English is an essential language to learn for many students around the world, including those from Thailand. Despite educational efforts of teaching English to Thai ESL students, it’s not enough. In addition, all Thai students need to master English writing assignment, which are complex intellectual task involving many component skills.
English writing components such as:
- Reading comprehension
- Analytical skills
- Writing skills:
- mechanics: grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc.
- writing strategically
- communicating clear and concise ideas
- effective argument-constructing
- cite sources appropriately
- effective idea-organizing
Unfortunately, some students, especially in Thailand, may lack these needed skills, from poor grammar and syntax, to inadequate reading skills.
So, it’s important to teach Thai university students to comprehend English, as they go out into the world. Therefore, it’s important to tackle the following problems with effective solutions.
Accustomed To Mechanical Memorizing
Many Thai schools are used to memorizing material, rather than actually reading or writing it. This problem stems from the fact that teachers tend to give students worksheets, or giving them a list of rules with examples that they should memorize or copy. While this may encourage production in the classroom, it’s not enough for them to learn any reading or writing skills.
Instead, teachers should create interactive and personalized opportunities for students where proper communication in English is a must.
Not Enough English Writing Practice
In many cases, Thai university students don’t get enough opportunities to practice the whole writing process, which includes brainstorming, drafting, and editing. They might only get the basics done on an essay, but not the entire thing. Plus, they might use apps like Google Translate to help them write English, despite its numerous flaws and lack of authenticity to the spoken word.
Therefore, it’s important to teach Thai students the writing process from beginning to end. In addition, these students should also demonstrate the writing process by participating in drafting, proofreading, and self-editing activities to develop mastery in it. One of the best ways for them to practice is when they’re tasked to write a daily English-language entry in a personal journal.
Limitations On Editing
During the writing process, there has to be a point where the student has to edit their work. But before that can happen, students have to receive the correct feedback for their work. However, if Thai students are only given self-editing checklists, then they’ll spend more time editing, and trying to figure out what went wrong in their essays.
Instead, teachers should consider enforcing a cursory proofreading requirement, so that it can be easier for students to pinpoint what parts need attention in their essays right before their due date. This allows them to learn how to spot mistakes and fix them.
They’re Used To Grading Without Feedback
While Thai students may receive some feedback on their writing assignments when they receive their grades, they may not fully understand what mistakes were made; or, they may not always receive guidance on how to improve their English grammar on an individual level.
But the truth is, Thai students need all the feedback that they can get – not just from their teachers (through teacher-student conferences), but also from their peers and other reputable sources. Therefore, it’s essential to have writing workshops for these students, so that they can better understand the writing process, and unlock their full potential when they write.
Lack Of Confidence
Many Thai students may question their ability to produce adequate writing, since great English grammar is needed for college and career purposes. Therefore, they may not want to leave the nest, once it comes time for them to leave their institutions and teachers.
Instead, Thai students need to be taught through an intensive English writing curriculum, which should include the following:
- Teacher-student conferences
- Interactive assignments
- Peer learning opportunities
These activities will not only make students more proficient in their writing, but also more confident in using their English skills.
Helping Thai students (or any ESL student, for that matter) learn English through writing shouldn’t have to be frustrating for both student and teacher. Plus, teachers would have to do more than hand their students some worksheets, and expect them to understand that way.
As you keep the above objectives in mind, and stay consistent with teaching, you’ll soon succeed in your ability to teach English to Thai university students, and build a successful career on it.
By Bea Potter
Beatrix Potter is a writer at Academic Writing Service. In her profession, she writes about education, especially educational efforts in Thailand.