Travel, Teach, Live in Thailand

How to Teach the Thai Language
By:Kyle Fiechter

Thai is the official language of Thailand. Often called Siamese, Thai is spoken by up to 80 percent of the population in Thailand. Other small populations outside of Thailand also speak Thai, including emigrants living in the U.S., the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. The language uses a script that has some characteristics of a symbolic system but is mostly alphabetic in nature. Teaching Thai can be challenging yet rewarding, as is the case in any foreign language. Whether teaching many students at one time or tutoring just one, certain aspects should be emphasized when teaching the Thai language.

Starting Out

Set clear expectations for your student regarding tuition fees and payment schedule, learning goals and lesson schedule and your cancellation policy.

Assess your students to determine how much Thai they know. If they have learned some Thai elsewhere, give them a written or oral test to determine the learning level of your students. For example, give them a written test with four sections: the first section could be matching, the second section multiple choice, the third section fill in the blank and the last section could be a short essay. In this way, the test will become more difficult as it progresses and you will be able to determine your student's strengths and weaknesses.

Give your students a response sheet to fill out so you can learn their contact information, hobbies and interests. This will help in your lesson planning and will help you develop a relationship with your students more quickly.

Teaching

Teach your students one or two basic phrases on the first day, such as common Thai greetings. Create an environment where only Thai can be spoken with minimal use of English when your class is in session. Teach them relevant phrases that they can use throughout the class period.

Teach your students to negotiate meaning. Use activities that encourage students to understand what is being asked of them and requires a response, such as whole class discussions, student-to-student conversations and student-to-teacher conversations.

Give the students activities and worksheets that are relevant to the student, not hypothetical situations about an obscure place in Thailand. Base the activities and worksheets on their hobbies and interests, daily activities and places that the students have seen.

Incorporate Thai music, videos created in Thailand or about Thai culture, show pictures to teach vocabulary and teach the students an action to associate with vocab they are learning. In this way you will teach students based on different learning styles and stimulate different senses to help them remember the content.

Assessment

Test your students in a variety of ways to assess areas they need to work on. For example, test them on the written Thai language (script-based languages such as Thai are difficult for many students to master), speech and pronunciation and listening skills.

Test your students to learn how they are responding to your teaching methods. Assess them according to the way they have been learning; for example, if you have been giving them worksheets, assess them with a written test and if you have been teaching them through dialogue, give them an oral test.

Give as much positive input as corrective input when assessing your students and use a color other than red to grade papers. Positive affirmation can help prevent the students from becoming discouraged and help them learn more quickly.






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