Communicative Language Teaching Expo sponsored by the Thai Ministry of Education

After yesterday I was really quite excited about today, and the Thai teachers didn’t disappoint. The main aim was to let more teachers know about Genki English and to let the people in charge see how well teachers take to the materials so hopefully we can get the go ahead to do things on a national basis next year.

There were 6 rooms with activities going on, and participants were free to move between them, but by the time I started my room was packed with several hundred people, I guess being top of the bill really helps.

I started things off with a bit of a warm up, and launched into a series of songs and they were great. The cool thing with Thai teachers is that they seem to be able to sing the songs even before I’ve finished teaching them! The room was massive as well with a huge sound system, plus a projector for the animations and things were great. The only bad thing about it was that they weren’t that into games! The usual format I use in a “first time” workshop like this is to treat it like a lesson, teach them the song then let them practice with a game. But when I started doing games people at the back started leaving. So I asked them what they wanted to do and everyone was “we want more songs!”. So, fair enough! The only problem with that is that the games are usually my break time, and going through so many songs at the speed they were going means I had to be genki all the 3 hours! It was cool though that the teachers were simply writing down the lyrics, so that they could sing the songs in their lessons, they could remember all the melodies.

Then lunch time and another fantastic meal that I didn’t get much chance to eat as I was busy talking with everyone there. The secretary general of the Education Ministry had popped into my workshop earlier ( surrounded by a million people), and came up to me to thank me for showing them all the songs.

Then in the afternoon I had another 3 hour session. It was supposed to be a repeat of this morning, but word seemed to have spread so that there were not only new people there, but quite a few from this morning as well. So I started off with new songs. Then the Education Minister walks in and sits down at the front!! That was a bit nerve wracking! I didn’t really have everyone fully warmed up and was trying to think of a song that could be done really quickly ( as I figured he’d leave pretty soon), but he stayed all the way through Doctor, Doctor, and When, When, When?. Then he stood up and came to thank me, right there in front of everyone!! I was still on a high from the When, when, when? song so wasn’t really sure what was going on, but he was really great, and it was just so nice to get the recognition and being praised by an education minister is a really nice feeling! Wow.

Then around 3 o’clock everyone was getting a little tired, so rather than push on to the very end I decided to cut things short and end on a high note. And that we certainly did. Afterwards I said I’d do some games at the front, so had a nice small group stick around.

I was really amazed by where these teachers had come from, they really were from all over Thailand, from the Southern most islands to teachers from the Northern hill tribes.

Then it was the final speeches and the Education Minister was talking about how impressed he was to see even the older teachers being so genki ( well, he didn’t use the word “genki”!) in my workshops.

So after a shower and a swim it was out for dinner. Perfect. I like Thailand!!

Then tomorrow I’m flying out to Europe

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

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