For nearly 5 years, We have been putting skills and knowledge into the hands of the community of Ao Luk in Krabi Province, Thailand, providing free English classes and volunteer teachers for schools. To expand on this work we are also running workshops for local teachers, training them in the techniques we use to teach English.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) declared the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015, signifying greater economic integration & co-operation between the 10 ASEAN countries. As English is the official working language of ASEAN, the Thai government has declared 2012 as ‘The Year of English Speaking’, so our assistance has been much in demand!
On 7th & 8th June we ventured a little farther than usual, heading to Takuapa in Phang Nga Province on the west coast to work with teachers from 10 different schools in the area. At Ban Bang Muang school we started by asking the teachers what they hoped to gain from the workshop; almost everyone wanted to learn about ways to keep their students engaged and interested, but many simply wanted to make the most of the opportunity to practice English conversation with fluent speakers.
Both days began with warm-ups and ice-breakers to help everyone get to know each other. They may have worked a little too well, as, during one exercise, one of the teachers confessed “My name is Kung and I like Ian”, leaving our trainer, Ian, looking a little sheepish!
The rest of the workshop was split into several short training sessions, focusing on vocabulary, pronunciation & drilling, games & activities, teaching with texts, teaching with songs and grammar. Teachers were kept busy throughout each of the sections, taking part in activities and putting into practice the skills and theories they were learning about, as well as sharing their own experiences and knowledge with us and each other. Finally, we took a closer looking at the ASEAN community and about what it will mean for Thailand and the Thai people.
The workshop was a great success; the teachers thoroughly enjoyed themselves, – we were particularly pleased with the souvenir t-shirts we were presented with as a ‘thank you’! We’ve made some good friends, had a lot of laughs and have been asked to go back to run more workshops in the area; we’ve also been invited to do some teacher training on the island of Koh Lanta in Krabi – all very exciting stuff!