Learn, Understand and Embrace Thai Culture
This is not just a suggestion, but a requirement by the Teacher’s Council of Thailand for anybody who wants to teach in a Thai school. Thai culture is quite different from Western culture. Knowing a thing or two about Thai culture will not only help you build rapport with your students and Thai colleagues, it will also help you minimize the risk of putting your foot in your mouth. Get informed about the monarchy, religion, customs, and general beliefs. There is a lot of information available online and the mandatory 20-hour Culture course will ensure that you have a basic understanding of Thai culture.
Lesson Planning is Extremely Important
This one is especially important for people without much experience teaching in Thailand yet. It is recommended to print out a lesson plan, including a broad layout for your planned topic, even if you are a seasoned teacher. Your Thai colleagues highly appreciate it because you appear well prepared and they can learn from your lessons at a different level. You also will make it easy for any teacher who may need to substitute for you, since they know exactly what you intended to teach your students. Your lesson plan doesn’t have to be a literary work; a few simple bullet points outlining the topic and aim of your lesson, the new vocabulary taught, and the exercises and games used to reinforce the material will do the trick.
How You Dress is Very Important in Thailand
In Thailand, people care a lot about looks and this is especially important for a teacher. Teachers are held in very high respect and not dressing appropriately will have a negative impact on that perception. Teachers that don’t look professional will almost always have more trouble managing the classroom than their peers who are dressed appropriately.
Do Not Speak Thai in the Classroom
If you are in the need of explaining something and can’t do it with pictures, drawings, and realia, you most likely are teaching something too complex and above the students’ comprehension level.
Unless you’re speaking Thai perfectly, you will most likely make a fool of yourself with wrong pronunciation and perhaps even wrong usage of some words. Students will at the very least laugh at you (even if just silently) and at worst will be confused about what exactly you are trying to explain to them.
Make it FUN!
Thai students and Thai people in general like things to be fun. No matter how important the material you are teaching to Thai students, if it is not fun they will not pay attention for very long. The Thai culture is in a lot of ways about “sanook” – a Thai word that means FUN! So think of activities that will be fun for your students, while still providing the information they need to be successful for the objectives of your lesson.
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