music at Chiang Mai University Art Museum.
Prof. ML Surasawat announced that a world music concert
entitled, “The Roots of Asian Sound” will be performed on February
18-19, 2006 by Changsaton, the Lanna music band of the Fine Arts Faculty,
CMU, conducted by Ajarn Thitiphon Kanteewong and joined by “Ankara”, a
Singaporean traditional band.
The concert will feature contemporary music and special
songs composed by the two bands, with the songs coming from different ethnic
locations but all originating in Asia.
There will be three performances of the concert; two at CMU Art Museum on
February 18, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets cost 300 and 500 baht and a
further performance at Gong Dee Gallery on February 19th, at 7 p.m. with
tickets costing 500 baht. Tel. 053-944-805 for more information and
Math Morning at PTIS
Hansen putting his mother to work finding multiples at Math Morning.
In an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program
classroom, mathematics is a vital and engaging part of students’ lives.
Recently, the Grade One class at PTIS played host to a Math Morning.
At this event, parents were invited to learn about the
school’s math program from the students. The students taught their parents
different math activities of shape, addition, strategy, estimation and
Twenty parents attended and were challenged to learn with their children
make connections to the real world. “It was so rewarding seeing parents on
the floor with the children, trying to figure out the strategy games
together or putting the tangram pieces together,” said Trudy Nelson, the
Grade One Homeroom teacher. “It’s important to realize that math is more
than just flashcards.”
APIS acquires IB Primary Years’ Program candidate status
Wecker, Tania Lattanzio and Keith Wecker during the visit to the main
The community of American Pacific International School (APIS) celebrated
its official acquisition of IB PYP candidate status for K1-Grade 5 last
week. The IB Asia-Pacific Associate Regional Manager from Singapore, Tania
Lattanzio, completed her official visit to both campuses of APIS last week
and her report has now confirmed that both campuses are committed to the
philosophy and implementation process expectations of the International
Baccalaureate organization. The school was congratulated on its progress to
date, with specific mention being made to the enthusiasm and impressive work
of the staff and the PYP coordinator, Patsy Wecker.