วันพฤหัสบดีที่ 12 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2555
Message From Kru Ekachai - July
English as the Lingua Franca of the ASEAN Community 2015
It’s just around the corner! Is Thailand ready?
The long-awaited economic integration, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), of 10 member states of ASEAN will commence in a few years. According to Article 34, The Charter reaffirms that English is the working language of ASEAN. In a nutshell, English will be used as means of communication among 600 million people of different linguistic backgrounds across the ASEAN region. Are we ready to become one economic zone and embrace English as an official language?
It is a sad but true story that most Thais still don’t know much about ASEAN. Moreover, the inadequate English proficiency of our people is a big problem that needs to be tackled immediately. We have to admit that the Thai people, in terms of English, are not as good as countries like Singapore, the Philippines or Malaysia. Students could not pick up the basic language skills despite going through 12 years, more or less, of classroom learning. Many graduates enter the work force unable to communicate at even a basic level. At worst, the majority of Thai teachers of English are not able to conduct lessons in English language.
The method of English teaching in Thailand needs to be revamped. As far as we know, students spend many years studying English grammar but neglect communication skills. The problem resulted from focusing on grammar rules and reading skills in teacher-centred classrooms because Thai education system is the overemphasis on exam scores.To boost communicative skills , Thailand’s Education Ministry has decreed 2012 as English Speaking Year in all schools. The project requires students and school practitioners to speak the language at least one day a week. Can this project accomplish? Only time will tell!
As a dedicated English teacher, I’ve put my heart and soul into this blog to pave the way towards the ASEAN Community for our young generations since its debut. The uniqueness of ASEAN CORNER is the integration between the knowledge of ASEAN and the learning of the English language. Frankly, it’s a time consuming task to gather information from sources and to create various kinds of quizzes month after month. But it really dawns on me that what I have done is beneficial to those who seek the knowledge of ASEAN and want to master the English language skills.
In closing, the government should think of ways to raise the English language awareness among the general public and put preparing English for the AEC on the national agenda. Moreover, English must be taught through the use of English at an early age of the students. The Ministry of Education should find more trained and qualified Thai teachers with English communication skills. It's high time to produce our own human resources and then let them teach at schools across the country. I think it's great to stand on our own legs. Last but not least, all sectors of the Thai society - including government, private sectors, educational institutions, and media - must work hand in hand to encourage Thai people to speak more English in their daily life.
Thank you for your time and interest,