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Thailand’s English proficiency plummets: Survey


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On 11/27/2021 at 2:34 PM, overherebc said:

Not many of the expats here speak latin either.

English, whether you like it or not, is useful all over the world. Thai is useful in one country only, 

Unless you're committed to a nursing home in the UK. Three of the 5 in the area where I lived had more Thai staff than English staff.

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On 11/27/2021 at 5:28 PM, zzaa09 said:

I find it to be deeply troubling nor understand the almost obsessive indoctrination ideals of mandating second languages towards the overwhelmingly greater percentage of respective populations that will never have a practical need/wish/desire to attain English by way of their everyday lives. They'll never have any practical purpose or reason to use it. 

 

Granted, there are those segments of the populations that, for whatever reasons in their lives, have a great desire to become sufficient in the magical English - those are the ones that should be targeted and expanding the education upon. 

But surely, with these millions of tourists that TAT proclaims will be arriving after January 1st, not a single Thai will be able to go a whole day without bumping into an English speaking tourist! Hmmm, actually, since it's a TAT proclaimation, you might be right.

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On 11/27/2021 at 7:18 PM, EricTh said:

 

How did you come to this conclusion?

 

Because, contrary to much evidence, the Thais are not stupid, especially where money is concerned. Theyknow that the way things are going here they stand a better chance of making a load of cash selling their land to Chinese developers if they can speak Mandarin so they push their kids to learn it. In return they let the kids also learn Korean so they can follow their favourite K-Pop stars. Everyone wins, eventually.

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On 11/27/2021 at 7:20 AM, 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.

Are you an English speaking country ?  Looks like your English is worse then that of the Thais !

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15 hours ago, blackprince said:

There are universities in Thailand full of engineering students who will never study or work abroad. There's plenty of opportunity for them here.

 

It's hard for many foreigners in Thailand to understand, but the Thai world does not revolve around foreigners.

 

On the other hand, all foreigners in Thailand are dependent to a greater or lesser extent on Thais, yet few westerners speak anything more than beginner level Thai, and even fewer read  Thai at all.

 

To be fair, there aremany English speakers living in Thailand who have not come here to remain lng term and, asmuch as they may be interating with Thais on a daily basis, feel no need to learn the language. Just as in the UK there are now millions of people from other countries who are determined to stay in the UK and yet feel no need to learn English. Any country you go to, foreigners residing long term in the country tend to form their own ghettos where they can stick to their own language toget by.

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On 11/27/2021 at 7:34 AM, overherebc said:

Not many of the expats here speak latin either.

English, whether you like it or not, is useful all over the world. Thai is useful in one country only, 

That's 'cos Latin is useful in one city only .........

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On 11/27/2021 at 12:22 PM, 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.

People in Issan speak Lao fluently.  No ?

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On 11/27/2021 at 1:26 PM, MrJ2U said:

Thai Education system is well known to suffer from literacy.

 

Most teachers in Thailand aren't that good. 

 

I never feel guilty about taking our kids out of school and on a vacation, I think they'll learn more.

I felt a touch of literacy coming on when I read about your problem .........

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12 hours ago, StayinThailand2much said:

I've met many Thai 'English' teachers, and I can confirm your observation. 85%, or so cannot string a meaningful sentence together, their English is often unintelligible, and every other sentence they say starts with: "Because..."

 

Add to that the lack of interest for other cultures and countries, not only among the average Thai, students, but also among Thai 'English' teachers, and one can understand why English proficiency has been steadily declining over the past 20 to 30 years. 

Not just in Thailand. I taught at an international school in China (overseen and funded by an American college) where I had to teach science, history and literature (the last two American of course) to high school students. The idea was that these students would be going to universities in English speaking countries. The only thing I, as the only NES did NOT teach was English. That was taught by a Chinese teacher who could barely string a coherent sentence together when conversing with me in English. So he taught the students English in order that I could teach them my subjects in English. The school had a quasi Thai approach - everyone graduates - even one student who was fluent in Korean but could not read, write, speak or understand ANY English. (I've had that here in Thailand in a Private school IEP where the student spoke no English for a whole semester, did no work and made it his life's work to disrupt every lesson - to the point of throwing things at a maths teachers back during the lesson.) When I brought the matter up with the school I was ignored, I later found out he graduated with an 80% overall score and was in the IEP because his parents had agreed to pay double the fees to make sure he graduated.

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13 hours ago, Pedrogaz said:

Would you disagree with the conclusion that overall Thais have very poor English skills? I don't, but I noted that all at the top of the list have been British or American colonies. 

America used to be a British colony.  We taught them well !

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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.

Learning the Thai  language is largely optional for many expats. Learning English for business, science, research, banking, medicine, aviation, etc., seems to be mandatory, unless Thailand has no interest in moving forward on the world stage. I speak for myself, not some nebulous "we" that you referenced.

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On 11/27/2021 at 7:20 AM, 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.

I realise you are just being an apologist , but seriously how is this relevant ?

Knowing what a Thai bar girl gossips about may be useful for an expat , but on a global scale , how exactly does it benefit Thailand ?

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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.

Speak for yourself!

