Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Community

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Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Community

Post by Big Boy » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:20 pm

I went to the above event at Hua Hin School this morning.
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Loads of kids were dressed in the traditional dress of each ASEAN nation. The turnout of these kids was excellent, and I know that many of them were up before 4am having their make-up applied. The event started with traditional dancing from each nation (photos are sometimes a little blured due to the dancers not standing still :D ).
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After the dancing, there was a Miss ASEAN contest, which was won by Miss Singapore. Interviews were held entirely in English.
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Miss Singapore is on the right
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Miss Singapore on the left.
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Miss Singapore on the right holding her trophy
Finally, there was a singing competition. Unfortunately, there were only 2 microphones between each group of 6, and even when I could hear the singing, the sound system was not up to much. Each song was sung in English. A big shame really, these kids (there were 8 groups of 6) had all learned the words of a song in English, and were badly let down by the sound system.
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All around the hall, and outside were numerous displays that the kids had put together for each nation, in English.

A first class effort by the kids of Hua Hin School, and I'm sure the teachers had a little to do with it as well.

I'm currently uploading a video of the dancing, which I will post later.
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by dtaai-maai » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:41 pm

Not sure about HH School, but in my experience, if Thai educational establishments put half as much effort into improving English skills as they do for events like this, they'd all be fluent by now.
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Vital Spark » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:52 pm

Couldn't agree with you more, DM. Dressing in national costumes and making boards with stuff copied from the Internet is pretty, but not practical. This kind of activity is also popular at universities. I would love my students to spend a tenth of the time that they spent on cutting up bits of polystyrene on reading something that I'd given them, or writing an essay. Boring, maybe, but essential if Thailand doesn't want to become the poor relation of the AEC.

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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Big Boy » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:11 pm

In their defence at Hua Hin School, a lot of the preparation was done at weekends and the recent public holiday.

Of course, I can't say how much was done in normal school time.
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by hhinner » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:44 pm

Vital Spark wrote:Couldn't agree with you more, DM. Dressing in national costumes and making boards with stuff copied from the Internet is pretty, but not practical. This kind of activity is also popular at universities. I would love my students to spend a tenth of the time that they spent on cutting up bits of polystyrene on reading something that I'd given them, or writing an essay. Boring, maybe, but essential if Thailand doesn't want to become the poor relation of the AEC.

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I would think that copying English language stuff from the Internet and actually writing it by hand could be educational. At least it's writing practice and some of the content may sink in as well. Years ago I practised my Thai writing by copying newspaper reports. It was very slow going at first because of having to look up every other word in a dictionary, but it's a good way of practising writing without having to worry about content. But, in general, I think you're right about the cutting up polystyrene and the like. It's all so superficial and I think just for show rather than demonstrating real achievement.

However, the fact that a lot of events at the school show were in English means that there must have been a lot of preparation and some relevant learning going on. And if there's one (?) thing Thai kids need it's to learn more about their neighbour countries - and the rest of the world.

Shame the motto "Leap ahead for ASEAN" in the photos isn't what it says in Thai. But nevermind - close enough is good enough. :)

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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by oakdale160 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:41 pm

I think that this is a good sign. Thai is entering an international org whose primary language is English. The govt and civil service have been very reluctant to comply with the directives that all inter member agreements etc MUST be translated into English and this trumpos local languages. At least the schools are telling the children that in ASEAN the business language is English, get used to it or the Malaysians and singaporians will run the whole show and you will be minor players.

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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by dtaai-maai » Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:41 am

oakdale160 wrote:I think that this is a good sign.
If only. Sadly, it's a typical high-profile publicity stunt that will lead to no concrete action, and certainly no financial investment, within the education system. We see this sort of thing all the time in the tourism sector and others. Lip service and nothing more. The only impact ASEAN seems to be having is to increase the amount of pointless admin paperwork for teachers.
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Jack Sprat » Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:30 am

hhinner wrote:
Vital Spark wrote:Couldn't agree with you more, DM. Dressing in national costumes and making boards with stuff copied from the Internet is pretty, but not practical. This kind of activity is also popular at universities. I would love my students to spend a tenth of the time that they spent on cutting up bits of polystyrene on reading something that I'd given them, or writing an essay. Boring, maybe, but essential if Thailand doesn't want to become the poor relation of the AEC.

