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YouTube Channel: Fluent in Thai by Narisa Naropakorn

YouTube Channel

Years ago, after getting fed up with the timesink of studying Thai courses only to be told that the phrases I worked so very hard to learn were incorrect (often laughable), I went searching for a Thai teacher who taught real Thai.

Not the Faranged Thai or old-fashioned overly formal Thai found in some courses, but real, honest to goodness Thai that wouldn’t receive a smirk in response.

One name kept coming back from fluent Thai speakers such as Rikker Dockum – Narisa Naropakorn (Thai Skype Teacher).

Studying Thai with Khun Narisa was an eyeopener. Some of the materials were so different from what I’d studied previously that I asked other Thais and fluent students of Thai for verification. Time after time she was proven right.

Now, being a hermit I’m not much of a Thai speaker. And as I can only talk to myself for so long my main Thai focus is translating subjects that I find interesting. Some have made their way to WLT.

You might have noticed that Khun Narisa has collaborated with me on useful posts such as the excellent HouseTalk Series (ongoing), Thai Culture: Understanding Greng Jai (เกรงใจ) (even Thais reference this post), TPR: Total Physical Response 500+ Thai Word List Translated, Tim Ferris: Thai Sentence Deconstruction and much more.

Throughout our class time I kept nudging Khun Narisa to get her book out there. Lucky you, she now has a YouTube channel: Fluent in Thai by Narisa.

Each week Khun Narisa will add a new video to the playlist Speak Thai Fluently with 100 Easy Tips. Right now there’s four videos – be sure to subscribe for more.

Here’s a brief explanation of the YouTube channel Fluent in Thai by Narisa:

Khun Narisa: How many times have you felt misunderstood by Thais even though you’ve spent hours studying?

The results I get from testing learners in their trial lesson shows there’s something missing in the Thai teaching market.

Before coming to study with me many of my students started learning Thai from other resources. Some mention usages of Thai words and expressions that are not familiar to Thai ears and it’s my job to correct the inaccuracies.

As a result, my students often ask me, ‘Hey! The Thai you taught me I’d never heard before. Why don’t you make videos for Youtube or write a book?”

So I collected tips to make a series. After testing the tips with my students I’m confident the videos will help you sound Thai (vocab, grammar and tones).

If you want to know more about studying Thai with Khun Narisa, check this out: Interview with Thai Skype Teacher Khun Narisa Naropakorn

Here are a few reviews from language-school-teachers.com: Narisa Naropakorn.

And if you are interested in a free trial lesson with Khun Narisa, just contact her via her site: Thai Skype Teacher.

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Learn Thai With Mod

Learn Thai With Mod

Learn Thai With Mod…

Adjima (Mod) is just as cute as can be. Agreed? So when I came across her YouTube channel, ThaiwithMod, I just had to share it with my buddy Scott, the connoisseur of all things Thai. After poking around, we were both of the opinion that Adjima’s presentation is fun and her enunciation clear, making her YouTube channel perfect for newbies to the Thai language.

Learn Thai with Mod, fun & easy!…

I recently added a Thai teachers section in the top nav on WLT (the Learn Thai via Skype: Locating Teachers and Schools link is there too). As I was chuffed with Adjima’s method of teaching, I asked if she wanted to be included. And she did. She also sent over the below information, perfect for this post:

I was born in Bangkok and grew up in Nakornsithammarat in Southern Thailand, and then later on again I moved back to Bangkok for my studies. After having graduated from Thammasat University, I spent the following four years in international auditing roles which contributed a great deal for my approach to teach my business clients. Throughout those years in the corporate environment I felt my real calling is teaching, which I first started in a language school and now with my own business for the past year.

I really enjoy the interaction with my students and meeting people from around the world. I am delighted with my students’ improvement and enjoy working together towards mutually agreed goals. I tailor my courses according to the need of the students whether they are beginner level people visiting the country or more advanced students wanting to learn Thai for business purposes.

I deliver one-to-one training which I believe is the most successful formula when learning a language as complex as Thai. My goal is to try and incorporate the latest technology and materials into my courses, whether it is supportive online services or Skype training for overseas people and business people with busy schedules or travel commitments.

I use materials from Paiboon Publishing which is range from beginners to advance level and tailor made materials to apply to the level of the students and their needs. I always prefer meeting the student one-to-one whether it is on-line or off-line for a complimentary session to find out what the student wishes to achieve and how we can best work together.

If you want to take Thai lessons from Adjima (Mod) either in person or via Skype, her contact details and information are below:

Adjima Thaitrong (Mod)
YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/ThaiwithMod”>ThaiwithModv
Website: Learn Thai With Mod
Location: Thailand
Times:  8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday – Friday (Bangkok Time +7 GMT ICT Time Zone)
Pricing: 400 Baht per hour. 30 hrs: 12,000 Baht, 60 hrs: 23,000 Baht, 90 hrs: 33,000 Baht
Payment method: Paypal or cash payment
Teaching materials:  Benjawan Poomsan Becker books Paiboon Publishing and tailor-made materials

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Thai Culture: Understanding Greng Jai (เกรงใจ)

Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng jai

Thai culture and the importance of เกรงใจ…

Learning a language is not just about shoveling a bucket of grammar and vocabulary into your head until it explodes. You need to throw a chunk of culture in too. And then blend often, and well.

On the culture side, I believe that getting your head around the concept of เกรงใจ /kreng jai/ is an important part of understanding what makes Thailand tick. That without a working knowledge of เกรงใจ, you just might find yourself running around saying TiT (This is Thailand) more often than you should.

Do you remember when I wrote about heart words in my post, Heart Talk by Christopher G Moore? Well, เกรงใจ is a heart word too.

ใจ /jai/: mind, heart, spirit.
เกรง /kreng/: fear, be afraid of, be in awe of, dread

Fear seems a bit strong, but in English we use it softly softly as well: “I’m afraid I won’t be able to come today”. It doesn’t mean that we are quaking in our boots, right?

กลัว /glua/: to be scared, to fear

A little bit about Thailand’s class structure…

Getting away from spelling… Thailand has a class structure where เกรงใจ plays a significant role. For the sake of simplicity, in my post a senior (ผู้ใหญ่ /pôo yài/) is someone who is older or has a higher rank due to profession or income. Whereas a junior (ผู้น้อย /pôo nói/), is someone who is younger or lower in rank.

