Teach English in Longping Zhen - Huanggang Shi

Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Longping Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Huanggang Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.

Teaching Phonics to Thai students can be challenging especially for new teachers who have very little exposure to Thai language. However, with diligence and a great deal of passion for teaching, the job won't be that huge of a hurdle as it used to be at the start. To begin with, it is important to note that Thai students, in general, do not have enough exposure to the English language outside the school. English terms are barely heard and seen on TV or even in signages on the roads or in the malls. This is a very important factor to consider so that teachers understand why students have very little understanding of how English phonics works, or else, a teacher would end up annoyed and exasperated. I am a Phonics teacher to 2nd grader kids in a public elementary school in Thailand. Here are some of the most common challenges I faced in my teaching experience. First, the Thai alphabet does not have an equivalent for letter "v". Because of this, they usually produce the sound of "w" instead of "v". Thus, the word "van" and "wan" would be both pronounced as /waen/. They would also say /oʊwən/ for "oven", /oʊwər/ for "over" and /wɑlibɔl/ for "volleyball" . In fact, if you go to a convenient store and buy a sandwich, the storekeeper would ask you, "wave?" (which is a short term for microwave oven), but it would sound like /weIh/? Second, Thai students often interchange the sounds of "r" and "l". When I introduced the word "ram" and asked a 40-kid classroom, the most heard sound was /læm/ instead of /ræm/. Similarly, they would say /wɛli/ for "very". Third, students confuse "s" and "t". I remember on day 1 when I did a roll call of my students'names, one of the students'names was "Chotiros" and so I confidently read it /chOtIrOs/, but to my surprise, they immediately corrected me saying it's /chOtIrOt/. This, however, only concerns the final and middle sounds. They can correctly pronounce the words "sun" "see" and "Sunday", but they would pronounce "bus" as /bʌt/, "best" as /bɛt/, and "miss" as /mIt/. Similarly, you would hear them say /loʊz/ which is "rose". Fourth, they tend to neglect the final /s/ sound. This results to a struggle in assessing the students during a speaking test about plural form of regular verbs. Students would say "three girl" (although they can correctly write "girls" during a dictation test). In the same way, verbs in singular present tense can be challenging for them, as well. Students would say "He walk." When corrected, they may start saying "He walk-s." That's still incorrect but with more practice, students will be able to perfectly say "He walks." Lastly, students tend to produce a 2-syllabic sound for the consonant blends such as /st/, /sp/, /sk/, and the like. For example, they would pronounce "star" as /satar/, "spaghetti" as /sapəgɛti/, and "sky" as /sakaI/. This is mainly because they have a notion that the letter "s" produces a /sa/ or /s^/ sound when in fact, letter "s" has just a mere /s/ sound. Teachers should be very careful when introducing the /s/ sound and make sure that students don't produce a final vowel sound next to /s/. Having said all of these, it may seem that the job is very frustrating. Well, I found out that it’s not frustrating as it seems. There are two effective strategies that enabled me to help the students minimize their pronunciation errors. I find it really effective to demonstrate the proper mouth position. The teacher must himself/herself show how it is done. This allows the students to mimic the proper mouth position and consequently produce the correct sound. It is important to do a quick look to everyone in the class and not just listen to the majority because the sound that the majority of the class produces can be deceiving. Remember, what the teacher is hearing might just be the big voices of the good students who are more likely to read aloud because they are confidently correct. For example, when the entire class is asked to read the word, “map”, the teacher would probably hear the right pronunciation, but if he/she quickly looks at the mouth of all the students, he/she would notice that some students are saying it but not closing their mouth for the /m/ sound, which is really wrong. Therefore, the teacher should show how the proper mouth position is done and correct those who do not demonstrate it properly. Drill is also very important. Allowing the students to repetitively say the right sound can significantly minimize their error. I usually allot 3 days to teach a certain sound before I introduce a new sound. That time frame already includes presentation of the topic, group activities, individual written test and individual reading test. I have around 40 students in each class but I maximize my time by selecting only 4 words to read and I do this while students do an individual fun worksheet (may be like a coloring page which is related to the topic). Previously learned words should also be regularly reviewed to assess learning retention. Fun. Phonics class should be fun. We must remember that these are kids. Games and prizes can be of great help. Prizes don’t have to be costly. As for me, sometimes I print small coloring pages of their favorite TV characters. Praises and creative ways of applause can enliven the class, too. Also, we must give them ample time to catch up. As I have mentioned earlier, Thai students don’t have enough exposure to English language outside the school. They need enough time to grasp everything. Teaching the Thai students may be challenging but it’s very rewarding. Thai kids are very generous of their love and kindness to teachers. None can reciprocate my gladness whenever I see my kids improving their pronunciation while having fun in our class.