English is among the most spoken languages in the world, giving it a global appeal. It improves a person’s career prospects and chances of reaching out to a broader audience base. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Asian countries like Thailand want to include English early on in their curriculum.
The pandemic has forced schools and colleges to shift online. Teachers have to now conduct classes over video calls and Zoom meetings. E-learning is a relatively new concept for educators in Thailand. It is quite different from traditional classroom learning.
English is a tough language. You might get the grammar right but the prose and poetry are the tricky bits. Students often struggle with english literature assignments and papers.
Don’t worry, though, I have a few e-learning strategies that you can apply to teach English to students in Thailand.
Elements of English E-learning
English is part of most primary and secondary school courses in Thailand. Children start learning the language as early as 8 years old. However, Thailand still has a long way to go in terms of English proficiency.
English has two main aspects- language and literature. The language aspect deals with grammar, sentence structure and syntax.
With the literature aspect, students learn about all prose and poetry. But before we delve into all that, here are the 5 elements of English e-learning that teachers must focus on.
Listening and comprehension are one of the first things that you learn about in any language. In the traditional classroom, the teacher would ask the students to communicate in English. In the e-learning environment, teachers can try dictating oral passages, uploading audio clips for students to listen to and follow.
Once the student is well-versed with listening and comprehending English, you can move on to reading. Here, teachers can send out text passages, recommend books to students and ask them to read it out loud. In e-learning, students can even use voice recognition platforms to improve their punctuations and pronunciation.
Learning how to speak English is not that difficult once you know how to read and comprehend the language. However, spoken English slightly different from written English. So, here the teachers must focus on teaching students all about tonality, pronunciation, and language usage.
Now comes the hard part- written English is not the same as spoken English. And the difference is especially prominent in countries where English is a secondary language. In e-learning, teachers can create customized curriculums and assessments for students to explain grammar and sentence structure.
Good writing skills also improve your job prospects. And other than the conventional job opportunities, it also opens new doors in the digital marketing space. Students often try their hand at blogging, writing long narrative blogs about a wide range of topics that interest them.
In Thailand, the English language is modified to suit the local dialect. This is prominent in spoken English wherein native words are a part of the colloquial tongue. In translating local languages to English, the student gets in-depth insights on the language and its usage.
Smart Concept mapping
Concept mapping is an effective way to help students understand and correlate multiple concepts pictorially. In the virtual learning space, teachers can include infographics, flowcharts, and graphs to explain grammatical concepts.
Concept mapping is a graphic organizer to guide students who have trouble connecting different ideas together. In English, concept mapping can be used to explain grammatical concepts like verb, prepositions, speech, tense etc.
With concept maps, students learn about different parts of speech together, with one another. This makes learning a holistic process.
In traditional classrooms, the focus is on memorizing the definitions of these grammar terms. With concept maps in your virtual classrooms, students also understand how to apply the grammar rules in everyday usage.
Applying Bloom’s taxonomy
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a tried and tested teaching technique that has made its way from the research fields into classroom education. Teachers can apply this for K-12 to college-level curriculums.
The main objective of Blooms is to cover the three main domains of learning- cognitive, affective, and sensory. The grammar concepts are divided into different steps, and each aspect is dealt with separately. With each level, the learning becomes more complicated.
Instead of dumping everything on the student at once, Blooms gives teachers a way to gradually increase the information exposure.
There are 6 primary levels in this teaching strategy. I will try to explain each step and how to best execute it in your English class:
- Knowledge- deals with the “what” aspect of the curriculum. i.e. the grammar rules, parts of speech etc.
- Comprehension- deals with the “how” aspect of the language. i.e. the application of the English language
- Application- deals with the “where” aspect of the language. i.e. where can we use the parts of speech in a sentence?
- Analysis- deals with the “why” aspect of the language. Here, students understand the basics of grammar and its usage.
- Synthesis- here, students learn to correlate and combine the various grammar rules for a more comprehensive understanding of English.
- Evaluation- here, the students learn to identify the areas where they need to improve their language and work towards it.
Classroom assessment techniques
Classroom assessment techniques or CATs are quite popular in the e-learning space. Teachers often apply these techniques to primary and secondary level education. This is a little bit different from traditional assessments done in classroom learning.
Here, the teacher doesn’t grade or give marks to evaluate the student. There are no tests or exams to check how much the student retains what is taught in the class. On the contrary, the students are assessed based on classroom participation, peer behaviour and other factors.
Classroom assessments are more in-depth as they give educators a better idea about how to evaluate students on their classroom participation. This would also involve project works, group activities, outdoor programs, extracurriculars etc.
Aspiring teachers plan their teaching assignments to suit the virtual framework and CATs is simpler for online projects and peer interactions.
The global pandemic plus the visa crackdown has made English education harder in Thailand. People don’t have access to university classes or can go to school anymore. E-learning has come as a lifesaver in these testing times.
Virtual classrooms also promote self-learning making students more independent. You can apply this in classrooms as well. There are platforms where the teachers need to put in a lot of interactive sessions to explain the points to the batch.
The curriculum is interactive and intuitive enough to be self-explanatory—animation videos. DIY tutorials, projects etc. also form part of the learning process. Plus, the evaluation rubric is also optimized and automatic.
As an educator, all you have to do is design the questions and format the assessment sheets. The responses and marks calculation are all computerized. It saves both the teacher and the student a lot of time and reduces the risk of errors.
The bottom line
English, like every other language, has its specific set of rules and grammar. And it is quite easy to teach students English, provided you do it the right way. I understand that virtual learning is still relatively new in Thailand, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made things all the more difficult.
I hope that these e-learning techniques would help teachers improve class performance.
Author Bio: As an assignment expert, Mary delivers online sessions at Expert Assignment Help, helping students with writing essays and assignments. She and her team providesproofreading help to students, editing dissertations and research papers. She is also one of the co-founders and education consultants at Top My Grades. Beyond work, you can find her at community homework workshops as a volunteer helping students in need of private tutoring with their homework.