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On 11/27/2021 at 1:27 PM, djayz said:

One has to ask "why?". Surely it's in nobody's interest to remain at the bottom of the barrel. Is this a strategy or pure incompetence/or ignorance? 

if you believe that Thailand is the center of the known universe and all foreigners are desperate to learn Thai and spend their money here, then of course it makes perfect sense.

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14 hours ago, newnative said:

     Soon to likely be dead last--despite the PM demanding improvement.  Another one of his useless demands, to be filed with all the others.  Wasn't the only English speaker among the rescued cave boys a Cambodian?   Pretty much says it all.

Spearheaded by foreign cave divers... Elite Thai Navy Seals were out of their depth.

 

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Well this is disappointing, but hardly a surprise.

 

Growing up bilingual I've never had a problem picking up languages, so today I speak my native English & Spanish, plus Mandarin, Thai and Lao.

 

But if you don't start early with kids the brain gets hard wired not to accept new languages.

 

All my kids are multilingual, but it's because they heard it all from their parents at an early age.

 

The more interesting parallel would be the Dutch and the Scandinavians.

 

I don't know how those guys do it. With my kids it was a deliberate decision that I spoke certain languages and my wife(s) another to the kids when they were small, so they ended up learning both.

 

I can't believe the same is true of the Dutch and Scandinavians, yet they all come out speaking English as well as I do

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On 11/27/2021 at 3:11 PM, Longwood50 said:

I wonder where the USA would rank?  Some areas of the USA if you don't speak Spanish like Miami, you can't function.  I lived in Houston for a period of time and some areas of the city if you did not speak Spanish you could not communicate with anyone. 

That is saying nothing of the Ebonics that takes a special degree of understanding.  And for anyone who has ever traveled to Louisiana that Cajun dialect may be something but English it is not.  

Heavy and  hard, if not impossible dialects are to be found in most countries

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There are a lot of retired English speaking ex pats here, many of whom are bored, and would likely be glad to help out as a volunteer English teacher IF IF they didn't need non sense work permits for volunteering to help the kids.  In my experience what the kids really need is more hearing the English language and less studying diagraming sentences as taught by Thai teachers.  I was a volunteer and my task was to speak English only  to the kids and attempt to get them to give it a try.  Most of my kids had never even met/heard a native English speaker in person and amazingly after a while I was able to get most of them to not be so shy and to actually give speaking a try. And a few actually picked it up pretty well.

 

If the Thai govt would treat these expats as a valuable asset and develop a program to encourage them to help and give serious people an incentive of an easy to extend one year visas and no work permit BS I suspect that a few thousand  expats would volunteer a few days a week at their local schools. 

 

What have they or the kids got to lose?  (I know, it could mean a loss of face but get over it for the kids sake.)

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 Credit where it’s due, at least they beat Kyrgyzstan.

I find myself getting angry now when I meet schoolteachers who can’t string two words of English together. They each have a responsibility to their students and they are failing at it. English is the crucial skill to be able to access most of the information available on the internet.

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8 hours ago, Flink said:

Unless you're committed to a nursing home in the UK. Three of the 5 in the area where I lived had more Thai staff than English staff.

Hmmm , perhaps heading back that way for the last few years of life might not be so bad.........

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14 hours ago, overherebc said:

And?

I suppose that Thai tourists in the USA expect you to speak Thai? No they don't! So we should not expect Thais to speak English either! Learn the language of the country that you are a guest of! 

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4 hours ago, pomchop said:

There are a lot of retired English speaking ex pats here, many of whom are bored, and would likely be glad to help out as a volunteer English teacher IF IF they didn't need non sense work permits for volunteering to help the kids.  In my experience what the kids really need is more hearing the English language and less studying diagraming sentences as taught by Thai teachers.  I was a volunteer and my task was to speak English only  to the kids and attempt to get them to give it a try.  Most of my kids had never even met/heard a native English speaker in person and amazingly after a while I was able to get most of them to not be so shy and to actually give speaking a try. And a few actually picked it up pretty well.

 

If the Thai govt would treat these expats as a valuable asset and develop a program to encourage them to help and give serious people an incentive of an easy to extend one year visas and no work permit BS I suspect that a few thousand  expats would volunteer a few days a week at their local schools. 

 

What have they or the kids got to lose?  (I know, it could mean a loss of face but get over it for the kids sake.)

The problem with your suggestions for the Thai government is that they did not come up with it themselves.  I mean really, let older retired expats volunteer to be in schools a few hours a week to help the kids learn English?  (sarcasm intended)

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9 minutes ago, David T Pike said:

I suppose that Thai tourists in the USA expect you to speak Thai? No they don't! So we should not expect Thais to speak English either! Learn the language of the country that you are a guest of! 

I do not expect any tourists to be able to speak the language of the country they simply visit. I would expect people of that country, who are employed in tourism, to have some communication ability in some common language..... be it English, or Chinese if that is the demographic they deal with mostly. 

If I go live in another country I should try to learn that country's language. (But I struggle).

I regard myself as fortunate that my language is one commonly used, which make my life easier. 

 

I have always been amused by immigration here... one language they should not need is Thai! 

 

 

 

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