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Thailand’s English proficiency plummets: Survey


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As the entire system is rotten, the educstiomal is as well. Plummeted from where ? From 0 to sub zero ?. Guess only N-Korea cpuld score worse. Colonialism had his advantages, though.

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53 minutes ago, Thunglom said:

Whereas English will always be needed in business and commerce, companies are now looking at speaking the languages of their markets and managers as well.

I have a cousin who speaks very good German and has lived there at one time. She is long-term unemployed (I think because she can't be bothered to get a job and prefers complaining about how little money she has), and I asked her why, with her skills, she doesn't try to get a job with a German company.

 

Her answer was short, and logical. They already speak German and English themselves, so have no need for someone with her skills.

So what you say might well be true in Asia, but certainly not in Europe.

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I'll admit to browsing through only the first and last (page 6) pages of this topic, however I didn't see the main reason why Thai people don't speak English well (IMHO). That is quite simply that they don't want to lose face by making a mistake ("pood pid, seeah naa").

When I arrived as a volunteer I took 6 weeks of Thai language lessons and was astonished thereafter that even Chula or Thammasat university Masters grads would immediately stop attempting English when they heard my rudimentary Thai. When I asked why, this was invariably the reason given - you're not Thai, so you're not embarrassed to make mistakes and we don't care if you do, but we ARE Thai, and we ARE embarrassed to make mistakes speaking your language. Even after becoming friends and pressing them to use their English else it would never improve, this never changed. Admittedly this was a long time ago (late 80's, early 90's). 

I then moved to Cambodia and discovered I could hardly use my Khmer in Phnom Penh because the Cambodians were all extremely keen to improve their English since this was the ticket to NGO or UN jobs or selling stuff to Farang and thus the way out of poverty. They also had no "face" issues. Hence Cambodians tend to speak much better English than the Thai, at least in the major city. It's different in the countryside of course, but the same is true in Thailand for the most part.

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Most of the Thai think that speaking English isn't that important because, apparently, they are living in Thailand so they don't use it in everyday life, like in Japan or China. Most of those in Bangkok can speak English but are most likely to be too insecure to speak it. So you can't simply blame them for their poor English skills.

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11 minutes ago, Bangkok Barry said:

I have a cousin who speaks very good German and has lived there at one time. She is long-term unemployed (I think because she can't be bothered to get a job and prefers complaining about how little money she has), and I asked her why, with her skills, she doesn't try to get a job with a German company.

 

Her answer was short, and logical. They already speak German and English themselves, so have no need for someone with her skills.

So what you say might well be true in Asia, but certainly not in Europe.

slightly odd comment - definitely not logical "They already speak German and English" = not sure what they mean by that.

Firstly, we are talking about English language learning in Thailand.

however the EU has it's own problems. There is a huge market for teaching English in the EU. It is de facto practice to ask all job candidates in Europe for proof of their level in English.

however it is forecast that because ofBrexit, the demand for Englishwill lessen - it is already being suggested that French or German will become the lingua France for the EU.

However a further problem for TEFL in the EU is that British teachers will all need to have work permits and residency visas. It looks like Irish English will become the staple for that area of language learning.

The range of language ability in Eu varies immensely - without a doubt Netherlands and Scandinavian countries ae way ahead of the pack - Germany is remarkably poor by comparison with a big divid between higher echelons of industry and te shop floor.

In fact if I was to teach in Germany (I already have some Greman students) I would concentrate of high end academicians business courses which are quite are in Thailand.

The digest levels I've bought in Thailand would have been to Japanese managment

 

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59 minutes ago, Thunglom said:

I don't think you fully understand the significance of Latin in today's world.

almost half of the English language is derived from Latin-based words. This means that people from Latin-based languages have a distinct advantage when it comes to learning English as they will recognize a lot of the vocabulary - and of course the script.

This is the fallacy of learning English. Yes a significant part of the vocabulary is Latin based, specifically French. And romance language speakers do very well until they come up against the German, Celtic and Norse parts. This is just like the Germans that breeze through part of the language and hit the other side of the wall. For the Thais, the whole thing is foreign with no tones and a completely unrelated grammar. 

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19 minutes ago, Bangkok Barry said:

That is where Thailand has lost out, despite its proud history of never having been colonised. In the countries where foreigners did arrive they advanced the standards in many ways - English or French proficiency, good rail network, good schooling and law systems, and so on. Of course, the attitude of the invaders towards the natives was often appalling, but a good foundation was left behind when they were eventually kicked out. Once that had happened and the locals took back control, some countries moved backwards again. Like Myanmar, for example.

