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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Travel, Teach, Live in Thailand

How to Teach Thai As a Foreign Language
By:Krista Martin

Learning the Thai language can be rewarding. The written and spoken language of Thailand is filled with many unique uses of tones and characters. As with teaching any foreign language, it can be a challenge to get students to become fully committed. However, there are many helpful techniques to facilitate teaching students how to speak, read and write Thai.

Start with the basics, such as how to pronounce each character in the alphabet. Learn the tones of the vowels. The Thai language has 32 vowels, whereas the English language only has 5. Websites such as Youtube and Thai movies and radio will help students mimic the tones. Introduce the most common words and phrases used in the Thai language. Give context to the phrases and words by using images and explaining situations in which the phrases would be used, such as when you first meet someone or when you say good-bye.

Teach students by incorporating language into fun games. There are many online resources where students can go to learn Thai through games. Some games, for example, show images and immerse students in Thai vocabulary in a way that engages and stimulates them as they are learning.

Expose students to TV shows and movies that use the spoken Thai language. You can also use English movies with Thai subtitles. Both ways familiarize students with Thai language dialogue in a realistic setting. Students become engaged in the plot and are eager to follow along with the storyline, thereby using the imagery to produce a context for the Thai language.

Read Thai newspapers and books, including dictionaries and advertisements. This will help familiarize students as they advance with the way the language is used. The aim is to incorporate the Thai language into as many activities as possible so that students are constantly immersed in the language. It is much easier to learn a foreign language when it is used throughout the day, especially in nonclassroom settings. Restricting the lesson to a certain time period per day can cause the brain to stop processing the information when the lesson is over.

Set up Thai pen pals for the students. A pen pal is a great way for students to practice their Thai writing skills. Receiving letters from a real Thai student will help your students correct their writing flaws.

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