As part of our Teacher Training initiative, aiming to improve the standard of English taught in schools by providing workshop for local teachers, GVI asked Rachaprachautit School if they would like to host one of these workshops. We were very excited when they replied that all of the schools in Koh Lanta, on hearing about the teacher training, had decided to close for 2 days so that all of the teachers could attend! For 2 days we ran workshops in the various techniques we use in our classes for the 45 teachers; they took part in English games and activities and everyone had a great time. Most weren’t even English teachers, but, with the launch of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Economic Community in 2015 – for which English is the official working language – Thailand is in the midst of a national initiative to get everyone speaking English, and the teachers were eager for the opportunity to practice with native speakers. We were treated like royalty, fed endlessly and had the chance to see the beautiful National Park as well as some brilliant Thai dancing by the students.
August also saw the start of our final ‘full’ term in Ao Luk; over the past 5 years demand for our free classes has declined, as thousands of community members have worked their way through the GVI course and become confident English speakers. Many have used their newly learned language skills to develop their own community tourism businesses, others have improved their employment prospects and some of our younger students have gone on to study English at university in the hopes of becoming English teachers. The community has benefitted hugely from the classes and is in a good position to continue more independently, with GVI playing a smaller part in their English development.
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