ผู้ใหญ่ /pôo yài/: senior, adult, elder
ผู้น้อย /pôo nói/: junior, inferior, subordinate

ผู้ /pôo/: person, people
ใหญ่ /yài/: to be big, large, great
น้อย /nói/: to be little, few, not many

ผู้น้อย /pôo nói/ is opposite of ผู้ใหญ่ /pôo yài/ in the sense of lower age/rank.
Whereas ลูกน้อง /lôok nóng/ is opposite of นาย /naai/ and เจ้านาย /jâo naai/.

ลูกน้อง /lôok nóng/: subordinate, underling
นาย/naai/: superior, master, boss
เจ้านาย /jâo naai/: boss, head, master

Thai Skype lessons with Khun Narisa…

My aim is obviously to talk about เกรงใจ, but I also wanted to show how fabulous Skype lessons are for increasing both your Thai language skills and knowledge of Thai culture. Because as we all know, culture and language go hand in hand.

I created the contents of this post from a Skype lesson with Thai teacher Khun Narisa (yes, she knows, and yes, she is waving at you :-)

Some of the questions below were asked with readers in mind, others because I needed to clarify เกรงใจ for myself. I needed to clarify because while I did know the basics of เกรงใจ, I wasn’t 100% sure of the fiddly bits. And lordy lordy, there be fiddly bits!

When discussing a subject such as เกรงใจ, it’s important to know who the information is coming from. Because a given, no society is homogeneous. In Thailand, each generation has their own twist on the Thai language and culture, as do those coming from the different areas (North, North-East, East, Central, and South).

Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng jaiSome of the new (younger) generation do not believe in being เกรงใจ as strongly as the older generations do. And some would คิดยังไงก็พูดยังงั้น /kít yang ngai gôr pôot yang ngán/ (speak whatever they think), while the older generation believe that one should be อ่อนนอกแข็งใน /òn nôk kăeng nai/ (soft on the outside, but solid and firm on the inside).

Khun Narisa falls in the 30-40ish age bracket, is well educated, and comes from a middle-class Bangkok background. But same as with the younger generation, someone in their 50’s ++ might have a slightly different opinion than Khun Narisa. I’m making this point because the explanations of เกรงใจ in this post are gathered from Khun Narisa’s personal experience. And that is important to know.

And here we go: A Thai Skype class on เกรงใจ…

Khun Narisa, could you please give us your description of เกรงใจ?

เกรงใจ is to be afraid of disturbing someone. For instance, “I’m afraid to wake you up if I walk loud. So I walk quietly, slowly”.

ฉันเดินเบาๆ เพราะเกรงใจว่าคุณนอนอยู่
chăn dern-bao prór grayng jai wâa kun non yòo
I walk lightly because I’m afraid that you are asleep.

I see เกรงใจ as having two parts:

  1. Not causing discomfort to someone.
  2. Respecting someone of a higher rank or age.

But number one, not causing discomfort, is the main meaning of เกรงใจ.

ทำให้อึดอัด /tam hâi èut àt/: to cause discomfort

In your opinion, how important is เกรงใจ in Thai culture?

Very. It’s the same as the western concept of being well-bred. Being เกรงใจ is being considerate and having good manners, as opposed to being rude and inconsiderate to others. In Thailand, being เกรงใจ will either bind you or cut you from connections and opportunities in Thai society. By not being เกรงใจ, you will disturb the Thais you meet.

Here are two more jai/heart words:

รักษาน้ำใจ /rák-săa náam jai/ (keep water heart): to be considerate, to maintain the wellness in the heart (the happiness) of other people.

เอาใจ /ao jai/: to please, to behave well. It means to take a person’s heart into consideration, to please someone. But if the person is trying too much to please, it could be seen in a negative way .

My buddy Scott says that, “greng-jai is basically a feeling of not wanting to impose. Not wanting to put someone to any inconvenience on your behalf. If you offer to help someone and their answer is “greng-jai” then a similar answer in English would be “I wouldn’t want to be any trouble” or something like that.”

So Khun Narisa, with that in mind, would you please share a conversation with us? How about starting with the offer of buying lunch…

You:Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng jai
hâi chăn líang (kâao tîang) kun ná
Please let me buy you (lunch).

Your friend:
อย่าเลยค่ะ เกรงใจ
yàa loie kâ kreng jai
Don’t do it please (I don’t want to put you out).

ไม่เป็นไร ให้ฉันเลี้ยงเถอะ, เลี้ยงได้
mâi bpen rai hâi chăn líang tùh, líang dâi
It is no bother to me at all. Let me treat you (I) can treat you.

Your friend:
gôr dâi kâ
It’s ok then.

If someone takes up the offer right away, then a Thai could get the idea that the person is too quick to accept (and might even want to be taken care of). In Thailand, by being reluctant to take what is offered, you are showing that you have the ability to take care of yourself.

It’s all about personal dignity. In order to blend in with Thai culture, showing self-respect in this way is a Thai dance worth learning.

But what if you really don’t want to put someone out? If it’s not just a dance and you really are concerned for the person offering to pay? In that case, what do you say?

Two possible options are:

kŏr jàai ayng tùh
Let me pay by myself.

Or (depending on the situation) the little white lie:

ขอบคุณค่ะ แต่ตอนนี้งานยุ่ง คราวหน้าแล้วกัน
kòp kun kâ dtàe dton née ngaan yûng kraao nâa láew gan
Thank you but I’m busy at this time. Next time please.

Here is a scenario I’ve seen played out many times in Thailand:

A senior is talking to someone in a narrow hallway. As there is no other way around the two people deep in discussion, a junior is forced to walk between them, and when doing so, crouches down low. Is this behaviour from a junior to a senior being เกรงใจ?

That is showing respect to a senior by being เกรงใจ. Because if the junior rudely blocks the person the senior is talking to, then the senior might see it as a sign of disrespect; of the junior not being เกรงใจ to him or her.

Ok, so when a student sits on the floor at my feet, refusing my suggestion to sit in the chair next to me, is that เกรงใจ?

Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng jaiThat’s when a student accepts your authority. They could sit next to you (the senior), no problem. These days, in a regular social setting, sitting at the foot of a senior is more about showing your respect, and not so much about เกรงใจ. It is your choice.

But if a student sits or stands higher than a senior, towering over them, then that is showing disrespect.

If the student is from the new generation, they might be a bit careless. But I don’t believe they would intentionally show disrespect. Disrespect is rare in Thai society.

ไม่เคารพผู้ใหญ่ /mâi kao-róp pôo yài/: not respecting the adult

When you feel เกรงใจ you have the thought that what you do might cause tiredness or trouble in the heart of the one you are thinking about.

For example, I’d really like to have Victoria Secret because they have super sexy underwear. Victoria Secrets can’t be easily found in Thailand so I think, “what if I give Madame money when she goes on a trip to her home country?”

