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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Thailand’s English level drops for the third year

    English skills in Thailand have dropped for the third year in a row with an English language proficiency score considered to be “very low.” In the past year, Thailand’s ranking dropped from 74 out of 100 countries to 89, according to the 2020 English Proficiency Index by EF Education First. The index is based on test results from 2.2 million adults from 100 countries and regions.


    Thailand scored 419 out of 800 according to the English Proficiency Index, which is considered “very low.” Thailand ranks 20 out of 24 countries surveyed in Asia and 7 out of the 8 in Southeast Asia, topping Myanmar. Singapore scored 611, ranking number 1 in Asia with “very high” English proficiency, followed by the Philippines with a “high” proficiency score of 562.


    According to the report, the lack of English proficiency in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka hampers access to jobs in the tourism industry which makes up 10% of their economies.

    With comparatively low wages and beautiful scenery, these countries already attract over 38 million visitors per year. These visitors are mainly concentrated in resort areas. In order to spread the wealth more evenly to different regions and open jobs in tourism to more of the people who want them, schools will need to do a better job teaching English to all students.


    Thailand has been on a downward trend for the past 3 years. In 2017, Thailand ranked 53 out of 80 with a “low” proficiency score of 49.7 (using the previous scoring system.) In 2018, Thailand ranked 64 out of 88 with a “low” proficiency score of 48.5. In 2019, Thailand ranked 74 out of 100 with a “very low” proficiency score of 47.6.

    Thailand's English level drops for the third year - English Proficiency Index | The Thaiger

  2. #2
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    Saudi at 98/100 looks like steady employment from here on in. Surprised to see Portugal* at 12/100.

    *tbh I know diddley boo about Portugal

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by happynz View Post
    Saudi at 98/100 looks like steady employment from here on in. Surprised to see Portugal* at 12/100.

    *tbh I know diddley boo about Portugal
    You lie, I don't think you know diddley boo about Portugal . LOL

  4. #4
    Your local I.Q. Monitor
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    Describable in one word by Thais when they are asked why their english isn't improving. "Kikiet".

  5. #5
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    40 years ago many more Thai's spoke decent English. You could go to any mall and have a clerk willingly help you to shop. Now if you ask for help they disappear. I dont think its laziness, I think its the nationalism that has just grown and grown and grown. We are Thailand are great, we dont need help or integration with the rest of the world. Parents did not want to learn it because of this and now its passed onto the kids. Really sad. As 40 years ago Thailand was leaps and bounds ahead of Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia. Now they have fallen behind. Laziness is a factor but not just in learning the language. Thai's are increasingly lazy overall.

    With all the work being done on my house only the foreman and lead contractor are Thai, every worker is either Burmese or Cambodian. 30 years ago when we built our first house they were all Thai.

  6. #6
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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  7. #7
    Pedantic bastard
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    From what I have seen, they teach it so badly. The word lists the kids get have no logical, phonetic link (e.g. rat, cat, bat, fat), it is likely to be car, dog, fish, ambulance. Incredibly stupid way to go about it (and I have seen word lists for a few kids from different schools).

    My boy had private English tuition for all his school time, and indeed even now he is in Uni he still has a private tutor. Took years to undo the damage the school did.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nidhogg View Post
    From what I have seen, they teach it so badly. The word lists the kids get have no logical, phonetic link (e.g. rat, cat, bat, fat), it is likely to be car, dog, fish, ambulance.
    I'm sure this is a subject that has been discussed man times, on TD and elsewhere, still it bears repeating that the education system is not equipping the students with the skills they need. At the high level the Basic Education Core Curriculum looks like a carefully produced master plan, but it doesn't produce students with good English. Certainly laziness is a core issue. We are all a bit lazy. If I had been told at school that I only had to turn up most days and be sure to sing the national anthem to make it into uni then I'd have been as idle as anyone at a Thai school.

    Given a chance, I'd change the system from School Directors forcing teachers to pass everyone at exam time so that they, the Directors, look good, to one where Directors were obliged to fail at least 5% of their students every year. That would shake things up a bit. A lot, actually. Of course that will never happen, but there should be a more rigorous process for encouraging the success of those who work hard and punishing the lazy who drag everyone else down.

    You mentioned phonetics, a good point. I think a realistic way of getting improvement is to focus on primary schools where children have a more natural instinct to learn and engage them with something like Jolly Phonics. I have never taught that but some teachers I know speak highly of it. If the students could arrive in Mattayom with good English communication skills then there might be some chance of them learning the grammar. As it stands it is painful to watch the Thai teachers plug away remorselessly with the passive, the past perfect and the second conditional with teenage students who cannot answer "What did you do during your holiday?"

  9. #9
    Pedantic bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shutree View Post
    As it stands it is painful to watch the Thai teachers plug away remorselessly with the passive, the past perfect and the second conditional
    To be honest, I doubt that many native speakers (outside of those involved in language teaching) could tell what any of those were......

