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Published: January 24th 2009
Notice that females and males are not mixed but occupy each side of the classroom. Also, the boys are much more animated, boisterous, challenging, etc. while the females are more subdued and must be encouraged to try a phrase or two in English. However, they are often more proficient when trying. The approach used is to ask the students to come before the class and state what they believe a word or phrase on the board means. They must speak the phrase out load to the class. While daunting, teacher gives five extra points if they try, regardless if they get it right.
We are about 2 hours south of Bangkok and about 15 minutes by scooter to the Gulf of Thailand. On a map, this would be about 45 minutes from Rayong, and about 13 kilometers from the small town of Ben Phe, which is the jumping off harbor to the touristy island of Kho Samet. While 13k in Canada is not far to travel, here in rural Thailand there is much to see and experience even in this small distance.
We have been volunteering some time to teach English at a local school by the name of BonSongSalung. Basically, we are helping a local Thai English teacher with English speech. Students here are often very well versed in English grammar/reading, etc. However, with little chance to hear spoken English there is little opportunity to learn what words in English actually sound like. Consequently, students are very reluctant to talk and when they decide to do so it is normally ventured, bravely, but in a barely audible whisper. These classes are immensely enjoyable and satisfying to me. The approach is very informal and the students seem to get a kick out of them as well. I have gathered that normally the ambiance
Ready for class! I teach only for two hours (one class each hour), after the lunch break.
is more structured and somber. It is about a half hour drive to the school.
The area that I am living is rural and the "Our Street" section of this blog entry gives some indication of what an early morning walk will turn up.
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