But I worry that it would cause her trouble. First, she’s there to spend time with her family, not go shopping for me. And traveling to the shop would take time. Also, if she needed to hire a taxi, it would cost money. And when she got to Victoria Secrets she would have to take the time to choose what sizes and colours would suit me best. And after her purchase, she would have to carry the package back to Thailand and I know that she has a limited luggage allowance.

So you see, I might cause physical, emotional, or mental discomfort to you so I say, “never mind, I’ll just buy anything I can wear at Tesco”.

And that’s เกรงใจ.


When Thai teachers, parents, and adults see a younger person acting up, they will often correct them to have ความเกรงใจ /kwaam grayng jai/ (consideration, thoughtfulness). Do you only correct juniors who are known to you, or can you also correct a stranger on the street?

I wouldn’t correct just anyone on the street because some young people no longer believe in being เกรงใจ. I’d only correct a young child of elementary age and younger, those who still listen to older people.

ความเกรงใจ /kwaam grayng jai/: considerateness, thoughtfulness
มีความเกรงใจ /mee kwaam grayng jai/ to have consideration, thoughtfulness

Correct them with ความเกรงใจ /kwaam grayng jai/ is to gently correct them.

Correct them to have ความเกรงใจ /kwaam grayng jai/ is to correct them so they will be more thoughtful or considerate.

When you were growing up, how did you เกรงใจ your parents?

I tried to not cause inconvenience, discomfort, or be a burden.

On the subject of เกรงใจ and parents, could you please share an example?

Out late at night with a friend, she might say to me, “I don’t want to go home because it would be too dark in the night and I would have to ride in a taxi alone. Can I come and stay at your place instead? Even though I feel เกรงใจ to your parents because my movement around your home in the middle of the night might wake them up”.

chăn kreng jai kun pôr kun mâe ter jang loie
I’m afraid of disturbing your parents,

dtàe chăn kŏr bpai káang bâan ter dâi măi
but can I go sleep at your home?

What other aspects of เกรงใจ are there?

Being superior is also included but it’s not the main description of being เกรงใจ. The main meaning is to not cause inconvenience to the heart; to not cause physical tiredness or loss of energy.

Superior comes into it when someone older or with a higher rank feels that someone who is younger or is lower in rank has done something without caring about their feelings.

อย่างน้อย เขา ก็ควรเกรงใจฉันบ้าง
yàang nói kăo gôr kuan kreng jai chăn bâang
At least he/she should care about my feelings (as I am older/belong to higher rank).

Note that the phrase in parenthesis, “as I am older/belong to higher rank” is unspoken, understood.

They wouldn’t come out and say it to the person directly. But to get a bit of relief, they’d mention it to someone else instead. This is because in Thailand, ผู้ดี /pôo dee/ (well-bred people) wouldn’t talk straight to others. To some Thai people, it would be considered negative, having bad manners.

ผู้ดี /pôo dee/: well-mannered person

Btw, สมบัติผู้ดี /sŏm-bàt pôo dee/ is a book that teaches suitable manners. My generation had to read it when we were younger. If you like, we can discuss the contents in another lesson.

So anyway, a junior would เกรงใจ when showing respect to someone. And a senior would mention เกรงใจ if they are not getting the respect they felt was deserved.

In the west you believe that everyone is equal, no matter what age or rank. But in Thailand we say, “he/she should เกรงใจ me (because I’m older/more senior)”.

(เขา) ควรเกรงใจฉันบ้าง
(kăo) gôr kuan kreng jai chăn bâang
(He/she) should เกรงใจ me some (because I’m older than him/her).

Or a friend would say to another friend:

kun kuan kreng jai ter bâang
You should เกรงใจ her (because she is older than you).

Then there is another side of เกรงใจ, the obsequious side, correct? In Working with the Thais, I read that when someone is too เกรงใจ they are known as ขี้เกรงใจ /khee kreng jai/.

The meaning of ขี้เกรงใจ /khee kreng jai/ is to have the obsessive habit of กรงใจ, sometimes without logical reason.

So a person who is ขี้เกรงใจ /khee kreng jai/ is someone who is obsequious?

They might be seen as weak, but not in the brown nose (ประจบ /bprà-jòp/) way. The ขี้เกรงใจ /khee kreng jai/ person doesn’t have the strength to think of the reasons he should be doing what he’s supposed to do. And this sometimes causes problems.

ประจบ /bprà-jòp/: brown nose, to flatter, fawn

Ah. So this is where คิดมาก /kít mâak/ comes into it?

คิดมาก /kít mâak/: thinking too much, worrying too much, taking something too personally.

Yes. But that’s not the only way the word คิดมาก /kít mâak/ is used (but we’ll save that for another class).

In the workplace being เกรงใจ can make it too slow to get things done on time. It’s like a kind of bureaucracy. They beat around the bush, never getting to the point.

So if one of your employees is being เกรงใจ too much, wasting your time, what phrase would you use?

mâi dtông kreng jai
No need to be fearful (you can say what you think).

This is said by a person of senior rank/age to a junior. Not the other way around. The seniors would expect the juniors to respect them.

But เกรงใจ is not just for juniors showing respect to seniors. Doesn’t it go in the other direction, and between equals as well?

Yes, เกรงใจ is also a consideration between equals and someone lower than you.

Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng jaiSo if you are sitting on the floor and I want to walk past you, it wouldn’t matter if you were senior or junior, to เกรงใจ you I would say ขอโทษค่ะ /kŏr-tôht kâ/ “excuse me”. And if I come to your house I would เกรงใจ you by talking off my shoes at the door. Correct?

Yes. And if someone junior to you is sleeping, you wouldn’t do something loud because you wouldn’t want wake them up. And you wouldn’t want to disturb your neighbour by being noisy, so you would เกรงใจ them.

Basically, if you are being เกรงใจ, then you wouldn’t want to inconvenience those around you.

But in Thailand there is a problem with noise. Neighbours sing karaoke too loud or too late, or have noisy parties until the early morning hours.

The same as in any country, there are noisy neighbours in Thailand too. It comes down to the mindset of personal space, upbringing, etc.

Could you please explain personal space Thai-style?

Generally, people living in cities like Bangkok are taught to leave a small ventilation hole to let people into their personal space. This is น้ำใจ /náam jai/ (water + heart = kindness). The hole is even bigger in people from upcountry. Their agricultural-based society binds them closer their neighbors because they have to ask for help every once in a while. Members of the community are needed to assist with farm jobs, to build new houses, arrange ceremonies, weddings, births, funerals, etc. As individuals cannot accomplish this alone, they need to share their personal space with others.

