Home Papers and Articles Teacher Training and Development From Hero to Zero: The Evolution of a TESOL Practitioner
Print E-mail

From Hero to Zero: The Evolution of a TESOL Practitioner 




The 1999 Education Act was supposed to be the educational catalyst for change in Thailand; however, eleven years on and there seems to be little improvement especially in rural areas. As a university teacher in the north-east of Thailand, I have seen the problems that university students have learning English. The majority of these difficulties have been fossilised (Johnson 1992) over the years, resulting in students having a very low level of English language competency. World Bank (2009) quoted figures from 2006 which state that approximately 40% of 15-year olds performed at or below the most basic literacy level in the International Student Assessment evaluation program compared to upper income countries which have a level of 10%. It is easy to give up and say that this is the way it is supposed to be in a developing country; however, I have always been of the opinion that anything is possible and with the right motivation and presence of mind there is always hope for the future and that nothing needs to be considered as a lost cause.


In addition, having completed initial teacher training for primary and secondary school teachers for my university, it became evident through anecdotal evidence, as well as with my own eyes and ears, that the traditional quick-fix two day training event or one week intensive course was not working. I listened to their grievances and sympathised with their predicament; however, I was continually told how it was impossible for one person to implement change and make a difference when the government seems to have failed in implementing the 1999 Education Act successfully.


Using my past experiences as a soldier in the British Army in conjunction with what I had learned from teaching further education students of English in England for eight years, secondary school students in Bangkok for two years and the university students in Udon Thani Rajabhat University (UDRU), I targeted “five pathways to evolution” as the core areas of performance to illustrate the blending of knowledge and understanding, the cognitive skills and practical application involved in taking the giant strides needed in my struggle to improve the quality of English language teaching and learning in Thailand.


Over the years, the general public has seen what happens when there is revolution in the streets of Thailand; there is no change in the situation and the problems still remain. Evolution, not revolution works in Thailand as the pace of life is slow and there is a reluctance to change, especially if it is seen as being instigated by “outsiders.” What is needed is collaboration and cooperation in order to instigate effective change.


Access PDF here.

steves-english-zone.com, Powered by Joomla! and designed by SiteGround web hosting