While Thailand’s world ranking in terms of English proficiency has dropped, La Chaîne de l’Espoir strengthens its projects to teach English using phonetics and peer-based education.
Gaps in english in Thailand
Thailand dropped 11 places in the 2018 World Index developed by Education First that assesses English language skills in 88 countries. Ranking 53rd in 2017, Thailand fell to 64th (out of 88 countries surveyed) in the 2018 index, among the worst pupils in the South-East Asian region with its neighbours Cambodia and Myanmar.
In a context of globalisation and increased trade, proficiency in English has become a necessity and a major asset for the new generation willing to find its place in the labour market in today’s Thailand.
Increase skills among teachers and improve the pedagogical approach
In such a context, La Chaîne de l’Espoir proposes the development of an effective innovative participatory teaching method of English based on phonetics to the teachers and pupils of its network including 62 partner schools in the Province of Buriram. With this method, pupils (as early as first grade) are able to read, pronounce and copy down words they have heard after only three days of training.
Another major objective of the Education programme in Thailand is to deepen the implementation of a child-centred educational model actively engaging the child in the learning process.
The last training session was organised from 10 to 12 November in the Raprajanugroh school and both objectives, i.e. the learning of the English language using phonetics and the development of a peer-based educational method, were accomplished.
As a result, 30 pupils (9th to 11th graders) and 3 teachers were trained to pass on their skills in English to elementary schoolchildren. Every day after class and at weekends, the trained pupils go to the neighbouring elementary schools and play their role as English teachers. Educational tools and fun activities are developed with the help of referent teachers and the team of La Chaîne de l’Espoir.
Shy or restless at the beginning of the training, our budding young teachers have taken their new responsibilities seriously after having captured the attention of elementary schoolchildren and noticed their rapid progress.
The strengthening of peer-based education (with the support and guidance of previously trained teachers) appears to be a particularly relevant educational method in Thailand, where the very conservative education system leaves too little space to collaboration and exchanges and where pupils each year have to take many exams for which they are prepared according to rote memorisation and learning methods.