I noticed that in Thailand there is a pecking order, with the juniors taking care of the seniors. In restaurants the juniors would order more food, make sure everyone’s glasses stay full, check to see that the table is laid out properly, such as that.

That’s not เกรงใจ, that’s a feeling of respect towards the seniors. The seniors wouldn’t mind if the juniors don’t refill their beer glass, order more food, or check to make sure the bill is correct. This behaviour is not expected; it’s not a rule.

But if the senior insists on paying for the meal, the junior would not refuse because the junior is supposed to เกรงใจ the senior in this cultural dance. If the junior refuses, the senior would feel bad because he wouldn’t be able to take care of the junior (ego). The senior then wouldn’t have the opportunity to show themselves as a higher power deserving of respect.

When thinking of เกรงใจ, remember the key word: Discomfort.

อึดอัด /èut àt/: discomfort

Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng jaiSo here we are, at a table in a restaurant. The juniors are all running around taking care of the seniors = respect. This being Thailand, what with having a patronage system and all, the most senior of the group pays. Using this scenario, please introduce another เกรงใจ situation.

If the junior knows that the senior (who always pays) lost his wallet, or has had a cut in salary, then the junior might think of paying the bill.

But ego comes into it. The junior needs to be เกรงใจ because by the junior paying instead of the senior, the senior will feel that he is no longer important (causing harm to the senior’s ego). The senior will feel bad because he is not able to support the group. So if the junior does not เกรงใจ the senior, it will destroy the senior’s feeling of comfort.

So เกรงใจ ties in with a loss of face. The junior does not want to put the senior in a position of losing face?


เสียหน้า /sĭa nâa/: to lose face
รักษาหน้า /rák-săa nâa/: to keep someone’s face

And to avoid his senior suffering from a loss of face, the junior now has to handle the situation by being เกรงใจ?

Yes. The junior might make up a story like, “I won the lottery today, so let me pay”.

pŏm kreng jai têe jà bpen kon jàai
I’m afraid of offending the person who always pays.

pŏm gôr loie rák-săa nâa rûn pêe dûay gaan bòk wâa pŏm tòok lót-dter-rêe maa
As a result I save the seniors face by telling him that I won the lottery.

เพราะผม ไม่อยากให้ เขารู้สึก เสียหน้า
prór pŏm mâi yàak hâi kăo róo sèuk sĭa nâa
Because I don’t want to make him lose face.

And to make people happy, เกรงใจ can cause all sorts of made up stories. White lies. Because with เกรงใจ you might need to be diplomatic.

Made up stories: แต่งเรื่อง /dtàeng rêuang/
White lies: โกหกขาว /goh-hòk kăao/
Diplomacy: มีศิลป ในการพูด /mee sĭn-lá-bpà nai gaan pôot/ have the art of talking
Beating around the bush: พูดอ้อมๆ /pôot ôm/ to speak indirectly because of เกรงใจ

Farangs in Thailand often experience situations that they know are not quite right. The odd occurrences could very well be due to the made up stories, the white lies, the diplomatic ways, all caused from Thais being เกรงใจ. So think of it as Thai people not wanting to cause someone discomfort, unhappiness, loss of face, etc.

Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng jaiI’m forever having to say that I’m full (อิ่มแล้ว /ìm láew/). But I know that to refuse a gift of food might cause someone to be sad, and that’s not being เกรงใจ.

To get around this, while making both of us happy, I first say, “Thank you very much, I’m full”, ขอบคุณ ค่ะ อิ่มแล้ว /kòp kun kâ ìm láew/, and then take just a little bit of the food or drink. And if I am pressed to accept food or drink, I can always throw it away later (unseen, obviously).

In Borneo I was a vegetarian for years (towards the end, only in public). I did this in order to avoid eating a local dish made from meat.

So in Thailand, if you are vegan, vegetarian, Muslim, Jewish, or if your doctor says you cannot have certain foods, then you can excuse yourself from eating, is that correct? And if so, then I imagine you can also use one of the excuses as a little white lie?

Yes, you can use them as needed. Either as the truth or little white lies.

This phrase is useful (and this way they won’t prepare the same food for you next time):

gin mâi dâi kâ
Can’t eat.

mŏr hâam
Dr. prohibit.

Let me see if I can show เกรงใจ in a typical western business setting.

Number one: In the west, a business owner with a lucrative client will sometimes go to crazy lengths to keep that client. The business owner stays out late entertaining the client instead of being home with their family. They will say how lovely the client’s kids are, even if the kids are uglier than sin. The business owner will smile at the client and tell them whatever they want to hear (that hopefully won’t lose their reputation as a decision maker). Because if they don’t, they might upset the client and… no client.

Number two: Let’s say from bad experience that you know that your boss does not like to listen to dissenting opinions. When someone tries to tell the boss that he is wrong, the boss loses his temper. So instead of causing him distress and perhaps losing your job, you tell him what he wants to hear. Would this be เกรงใจ?

But with the true sense of เกรงใจ, the reason you don’t want to upset your client or boss is because you don’t want to cause them unhappiness. It’s not about keeping the client or staying employed. We just want them to be happy. That’s it. They can go ahead and buy from someone else, or hire someone else.

Let’s say that my friend teaches a student who doesn’t dance very well. I’m not a dance expert so I would not tell the parents that the student doesn’t have a future in dance. I have to feel เกรงใจ because it would cause unhappiness in the parent’s heart if I told them so. And I don’t want to cause someone unhappiness.

On the other hand, let’s say I was a dance teacher and I had a student who was terrible. And this dance student expected to have a successful career in dance. Then yes, I would say something because it costs the parents money and I don’t want to be wasteful with their money. Even so, I would still find a way to be gentle (เกรงใจ) with the news.

Thai Culture: Understanding Kreng jaiSo what if your friend was wearing something that looked really awful. Awful enough that people were laughing and joking about her behind her back. And what if you knew that if your dear friend found out she’d be embarrassed and her heart would hurt. What would you do? In that situation, how do you เกรงใจ her?

There is another way: Truth talk.

จริงใจ /jing jai/: sincere (for truth telling)

Is truth talk the same as คิดยังไงก็พูดยังงั้น /kít yang ngai gôr pôot yang ngán/ (speak what one thinks)?

Kind of. But คิดยังไงก็พูดยังงั้น /kít yang ngai gôr pôot yang ngán/ can be seen as having less manners. Even with truth talk, you should เกรงใจ a little. You can speak the truth, but in a gentle way.

