When you are ready to go to a school to learn the Thai Language you should be aware of a few things when selecting the best school for you. Each school might have a different method of teaching; it might suit you it might not so make sure to take a look at the course material. Usually the school will let you sit in on a couple classes for free to see if the class is right for you.

From what I have seen there are three popular methods of teaching the Thai Language to foreigners, of course these are not the only methods but they are quite popular among the schools in Thailand.

1. Phonetics – Is a method of taking a foreign language and breaking it down into sounds and text that are familiar to you. So instead of seeing the word ?? which means “to come” in the Thai Language it would be written for an English student as Maa which makes the word more familiar. They also will bring in the use of tone marks in order for you to get familiar with the five different tones that the Thai Language possesses. Then when you start to learn the basics of the sounds and a small vocab they will begin to introduce actually Thai Text for you to learn and read.

This method is the one I personally enjoy because it makes the language more familiar to English and it is easier to remember. However, one might get used to the Phonetics too much and become a little lazy on trying to learn the actually Thai Language Script which I have seen in many students. Personally, I think it is the best method for the beginner to get an idea on how the Thai Language works then one can either stick with it or move on to a different type of studying. However, as I stated before when you start to reach higher levels of the course they will drop most methods of Phonetics and stick to the Thai text.

2. Only Thai Script – This method usually involves the whole course book written in the Thai Language with no English Reference. Usually, the teacher will read a sentence in Thai then spell it out using the Thai Alphabet. You are expected to repeat what she says and eventually memorize what is said. Usually at the same time the teacher will point at examples or act out the sentence. For instance if she said I dropped my pen she would say the sentence in Thai and then act out dropping a pen to the floor so the students will understand. Then you will repeat the sentence in Thai and spell out each word with the teacher’s assistance until you finally have learned the full Thai Alphabet.

This is a good way at learning the Alphabet as you spell out each word as you go along. It might be a bit overwhelming to the new student as he/she might not have a clue on what is going on at first but eventually you get the hang of it and start to learn. I find this is also a good option for Foreigners that do not know the English Language. Usually the Phonetics above is created for the English Language. If you only know Russian for instance it does not matter in a class like this because people are only speaking the Thai language. Personally, I am not a big fan of this method; I find it to slow to learn the basics quickly. That is just my experience with it, some people love how it works. As I have said everyone learns differently.

3. Learn Like A Child – This is also a popular method. When you are a child you learn by experience. Pointing at a dog and saying “what is this?” Then someone tells you it is a dog, you just learned the word dog. Some Thai schools focus on methods like this. The whole class is in in the Thai Language where the teachers often draw on the chalkboard, use photos and act out scenarios to make you understand. For example they might do a day at the park. Drawing a park on the board and showing photos of people riding bicycles, going fishing, walking in a field of flowers and so forth. The class will be speaking all in Thai so you can relate the examples with the Thai word or words being said. It is much like method two except you are not strictly memorizing you are just remembering a story. Of course this type of class will also introduce the Thai script when they feel you start to get the basic of the Thai Language down.

These are only a few of the popular methods that are available to you when you are searching for a school. Every method has something to offer and it really depends on the individual and the way their mind works when they learn. I did not like method two but that does not mean it is a bad option. It just didn’t personally work well for me, for you it might be the perfect way to you to learn. As I stated above try to check out a few schools and sit in on a class session. You can then get an idea if the teaching method works for you. My big mistake was I signed up to the first school I went to and ended up quitting that school and started to learn a different method. Some of the schools can be a little aggressive to get you to sign up, just stand firm say you will think about it and get back to them later.

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