You must be kidding. Praising the benevolent overlords? Hundreds of years of slavery is not worth it for a few years of English lessons. 

 

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14 minutes ago, raccos21 said:

Most of the Thai think that speaking English isn't that important because, apparently, they are living in Thailand so they don't use it in everyday life, like in Japan or China. Most of those in Bangkok can speak English but are most likely to be too insecure to speak it. So you can't simply blame them for their poor English skills.

highly prejudiced and inaccurate statement.

almost ALL thais know the Western script and can even form words with it.

20% of the GDP has been associated with the tourist industry and most people here speak some English.Russian or Chinese.

There are obviously people in all countries ablivious to learning other languages, but many Thais are quite the opposite and learn multiple languages to some degree or another.

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8 minutes ago, cjinchiangrai said:

This is the fallacy of learning English. Yes a significant part of the vocabulary is Latin based, specifically French. And romance language speakers do very well until they come up against the German, Celtic and Norse parts. This is just like the Germans that breeze through part of the language and hit the other side of the wall. For the Thais, the whole thing is foreign with no tones and a completely unrelated grammar. 

what is the "fallacy"?

 

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On 11/27/2021 at 2:22 PM, scorecard said:

I wonder what was tested:

 

- Reading proficiency?

- Reading and comprehension proficiency?

- Grammar (alone)?

- Conversation skills?

 

Or?

 

 

Not simply grammar or I suspect they would have done somewhat better. When teaching here I was initially surprised that students who could hardly string two words of English together were able to tell me the past participle of every irregular verb. I later realised that this was how English was being taught, by rote just like everything else.

 

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5 hours ago, Sydebolle said:

Well, what do you expect from 15 years of schooling - 6 years primary, 6 years secondary and 3 years university? 

I don't know who is responsible for it but the students and the ministry of education for sure. I am teaching kids for 6 years every week in P1 to P^  and every lesson starts with how are I am fine thank you... And when I see them when they are in M1 or 2 and they come to visit the school and I ask them how are you they can not the answer....  If the memory is not working you can't teach them anything. After 240 times repeating the same sentence they are unable..... 

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I surprised it's so high! 8 years teaching in schools in Thailand I have found that.

Very few Thai English teachers can speak English to a simple conversation level.

English lessons are always taught to be fun and games.

Correcting a Thai teacher is a big mistake. (Loss of face).

Every student will pass their tests, even if they can't right their name in English. ( Thai never fail).

Thai can attend class whenever they want. 30mins late? "Toilet, toilet, toilet", "what for 30 mins?"

(Thais are never wrong).

Thailand is the worst English speaking nation in ASIAN?

( Every one else cheated).

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We have lived in a moobahn of about two thousand people for years. Apart from the Mrs I have only ever found two people who speak English, one worked for a foreign company and the other is a 9 year old kid who is exceptionally bright. 

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1 hour ago, Thunglom said:

Most native Eng;ish speakers can't teach... they don't know how.

A short TEFL course taken by a native English speaker should give them the knowlege of how to teach. I went to pick up a niece at her school and the teachers asked her to identify me. Her  Pinay English teacher asked her  "who taught you English?" she said "my uncle." They then offered me a job to which I replied "I am on a retirement extension cannot get a work permit." They said don't worry we can get permit for you as teacher's assistant/helper. I told them I would need to take a TEFL course first to understand how to set up  and teach a class. Never got around to it. Had another niece 15 who spends summer vacation with us as well as learns in school. She is a regular chatterbox now in English and is #1 student in her class. 

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On 11/27/2021 at 2:20 PM, Mango Bob said:

Maybe we English speaking countries who live in Thailand should try speaking some Thai.  I bet we are worst then the Thais.

:Worse than the Thais" not "worst then the Thais".  I cannot imagine your Thai skills if you cannot grasp English.

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On 11/27/2021 at 4:47 PM, Thunglom said:

I have arranged courses largely in business and Universities.  in Thailand Laos , Italy, Morocco, Spain and UK.

I think that most people really don't understand when and why people need to acquire a foreign language - and this repeated report seems to ignore who is actually learning English.

However I have at times come across some amazing parochialisms when it comes to leaning any foreign language amongst Thai students.