How would you use จริงใจ /jing jai/ (truth talk) in a sentence with a friend?

jing jai gôr dâi
You can be truthful with me.

How acceptable is truth talk in a เกรงใจ society?

In my personal opinion, you would truth talk when the listener:

  1. is open to the truth.
  2. knows that it would cause trouble in society if the listener didn’t know the truth.
  3. understands that it would cause the listener personal embarrassment by not being told the truth.

But before the truth talk, first apologise for having to tell the truth, and then explain the reason for the truth talk (society, personal embarrassment, etc). In that way, the recipient would be more open to listening.

So you are with a friend who is being เกรงใจ to you but you want the truth instead. What do you say?

ไม่ต้องเกรงใจ พูดมาเลย
mâi dtông kreng jai pôot maa loie
Don’t have to เกรงใจ, say it right away!

Rounding up the discussion about เกรงใจ, over all, what important advice would you like to share?

On the subject of เกรงใจ, I would suggest to foreigners that balancing both เกรงใจ and respect is the key. With เกรงใจ you won’t be able to give the full truth and reality, but without เกรงใจ you might be seen as rude or blunt. Then, Thai people might stop wanting to talk with you, or might not feel comfortable working with you.

Thank you Khun Narisa. Just speaking for myself, learning more about เกรงใจ has been extremely helpful.

The main vocabulary introduced…

to be afraid of offending (someone)/to be considerate: เกรงใจ /kreng jai/
thinking too much, worrying too much, taking something personally: คิดมาก /kít mâak/
to be scared, to fear: กลัว /glua/
to be considerate: รักษาน้ำใจ /rák-săa náam jai/
to have consideration, thoughtfulness: มีความเกรงใจ /mee kwaam kreng jai/
to respect: เคารพ /kao-róp/
the respect: ความเคารพ /kwaam kao-róp/
to be disrespectful: ไม่เคารพ /mâi kao-róp/
to be rude: หยาบคาย /yàap kaai/
to be sincere: จริงใจ /jing jai/
to please, to behave well: เอาใจ /ao jai/
to lose face: เสียหน้า /sĭa nâa/
to save face: รักษาหน้า /rák-sĭa nâa/
to have discomfort: อึดอัด /èut àt/
to be overly fearful, modest, timid: ขี้เกรงใจ /khee kreng jai/
sincere (for truth telling): จริงใจ /jing jai/
excuse me: ขอโทษค่ะ /kŏr-tôht kâ/
made up stories: แต่งเรื่อง /dtàeng rêuang/
white lies: โกหกขาว /goh-hòk kăao/
diplomacy: มีศิลป ในการพูด /mee sĭn-lá-bpà nai gaan pôot/
beat around the bush: พูดอ้อมๆ /pôot ôm/
senior: ผู้ใหญ่ /pôo yài/
junior: ผู้น้อย /pôo nói/
person, people: ผู้ /pôo/
to be big, large, great: ใหญ่ /yài/
to be little, few, not many: น้อย /nói/
subordinate, underling: ลูกน้อง /lôok nóng/
superior, master, boss: นาย /naai/
boss, head, master: เจ้านาย /jâo naai/
well-mannered person: ผู้ดี /pôo dee/

Studying the Thai language, Thai culture…

Since starting my Thai studies I’ve learned that you cannot get the full essence of Thai culture from books or audio files. You need help from someone either born into Thai society, or raised in Thailand: Friends, lovers, wives and husbands, or someone like Skype teacher Khun Narisa.

If you are interested in taking Thai language and culture lessons via Skype, Khun Narisa comes highly recommended. By me.

And if you want Khun Narisa and myself to continue on with posts such as these, just let us know.

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Learn Thai via Skype: Online Language Exchange Partners

Study Thai Online

Skyping with online language exchange partners…

In my interview with Fiona from Baby Steps to Fluency (no longer online), Fiona explained how she uses language exchange partners to fast forward her studies. When I asked Fiona where she came by her partners, she mentioned How To Learn Any Language and Unilang.

Armed with google, I went in search of more language exchange sites for this post. I discovered that there are many sites available, with a stretch of attributes. Some are simple. You just sign up, do a search, and make contact. Others have more to them: forums, teachers, classes, video, online chat, resources, etc.

Not all language exchanges offer Thai, so I did a quick look to see who did (shown below). Btw – if you know of more language exchanges, please drop a line in the comments or via my contact form.

Online language exchange partners…

Conversation Exchange
They offer three types of exchanges: face to face conversation, correspondence (pen-pal), text and voice chat. My search came up with 67 Thai speakers wanting to learn English via Skype. Their login dates are recent.

Facebook: Skype Language Exchange group
It’s a simple concept. After you join the group, scroll down through the language exchange requests to find a fit. You can also post language requests of your own.

italki.com Thai
On this site there is the ability to hook up with a Thai language exchange partner, a Thai Skype teacher, or both. There is also a notebook section where you can get your homework corrected (excellent idea) or ask questions. The Questions and Answers section is another place to ask questions. There are other sections, so poke around. When I did a search for Thai speakers, it came back with 500.

Ju Ju Penpals
JuJu is a community where finding language exchange partners is one of the options, but not the main aim. A search for Thai speakers interested in language exchange gave me 78.

Learn to Speak Thai
On this site you can communicate with a language exchange partner via email, text chat, and voice chat. There are a number of interesting resources on the site: word games, library, forum, and a lot more. The tips section is one of the best advice resource I’ve found. There are 7666 registered Thai speakers signed up to learn English.

This is a new community site. Available is chat, blogs, albums and videos (where you post from your trips or whatever), and a forum. When you sign up, you are asked to define your language (whether you want to teach or learn), and your location. After those two are filled out, you can look for a match within registered users. What I liked about this site is that you can also find study partners (needed). There are no Thai matches but it’s early days yet. And while there is no mention of Skype, it’s easy to arrange between users.

There is so much going on at this site (mostly ads) that other than finding a language partner, I’m not sure what they do. There are four Thai speakers listed.

This is a basic language exchange partner connection site. Besides linking up with someone, you can chat, create an online vocabulary list, and play games (but I believe they are English only). There looks to be around 100 Thai speakers on the site.

My Happy Planet
After you sign up to find friends you can watch videos (mostly music videos from YouTube), and then check out their Thai lessons (none at the moment). There are presently 909 Thai partners listed.

Phrasebase Foreign Language Learning
They have put a lot of thought into this site. It has a forum and several sections to learn Thai (phrases, words, etc). You can upgrade by paying US$5.75 a month to learn 500 Thai words and phrases. In the community there are two Thai teachers, two language exchange partners, and ten students. Problem is, it’s been ten months since their Thai community has checked in. I’m hoping that it’s a technical glitch.

