Thailand – On to millions of students…

When I first volunteered to do some training in Thailand five years ago I had no idea how big this would all become. Now it’s 2007 and we have the job of training teachers in every single school in the country. With tens of thousands of schools it’s a big, big project to do. Of course as with any sustainable education project I’m not going to have to do it all myself!

The county is split up into 600 areas so this week we have had one teacher from each area come to Bangkok. Unlike many countries this was very much “professional development” instead of “teacher training” as they were really good teachers. The idea is they get a rough idea of what Genki English is all about, then head back home to train the other teachers who already have all the materials.

And they were great. The only weak link in the chain was me not having enough Thai to explain all the complicated stuff! But luckily we got around that as the new Genki English manual for Thailand is all in Thai, so we got the teachers to come up and read the passages. This worked really well in that it removed me from the proceedings quite a bit, which is always a good thing as the teachers themselves will be conducting workshops when they head back home. Plus it also meant I don’t have to worry about learning the Thai for things like “quantum mechanics” or “genetic engineering” (yet!).

Anyway, it was a physically tough week, doing so many hours of Genki English everyday at such a high speed is a sure way to lose a lot of weight, but the teachers were loving the songs and games and were getting really into the whole motivation aspect of what this is all about. The teachers who were here for the second time helped even more by relaying stories of their students getting penfriends abroad from the projects and how well the songs were working in their classes.

The next thing will hopefully be a tour round the provinces to teach smaller groups of teachers the more advanced stuff, and that means I might have to be here for quite a while next year. But what with the wonderful food, cheap prices ( I saw “Transformers” on Thursday on the biggest screen in Asia for about 500 yen!), and unbelievable genki teachers who really understand how education is important for their students, and I don’t think I’ll have any complaints!

Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genki—fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!