Today the farang English teachers and Thai English teachers from both Thida 1 & 2 gathered for an in-school seminar about our English text, “Let’s Go!” Of course, I think I speak for most people when we we’re told about a 3 hour training, but it was informative and entertaining.
Jay Richardson, an Englishman living in Nakhon, led the presentation. I was originally under the impression the presentation would be led by the authors/publishers of the text, but I was mistaken. He was an Academic Advisor/Trainer who’s lived in Thailand roughly 15 years and had ‘speaking Thailand’ skills I’d never seen before (for a farang).
Jay led us through the contents of the book, describing how the authors intended the book’s breakdown in terms of number of lessons and his approach to both the text and how it could be applied in the classroom. As a foreigner, he also understood that the text isn’t everything. It’s a basis to be supplemented with our creativity and own outside the box ideas. That was refreshing to hear.
Jay talked a good bit about TPR (Total Physical Response) and CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference). The latter has become a bigger part in Asia and other countries and will also be a part of the Thai teachers’ and students’ testing in the not so distant future.
It was great Jay was able to speak fluent Thai as he could keep the Thai teachers engaged and speak Thai if needed to keep things moving. Definitely helped keep a good flow during the presentation and I think it benefitted them a great deal. He touched on some common classroom mistakes (a few I’m guilty of!), which served as a good reminder to not get complacent in the classroom.
I think each and every teacher in the room was able to take something away from today’s presentation and apply in their own classroom. A refreshing part was his understanding that everybody operates in his or her own way, so it was wasn’t a ‘do as I say’ type of event, but some suggestions on how to implement different ideas and get the most out of the resources. As I’ll be teaching the same group of kids for the third year next year, it’ll be nice to have some different methods to use and hopefully the kids will feel energized by some new activities!