Team Teaching English with International English Speaking Volunteers at Watphratahatwittaya School

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Phramaha Tharabun Knuchinda
Ellen Kert



Since 2003, Teachers from PTY (Watphrathatwittaya) and English speaking volunteers from Openmindprojects (Nong Khai, Thailand) have worked together to improve and enhance English teaching for PTY students. (Novices aged 13-18). Volunteers included people of all ages from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Teachers, volunteers and students benefit from the experiences. This paper will describe the teaching practices that worked best and enhanced students' performance the most.

Teaching effectiveness increased when English speaking volunteers and Thai teach­ers planned lessons, taught and assessed student performance together. While language and cultural barriers presented many challenges, working through them together improved the working relationship and resulted in lessons that better served student needs.

The Thai English Curriculum is too difficult for many students and leaves little time for creative teaching. Student performance improved when classes focused more on developing speaking, listening and comprehension skills. English speaking volunteers bring the skills and experience to the classroom that are required to do this. Thai teachers ensure that compre­hension skills improve with speaking and listening. Rote recitation and grammar exercises without comprehension are replaced by real communication (verbal and written) with under­standing.

Several student projects were particularly successful in achieving these goals. They included speaking contests, internet research projects, student presentations, email commu­nication, newsletters and comprehension games. Student participation and performance in­creased with these activities.

In summary, educational reform can be more effectively achieved through creative team teaching that combines the skills and experience Thai teachers and English speaking volunteers possess.

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