Polyglot Club
This site has a simple aim: to learn languages and make friends. It uses the “Polyglot Approach” and the concept of “Active Ear” (I’ll leave you to find out what that is). There is a video section (what you can already find on YouTube) and a forum. Oh, and the Polyglot Club is affiliated with ASSIMIL (a personal favourite, so it has to be good). At a glance this site is worth looking into. A quick search came up with over 40 Thai speakers wanting to hook up with English speakers learning Thai.

Skype Community
Simple concept. Just sign in and then do a search for ‘Thai’ (not ‘learn Thai’ or you’ll get everything for ‘learn’ as well).

Tandem Exchange
This is a simple site to match language exchange partners. There are no Thai speakers at the moment.

If you remember, I interviewed Todd Bryant, the creator of Mixxer. The site is fast, signup is easy. Also easy is looking for a language exchange partner. Each member gets a blog where they can write posts in their target language. To find out more, check out their FAQ. There are at least 140 Thai speakers with an interest in English.

This is a big site: courses, videos, audio and podcasts, grammar, dictionaries, pronunciation & script, vocabulary, phrasebooks, stories, games & exercises (vocabulary trainer, exercises), linguistics, articles, reviews, news & media, online tools & software. My search for Thai nationals came up with ten, three have been active on the site (forum posts).

VoxSwap: Crunchbase
This is basically a social network for learning languages. I was not able to poke around inside because I received a 500 Internal Server Error. There is an online chat area, forum, and members can upload teaching videos. My quick search came up almost 60 Thai speakers.

How to learn Thai via Skype, the series…

This post is part eight of an eight part series.

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Baby Steps to Fluency on Skype Language Exchange Partners

Baby Steps to Fluency on Skype Language Exchange Partners

Fiona from Baby Steps to Fluency…

This is the seventh post in the Learn Thai via Skype series. If you’ve just arrived, feel free to start at the beginning with How to Learn Thai via Skype and work your way up from there.

When I have time to spare, I enjoy reading the experiences of other language bloggers. And not just those from the Thai persuasion. Fiona’s Baby Steps to Fluency (no longer online) is one I follow for awhile.

Young Fiona is on her way to being a polyglot (which is waaaay over my abilities), so it’s interesting to read her mindset.

I don’t have experience with language exchange partners so Fiona kindly agreed to an interview to help me out.

Interviewing Fiona about language exchange partners…

Fiona, could you please tell us about your interest in learning languages?

Fiona from Baby Steps to FluencyI’ve been interested in languages pretty much since I can remember. I grew up to an American mother in The Netherlands – and, though I didn’t speak English, I remember spending hours looking through my mom’s English books, copying different words, trying to pronounce them, and asking my mom what certain words meant. When I moved to America, I learned English ‘for real’, and the ability to talk to a whole ‘nother culture fascinated me. Throughout school, I studied languages – and now, I’m an addict ;)

When did you first start using Skype for language exchange?

The idea of using Skype for language exchange actually snuck up on me. I had been a member of a group Unilang Language chat for quite a while, when we started casually having voice chats, which, inevitably, turned into a chat with a medley of languages. After a while of doing this, I started talking to some of the members individually, and started having chats in my target languages with these people. It wasn’t until later that I realized there were actually websites based on this concept.

What is a typical Skype language exchange for you?

Typically, I get together with someone for who English or Dutch is their target language, and where Russian or Spanish is their native language. We usually spend about 30 minutes speaking in one language, and then 30 minutes in the other. When I’m speaking in one of my ‘native’ languages, I correct the other’s mistakes and answer their questions, and when we switch, I get my mistakes fixed and questions answered. To have an effective language exchange, we generally use a mix of text and voice chats, though both have their benefits – at night, usually, I’d do just text chats, whereas during the day, I prefer voice chats.

How many times a week/month do you set up a language exchange?

Depends – since I’m a student, I usually have no more than one or two chats a month during the school year – I generally have many chances to talk in my target languages during the school day. During the summer, I try to get in at least one chat a week.

How long is a regular language exchange session?

Usually an hour – 30 minutes per language. If we both have more time, we talk longer, and if we have less time, we decrease it to 15 minutes per language. However, an hour total seems to be perfect.

Do you follow a structured exchange as suggested by the Cormier method?

My language exchanges tend to be similar, but I’ve never purposely followed this method. I tend to go with the flow – if we’re having a great time talking about a subject in a specific language, we will continue talking in that language until we feel like changing. 30 minutes per language is a guideline, not a rule. I focus on having fun and learning, if that means deviating from the different methods, that’s fine!

Do you record your language exchanges? If so, what software do you use?

I try to record my language exchanges when I can. I find it very beneficial to listen to our discussions later, so that I can review corrections and listen to my accent so that I know what to improve on. I use Audacity.

Other than Skype, what other resources do you use for language exchanges?

If I am doing a voice chat, a headset is integral – it reduces echo and makes it easier to understand each other. I keep my language books close by incase I want to look something up, and as mentioned before I like using Audacity to record my conversations.

Do you prefer language exchanges with a group, or one on one?

For serious studying, I like doing languages exchanges one on one. It is easier to concentrate talking to one person, and I tend to get more done. However, for ‘fun’ discussions, group chats are great – not quite as effective, but it’s fun talking to a lot of people and listening to people with more knowledge talk can expose you to more vocabulary. So, I speak mostly one on one, but try to talk to groups as well.

Where do you normally find your language exchange partners?

Most of my language exchange partners come from message boards and other websites I’m a member of. I hardly ever go to dedicated language exchange websites. Most of my partners come from How To Learn Any Language and Unilang.

How many language exchange partners do you juggle at one time?

I don’t have more than one or two per language. Most of my partners are friends, so we usually just hit each other up when we feel like chatting, so it doesn’t feel like I’m ‘juggling’ partners, per se – I just focus on talking to a couple people that I feel are particularly knowledgeable.

Is it difficult to find a good language exchange partner fit?

It can be. Not only do you need someone that speaks your target language, you need to find someone who has similar interests (so you have something to talk about), similar goals, and knowledge of grammar and other aspects of your target language. I have gone through a lot of language partners before I found one that I really click with.

Have you ever had a teacher driven language exchange?

No, I haven’t. However, I am planning on asking my language teacher next year to do something similar – I’ll let ya know how it works!

What advice can you give to students considering a language exchange partner(s)?

Make sure you know each other’s goals so that you can both get something out of the exchange. Also, make sure it is someone with similar interests and personality, because a language exchange partner that you don’t get along with or can’t talk to won’t be your partner for very long.