I was talking to some University student who were going to study some science in Africa. I pointed out they would need a good level of English as no -one ob=ver there would speak Thai. - They wouldn't even know where they came form.

one student said in disbelief "What? they don't understand Thai?" - it had never crossed his mind before. I got the impression that he had watched loads of American movies - and didn't realise they had been dubbed - he just thought tase actors spoke Thai as a second language.

 

In te ed, though I have worked in industry with many Thai people who spoke really good English.

PS - the worst students I had were Spanish or sometimes Italian.

"one student said in disbelief "What? they don't understand Thai?" - it had never crossed his mind before. I got the impression that he had watched loads of American movies - and didn't realise they had been dubbed - he just thought the actors spoke Thai as a second language."

Thais are quite literally brainwashed from birth to believe they are the best and most important nation on earth - via their schooling and parental and social attitudes. They're taught nothing about the geography or history of the world and other countries - only Thai history and legends. The vast majority of young people believe all this.

It's what happens when you stifle creativity and intelligence and allow technology to replace them. Not so long ago the Thai PM seriously announced that Thai would soon be a universal world language. All of Thailand is now plugged into a smartphone, and if needed can translate the odd word or two of English. Therefore they can see no reason to learn the English language.

 

It's tragic - a real pity. But, then, if you never leave the farm, perhaps it's enough for the 66% of Thais who are farmers.



 

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On 11/27/2021 at 3:09 PM, ikke1959 said:

Thailand is the center of the world and when Mr Prayuth came in power he said that Thai was a world language... I have explained so many times that students should learn English because it used everywhere and on the internet, but the only response I get is speak Thai is better.....Refusing to participate in the lessons and never try to say a word English. 
I noticed that in the 15 years I am teaching English went downhill in speedtime...But I retire after this semester because the unwillingness of the students. Results are visible.. and than you have to watch DLTV when the Thai teachers teach English..... than you know no wonder...... 

With the level of English in your post, would you wonder why the English skills has apparently dropped. 

Edited by Artisi
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9 hours ago, overherebc said:

Talking about the building and fabrication of rigs, platforms and pressure vessels in the O&G industry the only specifications are in English, eg ASME, ANSI. There is no Thai version.

If you are talking about worldwide, I would beg to differ on the word "only", as the Netherlands has its own Dutch language standards (NEN) for pressure vessels and pipelines (the English Translations are UN official). Germany also has its own language set of standards (DIN).

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3 hours ago, StayinThailand2much said:

What do you think? With 1% of the population owning almost everything, and the bulk of income, with a culture of servitude, and education only seen as a 'money-spinner', why should the ruling class, being it the old, or the nouveau riche, be interested in educating the masses, or, even worse, teaching critical thinking? It would not only destabilise the old order, but also threaten the further enrichment of the few on the backs of the millions. What the ruling classes (old and new) in Thailand are interested in, is not the betterment of their country or people, but their fat Swiss bank accounts.

I understand all that and know that this is the case. However, I can't help but think that they  would make even more money (let's be honest about it, that's all that matters) if the masses were better educated, had better skill sets, etc. Just how much longer do they think they can survive in today's world with a poorly trained, highly inefficient workforce? 

They could have a better educated pool of people to choose from and pay those a more livable salary, which employees would in turn spend, thus supporting the economy and companies that employ them. The elite could hold onto their positions and, thanks to the skilled workforce, expand into new, growing industries. Lift the country up out of poverty, bring it into the modern age and share the benefits. Win-win. 

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On 11/27/2021 at 5:53 PM, ikke1959 said:

Thank you for  your confidence in my teaching

Seems inference doesn't rate all that well either 🤔

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22 hours ago, EricTh said:

 

Europeans can master English easily because they are of the same language family with many cognates, that's why the top 20 are almost all European countries.

 

I had a laugh when a farang couldn't remember how to say fish in Thai after the owner of the shop keep on teaching him every time he wants to order the same dish.

 

I think Thai would have an easier time learning Lao language than farang.

Half the Thai's speak a derivative of Lao anyway so they are half way there to start with. 

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22 hours ago, EricTh said:

 

The problem in Thailand  is that the most important criterion for hiring English teacher is that they must be native speakers.

 

Most of these English teachers don't know how to teach English as a second language. Speaking it fluently  is not the same as teaching it well.

 

 

Correct, but it's better than nothing and put with a Thai teacher who understands grammar - that many do but are completely lacking in speaking skills can be very beneficial in teaching English. 

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