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For the thai population it is important to learn english, as it is ‘the world language'. To learn english is inevitable if thailand wants to compete on the global market regarding business, education, science and technology. Biyaem in 1997 reported what may be faced in the classroom when teaching english. On one hand, he stated that thai people have difficulties in pronunciation, syntax and idiomatic usage of the language. This is mostly due to their mother tongue thai. The main difference here is really the roman letters with its correct phonics. The intonation seems to be very
different in english compared to thai where thai have about 5 tones. Here same letters can have different meanings. Some sounds in english occur not in thai, which means that these need a lot of practice (Depp, 2007). Grammatical structures are also different in both languages. That means a teacher needs time to explain and demonstrate the structure to the students. english uses tenses and voices where thai grammar uses markers to express for example the past. The pronunciation, as mentioned earlier, is a challenge for thai students. The
teacher need to be aware of it and give its' the attention it is needed (Depp, 2007). As the students are in their home country they speak thai in private meaning that they have a lack of opportunity to speak english in everyday live. This may not count students who are in business. They may have to speak english everyday. As the thais are a very friendly culture they are also very shy of some sort, which means that they maybe too shy to speak to classmates in the classroom. On the other hand, problems for learners in thailand could occur due to the education system. Here the National Education Act has implemented a heavy teaching load for teachers,
which means that the teacher can't focus on particular problems the students may have. There is no time to do so. Furthermore, students were taught english from 6-years of age in large classes with up to 40 students in class (Wiriyachitra, 2001; Biyaem, 1997). This means the teacher has no time to pay attention to any particular students or to any particular problems the students have. Also repetition, or conversational practice, pronunciation and intonation are difficult to gain out of it. Sometimes classrooms may not be very well equipped facing a limitation on teaching possibilities. However, if the teacher would like to do variable lessons then the teacher may need to buy the utensils he need by himself. Another source of problems could be the cultural differences between native thai students and an english
teacher. European people tend to use their hands to express themselves or to support what they were saying. This is a no go for thai people and may look offensive. Raising the voice, what people do to make a point or somebody aware that it is important, is intimidating to thai people. thai people seem to like to work in groups and it is important to have fun when they learn. This is something Western people tend to forget when they like to work on their own. There is something to learn from each other's culture. If students and teacher are aware of the differences both may see it as an opportunity to gain more out of it then only the english language. References 1. Biyaem, Suda. 1997. Learner Training: Changing Roles for a Changing World, Educational Innovation for Sustainable Development. 3rdUNESCO-ACEID International
Conference, Bangkok. 2. Wiriyachitra Arunee. 2001. A thai University english Scenario in the Coming Decade. thai tesol, 14(1), 4-7. 3. Depp, Jean. 2007. tefl problems for learners in thailand. http://www.teflcorp.com/articles/46-tefl-problems-learning-english-different-countries/145-problems-for-learners-in-thailand.htm
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