Experience from Abroad
Nowadays, the study of the Thai language has become widely recognized by Chinese students in Guangxi and Yunnan. As necessary tool for business, many continue studying Thai in Thailand after a few years of study in China. Also, Chinese students from Nanning College for Vocational Technology have been studying Applied Thai at RMUTP for several years, and their Thai skills have progressed rapidly.
I am Asst. Prof. Patchanee Manawanithcharoen, a lecturer from the Faculty of Liberal Arts, RMUTP. In 2010, I had an opportunity to be a guest lecturer teaching Thai language for three months at Kunming University of Science and Technology (KUST) in China. I would like to share my experiences and what foreign teachers should be aware of when teaching in KUST.
Language Barrier – I spoke very little Chinese, and my 120 students never studied Thai language before. English was the only language of instruction that seemed to be effective. To avoid getting lost in translation, it is necessary that the teacher possess good command of English to communicate to students. Most of my students understood English well, and more importantly, they were incredibly enthusiastic about discussion and debate on a range of topics.
Preparedness – I had to be well-prepared for class, and make sure any questions from the students were not left unanswered. Otherwise, they would react negatively toward me in the case of uncertain explanation. On the other hand, the students would show their appreciation if their questions were clearly answered.
Punctuality – The students here were very on time. They usually came and studied in class before the lesson began. They were quite competitive and always concentrated on studies even if studying Thai was difficult for them.
I have noticed that a number of Chinese students prefer to study Thai language to better their chances of professional advancement in China or abroad. Looking back, the question is: “what goals should we strive for in education in order to compete with other nations?”