Baby Steps to Fluency

How to learn Thai via Skype, the series…

This post is part seven of an eight part series.

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Todd Bryant and Mixxer, the Language Exchange Community

Interview: Todd Bryant from Mixxer, the Language Exchange Community

Learning Thai with Skype language exchange partners…

For the past two weeks I’ve been writing about Skype and learning Thai. How to learn Thai via Skype was a brief introduction. I then interviewed my Thai Skype Teacher, Khun Narisa Naropakorn to share how she teaches Thai via Skype. Thai language school Study Thai Online graced us with a guest post: Study Thai Online via Skype. And I even got into the act with My Skype Thai Language Learning Experience. On Monday, I went in search of Skype Teachers and Schools.

As I have no experience with language exchange partners, I went to Todd Bryant, who manages one of the top language exchange communities around: Mixxer. It was Todd who came up with the idea for a Skype language community during a collaboration between himself and another academic, Professor Akiko Meguro.

Todd Bryant from Mixxer, the Language Exchange Community…

Todd, as a Foreign Language Technologist at Dickinson College, what does your job entail?

I support any technology that would help the professors of foreign languages in the class. Many of our classes do Skype language exchanges. I maintain the Mixxer, update our computer labs, or organize the language exchange events for our classes. They also use a lot of social software for collaborative writing and podcasts. I give workshops on the topic and help maintain the college blog and wiki.

How do language exchange sites work?

They’re very simple. Everyone registers and specifies the language(s) they are able to teach (their native language), and the language(s) they would like to learn. They then do a search for a partner based on this criteria, so someone who speaks English and is learning Thai would do a search for Thai speakers learning English. The two people agree on a time to meet and spend half of the time in each language.

Is Mixxer set up differently than other language exchange communities?

The primary difference is that it is strictly an educational site. It’s not like the international friend and dating sites. It also provides the ability for teachers to organize “events” for their students by inviting individual learners from the Mixxer to contact their students at a given time.

How can users get the most out of Mixxer?

The most important advice is to be active. It’s helpful to have several partners, so send at least five people a message suggesting times to meet. Be sure to express your willingness to help them in the message as well.

Come prepared to the language exchange. Have some questions prepared in the target language to avoid long pauses in the conversation.

Remember that the other person isn’t a teacher. You’re going to still want to either be enrolled in a class or have a grammar book to give yourself some structure.

Some language exchange sites suggest that the users be at least intermediate level in their target language, but can beginners use the communities as well?

Our Japanese students start at the end of their first semester, when they are still very much beginners. For beginners, they need to prepare more before the exchange by writing down all of their questions and practicing the related vocabulary. It’s more of an interview for them than an open ended conversation.

Is SecondLife usable for students of the Thai language?

I’m not a big fan of SecondLife. I’ve found the system unreliable, and there’s no demarcation between users interested in learning and “griefers” or others there simply to make mischief.

Along the lines of language exchange sites utilizing Skype, what are the other online resources for students and language teachers? For instance, in a recent search I came across WiZiQ, which appears to be developed around the concept of virtual classrooms.

Those sites are set up pair teachers, which isn’t what we’re about. We focus more on open and free sites that are available to anyone. Honestly, there are so many. These are my notes on Open Content for a presentation: Notes

Teaching sites such as Mixxer and WiZiQ are gaining in popularity with online language learners. With your extensive interest in the subject, what do you see as the future of the online teaching industry?

I think we’ll see more opportunities for language learners to be engaged within a larger community in all aspects of their learning. By being part of a community, all of their reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities can have a true practical communicative function. It may be that students become linked via the online presence of textbooks, through universities, or via websites such as the Mixxer. The challenge is to combine the grammar and content of a traditional textbook with activities and a community of language learners.

Todd Bryant
Foreign Language Liaison, Instructional Media Services, Dickinson College
Mixxer Language Exchange Community | Educational Tech Ideas

How to learn Thai via Skype, the series…

This post is part six of an eight part series.

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Learn Thai via Skype: Locating Teachers and Schools

Study Thai Online

Where to find Skype teachers…

Teaching Thai via Skype is a growing industry. And learning languages via Skype is ideal because the students don’t need to be in the same exact location as their teachers. They can reside in the same city (like I do), or live on different continents.

Being in different countries means dealing with time zones and currencies. To figure out what a Skype teacher charges as well as what time they teach, below are two resources I use:

The World Clock: Time Zones
Currency Exchange Rates: Calculator

Thai Skype teachers advertise on forums, teacher/student sites, etc. And that’s helpful. The downside is that some have either stopped teaching via Skype, or they don’t answer emails.

Note: The teachers and schools listed below are ethical, and experienced at teaching Thai. If you run into any problems, please contact me.

If your Skype teacher is featured below, please drop by to say ‘hi’. And if you teach Thai via Skype, or know of a reputable teacher who does, please let me know via my contact form.

Thai teachers using Skype…

Thai Teacher: Adjima Thaitrong (Mod)
YouTube Channel: ThaiWithMod
Website: Learn Thai With Mod
Location: Thailand
Times:  8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday – Friday (Bangkok Time +7 GMT ICT Time Zone)
Payment method: Paypal or cash payment
Teaching materials:  Benjawan Poomsan Becker books Paiboon Publishing and tailor-made materials

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Feature on WLT: Learn Thai With Mod

I deliver one-to-one training which I believe is the most successful formula when learning a language as complex as Thai. My goal is to try and incorporate the latest technology and materials into my courses, whether it is supportive online services or Skype training for overseas people and business people with busy schedules or travel commitments.

Thai Teacher: Bim
Website: bimbimkha
Email: somjaicindy@gmail.com
Phone: +66 086-352-9722
Location: Bangkok
Times: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday – Sunday
Teaching materials: Benjawan Poomsan Becker books. The courses are extremely flexible, and tailored to best meet each individual student’s needs.

Thai Teacher: Bon ratta
Website: Learn Thai the Bon’s Way
Location: Norway
Times: Sat and Sun from 9am – 5pm
Payment method: Paypal
Teaching materials: Not based on any particular book.

Feature on WLT: Learn Thai with Bon: First YouTube, now Blogger and Skype

I haven’t used any books since I started teaching via Skype. I pick a theme to talk about and we expand from there. Role-play has been my favorite way to teach lately. I find it quick and effective.

Thai Teacher: Duangrudee Methakullachat (Kim)
YouTube Channel: SkypeLearnThai Kim
Website: Skype Learn Thai
Location: Japan
Times: 8.00-23.00 (GMT+9)
Payment method: Paypal, Credit Card
Teaching materials: Benjawan Poomsan Becker books, pdf files.

