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Vol. XIII No.23 - Sunday November 16, 2014 - Saturday November 29, 2014


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Life in Chiang Mai

 


Teaching English like what she is spoke!

SUSAN BROWN
There is, mate, a common misconception with many Thai people, that any native speaker of English must be a good model of spoken English. Therefore they think that any native speaker of English can be a good teacher of the spoken language ~ wrong!
Because of this widely held misunderstanding of the real situation, too many unsuitable farang are employed here in Thailand as teachers of English when in fact their own speech is poor, even though it may be their first language. Of course, some of them speak really excellent English – but not all of them do.
“Its, like, man, ya’know whaz I mean,some of them there farang, like, may be from Oz or, like, the ‘States or the UK, but, like, well, the ways them have ta speak, like, is not cool, dude. Just coz, like, they did cum from an English speaking place an all, it don’t mean, like, that them folk are necessarily, like, great models of, like, that correct spoken English that many young Thais, like, want to pick up from ‘em in, like, them after-school English classes here - if ya sees whaz I mean, man!”
Believe it or not, I have come across many farang here in Chiang Mai whose own diction is as poor as that. And yet they get jobs in various fly-by-night after-school tutorial colleges as teachers of English. They may be paid only peanuts, and the business world knows what type of employees you can reasonably expect to be able to hire if you pay only peanuts!
Those dudes with such poor diction are thereby very poor, very unsuitable, models of correct pronunciation and formal English speech. Hiring such people, though doubtless cheap, is doing no favors for the Thais who are paying to learn (they hope) at least standard and correct English diction. The Thai students may copy those sloppy, over-casual, localized ways of speaking – which will be incomprehensible outside that classroom.
You only have to look at the shabby appearance of some of these foreign teachers to understand that they may be far from impressive examples for our young Thai students in other ways, too. Many are not teachers at all, but backpackers drifting between other jobs in bars or on farms, staying in Thailand for a while as unqualified and totally inexperienced English teachers.
The better providers of English courses here need to review much more carefully the diction of those dudes who want to work as English teachers with them, to try to make sure that only those applicants who can speak their own language properly are let loose on young Thai students of the language.
“Otherwise, mate, the fing is, like, that them coming younger generations of Thais, will, like, speak English juz like this, if ya gets whaz I mean!”
 


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Teaching English like what she is spoke!
 

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