The Positives & Negatives of Learning Thai at a Language School
People often ask whether it is worth going to a language school to study Thai, and the answer is always a resounding yes.
Reasons are not solely about learning. There are also some negative aspects that you’ll need to consider too. So in this post we will cover the positives and negatives of language schools and give you some insider tips on the best way to succeed with learning Thai.
Positives of Thai Language School Learning
1. Focus & Discipline
Enrolling in a school to keep disciplined and focussed, to have that routine of two evenings a week learning Thai, without fail. If you aren’t self-motivated, this routine keeps you in check.
2. Meeting New People
Perhaps the primary reason we recommend a language school is because it gets you out meeting people.
Whether you live in Bangkok, Chaing Mai or Phuket (all big places), it’s easy to become isolated and start living in a fish bowl. And what you find when you get out there and start a course is that there are a bunch of people just like you, all in the same boat.
You will get to meet new people, from different backgrounds, some with similar and some different circumstances. The social aspect of learning is as rewarding as the learning.
3. Increased interaction with Thai People
They always say that the key to learning Thai is to speak it with native Thai speakers. When you enroll at a school you get to speak Thai with a teacher. You also get to speak with the staff. Sure, they speak English, but once you learn conversational Thai ,you can try speaking with them.
You also get to meet Thai people who aren’t working in restaurants and bars or maids in your apartment block. Some expats rarely have interactions with Thai people outside of these environments, so it really does open your mind to everyday society.
4. Real-Time Progress Tracking
Being in a class means knowing exactly how good you are. You will actively see how well you score on tests compared with your peers, and how well you are able to answer the teacher’s questions in class.
You will also have the feedback of your teacher during reviews of your test results.
Some people thrive in a competitive environment, while others may be more introvert and prefer not to pitch themselves against the proficiency level of others.
5. Certification & Levels
Okay, so most language school certificates don’t mean much in the real world, but they are a) proof that you have studied Thai to a specific level, and b) a motivator to keep moving forward and reach the next level.
Tests and certificates and moving up to a higher level (class) documents your progress. There is nothing like achieving a high level in language learning.
You go from barely being able to speak a word to actually people able to ask people questions in Thai, and answer questions yourself.
A certificate may also come in handy when applying for a job one day.
Negatives of Thai Language School Learning
Okay, so those are the positives of a language school, but what are the negatives? Here goes:
1. The Cost
Well, it can be expensive. A good school will cost you a fair bit each month. Learning is a great investment but let’s have it right: it can be 10k for 3 months learning, yet you can also buy Thai lesson from ThaiPod101 lifetime membership for around the same price!
So, if you are on a budget, home study is more cost efficient.
2. Rote Learning
Language schools teach you in a traditional way, known as rote learning. They follow a syllabus from books in a classroom setting, working through the chapters until completion. There isn’t much deviation from this, as their job success depends on completion of the modules.
Sure, the lessons can be as fun as the teacher makes them, but the delivery is essentially one dimensional.
Online learning has the advantage of multiple digital tools. Lessons can be rote or interactive, and you can learn on mobile or print out lessons and flash cards.
3. Time Consuming
Starting learning Thai at school at had few responsibilities. Some people just can’t commit to school and, like the gym, a lot of people pay the fee and rarely go – which is a waste of money.
The reality is that it’s commitment. If you are going to attend a language school then you should first assess whether you have the time. Consider the travel time to and from the school too, and that you may be given homework to do.
4. Bad Teachers
It happens. An initial concern were the teachers and how well they would be able to engage with foreign students.
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