  10. #10
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    most native speakers know what they are and use them correctly but have no idea what the name of the structure is.

    1. Rice is grown in Thailand.. (by)

    2. I have had one heck of a fun life.

    3. If I won the lottery I would retire the next day.

    We know these simply from repetitive speech.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    40 years ago many more Thai's spoke decent English. You could go to any mall and have a clerk willingly help you to shop. Now if you ask for help they disappear. I dont think its laziness, I think its the nationalism that has just grown and grown and grown. We are Thailand are great, we dont need help or integration with the rest of the world. Parents did not want to learn it because of this and now its passed onto the kids. Really sad. As 40 years ago Thailand was leaps and bounds ahead of Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia. Now they have fallen behind. Laziness is a factor but not just in learning the language. Thai's are increasingly lazy overall.

    With all the work being done on my house only the foreman and lead contractor are Thai, every worker is either Burmese or Cambodian. 30 years ago when we built our first house they were all Thai.
    Why aren't you hiring Americans? I hear Snub spent all the pocket money on hot wheels. Hire local.

    MAGA!!!

  12. #12
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Thailand should try this. Tonal so should be easier for Thais and 20 years from now prolly better to get good jobs.


  13. #13
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shutree View Post
    As it stands it is painful to watch the Thai teachers plug away remorselessly with the passive, the past perfect and the second conditional


    Quote Originally Posted by nidhogg View Post
    To be honest, I doubt that many native speakers (outside of those involved in language teaching) could tell what any of those were......

    Perhaps we shouldn't be too critical of our hosts.

    It seems there are veteran native speaking English teachers who struggle with the past perfect too.

    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    1. Rice is grown in Thailand.. (by)

    2. I have had one heck of a fun life.

    3. If I won the lottery I would retire the next day.
    Past perfect | LearnEnglish - British Council

  14. #14
    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shutree View Post
    Thai teachers plug away remorselessly with the passive, the past perfect and the second conditional with teenage students who cannot answer "What did you do during your holiday?"
    I expect the Thai teachers are following the curriculum for each year group. The problem is that many students are nowhere near the level for their year group and the system is inflexible. M1 will follow the M1 curriculum, M2 will follow the M2 curriculum, M3 will follow the M3 curriculum, etc, so there is little to no hope of those who are behind their level ever catching up. The result is students sitting in their English classes with no clue about anything being taught and understandably feeling frustrated and bored. What they really need is classes tailored to their level, even if that level is primary school level, so that they can at least learn something and make some progression.
    Nev has style

  15. #15
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    I have had one heck of a red from AO

  16. #16
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    MAGA, will do it every time. You have had none from me for months. You gave one back as well. So game on.

  17. #17
    ความรู้ลึกลับ HuangLao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverna View Post
    I expect the Thai teachers are following the curriculum for each year group. The problem is that many students are nowhere near the level for their year group and the system is inflexible. M1 will follow the M1 curriculum, M2 will follow the M2 curriculum, M3 will follow the M3 curriculum, etc, so there is little to no hope of those who are behind their level ever catching up. The result is students sitting in their English classes with no clue about anything being taught and understandably feeling frustrated and bored. What they really need is classes tailored to their level, even if that level is primary school level, so that they can at least learn something and make some progression.

    Or.....concentrate and consolidate English education for those who truly desire the task of taking on a second language - practical future use.
    Surely, the general curriculum require major adjustments, as well as teaching techniques and instructors that comprehend the language that they're teaching [preferably native speakers or closely associated]

    Never could understand the obsessive push in attempts to indoctrinate a population [perhaps 90 percentile] in a field that they'll never ever have a reason to be fitting into their lives.
    Chase the percentage that wish to have English in their future lives.

  18. #18
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangLao View Post
    Chase the percentage that wish to have English in their future lives.
    There is some wisdom in this, however it's also true that proficiency in English can open doors that your average Thai teen doesn't even know exist.

    Some do break out and flourish.

    The comparison isn't water tight, but in my opinion English is seen too much like maths and not enough like learning a musical instrument. The laws aren't going to help you too much. You have to go make a noise.

    By the way, we regularly see these tables about where Thailand stands compared to other countries in English fluency, but never, it seems, in other skills. Rampant corruption in the field of education suggests that inefficient teaching and learning in English is hardly an outlier.

    The sponsors of this study, incidentally, are some of the most notorious cowboys around.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    MAGA, will do it every time. You have had none from me for months. You gave one back as well. So game on.
    MAGA gets you triggered?

    Maga Maga MAGA

  20. #20
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    luigi, luigi, luigi, is gone my friend. All hail Ed.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    The sponsors of this study, incidentally, are some of the most notorious cowboys around.
    that was somethng that caught my attention too.

    Not least, because I didnt realise they were that big.

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