VS.
I would think that copying English language stuff from the Internet and actually writing it by hand could be educational. At least it's writing practice and some of the content may sink in as well. Years ago I practised my Thai writing by copying newspaper reports. It was very slow going at first because of having to look up every other word in a dictionary, but it's a good way of practising writing without having to worry about content. But, in general, I think you're right about the cutting up polystyrene and the like. It's all so superficial and I think just for show rather than demonstrating real achievement.

However, the fact that a lot of events at the school show were in English means that there must have been a lot of preparation and some relevant learning going on. And if there's one (?) thing Thai kids need it's to learn more about their neighbour countries - and the rest of the world.

Shame the motto "Leap ahead for ASEAN" in the photos isn't what it says in Thai. But nevermind - close enough is good enough. :)
Unfortunately, in my experience as a teacher, the Thai children I teach are pretty good at 'writing' (which is a good thing) but are pretty hopeless at 'speaking' English.......mainly due to the fact that Thai teachers teach the kids grammar and writing, but most, if not all, of the Thai teachers cannot speak English themselves.
So it's not surprising that the children can make a nice looking sign, but the problem for Thailand in joining Asean (in my opinion) will be the communicating/speaking of English.

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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Big Boy » Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:40 am

OK, yesterday's event is the only one I've been to, and it was quite impressive to see Miss Asean contestants introducing themselves in English, and then being interviewed by a teacher using purely English. There were 48 kids who had learnt a song in English, and the young comperes were making announcements in both Thai and English.

All of this was in front of an audience, which made it even more impressive. Certainly better than I was after 10 years of learning French.

It was not the static displays that impressed me, but the children's use of English. It was clear that many of them had put a lot of effort into this event.
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by dtaai-maai » Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:53 am

I'm sure that HH school is a shining example of the exception to the rule, and I'm not attacking it in any way - I'm referring to the system as a whole and this 'scheme' in particular.

I think it's fairly significant that the posts from teachers seem to be consistent in their views (so far...!). I don't teach children (thank God), but most of my students (who are doing courses related to business/management, hospitality, tourism and public administration) might just as well be children in terms of their level of English skills.
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Big Boy » Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:36 am

No attack identified.

I find it interesting to see the views of teachers being stated here. I deliberately posted in the education forum hoping to get this debate going.

This was a rare opportunity for me to visit the school, and see their English skills first hand. Believe me, I saw more English yesterday than I've seen coming from my eldest Granddaughter in 15 years - it was a pleasant eye opener (she didn't have a speaking part by the way).

I'm hoping similar events take place in other schools, and we get similar reports - good or bad. It will give a more balanced view.
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Big Boy » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:01 am

Video from the event:

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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Nereus » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:42 am

dtaai-maai wrote:Not sure about HH School, but in my experience, if Thai educational establishments put half as much effort into improving English skills as they do for events like this, they'd all be fluent by now.
Yes, exactly! And don`t forget the handing out of gifts to the teachers, as it was all due to their effort! :cuss:
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Nereus » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:59 am

International schools prepare for AC

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/4 ... are-for-ac

Thailand's international schools are preparing busily for the launch of the Asean Community (AC) next year and consider it an opportunity to attract more Asean students.............>more


Nusara Banyatpiyaphod, chair of the executive board of St Stephen's International School, views the AC as an opportunity to welcome more foreign students. "When the AC arrives, international schools in Thailand will target students of CLMV countries — Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Although Thais often think Singapore and Malaysia offer better-quality education, Thailand is at the centre of Asean, serving as a hub for all Asean member countries," she said.
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While there are self centered, I am the greatest, t...s like this with positions of authority in the system, I do not see much hope for anything changing anytime soon! :cuss: :banghead:
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Re: Development Of English Skills Towards The ASEAN Communit

Post by Name Taken » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:45 am

Big Boy wrote:A big shame really, these kids (there were 8 groups of 6) had all learned the words of a song in English, and were badly let down by the sound system.
I'm sure that was just by accident. :roll:
Unfortunately, Thailand seems to do everything it can to make it difficult for the average Thai to learn English. In Cambodia most of the Cambodians are more than willing and happy to speak English whereas in Thailand most Thais are ashamed to speak English and think speaking English is a big 'loss of face'.

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