The class involves ping-pong style conversation which helps the student think along the learning process. Learning materials include textbook and pdf files that will be emailed to students before the lesson. Price does not include textbook.

Thai Teacher:Jan Kannaphat
Website: StudyThai.org
Facebook: Study Thai with Kru Jan
Email: jan@studythai.org
Location: Nimmanhaemin, Chiang Mai and Online via Skype
Times: Flexible – As agreed.
Teaching Materials: Materials: Self-built curriculum with materials tailored towards your requirements.

Hi! I’m a former teacher of licensed Thai language schools with a BA(Hons) in Linguistics from Chiang Mai University.

I have over 5 years professional experience teaching Thai as a foreign language and now work full-time as a independent freelance tutor from my own convenient private classroom in Nimman, Chiang Mai. I can also teach over Skype.

Don’t be shy! I’m super-friendly and fluent in English. No question is too difficult.

Visit my website for more details on lessons and join my Facebook group!

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: Kanokkarn “Goy” Yoshihira
Location: Thailand
Website: Thailand Translator
Times: 24/7
Payment: Paypal, Western Union, Money Transfer
Teaching materials: Normal Thai English Teaching Books and online material.

We strongly believe in a personal approach for each student. Some just need to communicate with the Thai girlfriends and some need to learn the Thai way / culture to do business in Thailand. We believe in giving each and every student a personal teaching plan that suits them. I seen many schools in Bangkok teach students things they will probably never use and it is a waste of the students time.

Thai Teacher: Katt Walker
Website: Khon Kaen Education & Travel Programs
Location: Thailand
Times: Everyday between 9am & 9pm, Thai time
Payment method: Paypal or cash
Teaching material: Paiboon materials & numerous other texts. The course content is flexible and specifically tailored to the student’s needs.

My name is Katt and I teach Thai language in person and on video Skype. I also specialize in teaching the Isaan dialect which is spoken in Northeast, Thailand! All potential students are welcome to do a FREE 30 minute class prior to committing to a paid course. My English is quite good and I can provide references upon request.

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: Khun Pari
Email: info.learnthai@gmail.com
Phone: +46700269699
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Times: upon your request, Central European Time Zone(UTC+01:00)
Payment method: Paypal
Teaching materials: Thai for Beginners, materials in PDF files, Words, pictures, music, newspapers, etc. Daily Thai conversations to build up your vocabulary.

Thai Teacher: Kru Aw (Tipsuda Rerkma)
Email: kru.awtipsuda@gmail.com
Phone: 0895695192
Facebook: Amazing grace Thai-Isan tutor in Khon Kaen
Location: Khon Kaen (near Khon Kaen university)
Times: 9.00 am – 6.00 pm. Monday – Saturday and flexible-as agreed.
Payment method: Paypal (student pay Paypal fee 5%)
Teaching materials: I normally provide a year course for missionaries in Isan so I have self-built curriculum with materials and I also use many books and texts, pictures and cards.

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: Kru Kat
Email: katrinanpotts@gmail.com
Phone: 088-562-1041
Location: Kranuan, Khon Kaen and Online through Skype, Line, FaceTime, etc.
Times: All
Payment method: Paypal/Cash
Teaching materials: student’s own materials supplemented with teacher’s/online links and games

As a person who is half Thai and half American who is also fluent in English, Thai, and Isan, I have a diverse background with much to offer.

I can translate emails, documents, etc. and am an able interpreter. Feel free to call to negotiate rates.

Thai Teacher: Kru Mint
Email: aj.mintmail@gmail.com
Phone: 081-8924188
Location: Phuket, Thailand and Online through Skype or Line
Times: Flexible – As agreed (Bangkok Time +7 GMT ICT Time Zone)
Payment method: Paypal/Cash
Teaching materials:

  • Thai for Beginners in Speaking and Listening (Conversation Lesson)
  • Writing & Reading Lesson
  • Materials in PDF files, Basic text, pictures, music, newspapers, etc.
  • Self-developed upon each student’s status

I graduated in degree of Thai language (First-class honors). I have 2 years experience teaching Thai as a foreign language and now I’m working full-time as a freelance language instructor from my own convenient private classroom in Phuket, and I am teaching over Skype with foreign students from another countries.

Feel free to contact me for further information.

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: Mia Rongsiaw
Location: Thailand
Website: Learn2speakthai.net
Times: 10:00-20:00 local time
Payment: Paypal
Teaching materials: Tailor-made PDF lessons, white board, recommended books & CDs, songs, etc.

I’ve taught Thai all levels to foreigners for over 4 years. I’m currently teaching Thai in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Mostly private lessons at all levels.

In order to learn Thai, you need a tutor who speak fluent English and Thai. I will help you to speak Thai in a fun and easy way and prepare you for your next trip to Thailand.

I will adapt the lesson to your particular needs and do it at your own pace. You will achieve your goals quickly with all the support, feedback and motivation you need.

Not only you will learn to speak language but you will also learn the ways of Thai culture and tradition. In no time at all you will be speaking Thai and maybe even thinking like a Thai.

I’m offering a special free 30 minute consultation where we can get familiar with each other and plan the right curriculum for you to reach your goal.

Thai Teacher: Narisa Naropakorn
Website: Thai Skype Teacher
Location: Thailand
Times: 10 am – 10 pm Thai time
Teaching materials: Your choice

Feature on WLT: Interview with Thai Skype Teacher Khun Narisa Naropakorn

My natural teaching style is freeform, but I will use other materials if a request is made. I generally go with an approach called ‘student centered’. This is where I focus on my learners’ lifestyle and needs, what they interact with on a day to day basis, what their special interests are, as well as their personalities. So what this means is that each class is created on the spot, tailored to the individual student. It makes the lessons fun and lively because the students are learning phrases and vocabulary of interest to them.

I believe people learn differently according to how they perceive information. So I teach each of my students in the learning style suited to them. To discover their learning style, I have each student fill out a questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences on how people perceive the world and make decisions.

Conversation: I supplement my teaching with educational sheets from three course books I wrote called ‘Survival Thai’ and ‘Comfortable Thai’. The books were written when I headed a Thai language section in 1995. I use materials from the books to teach beginning students who can say nothing in Thai except ‘sawaddii’ (hello), to the point where they can discuss fluently in Thai to express ideas and needs. I believe the success of these books is from the method of introducing learners step-by-step to both Thai culture and language.

Thai for Tourist: This is a 2 hour short course focusing on situations, e.g. greeting, shopping, and using a taxi.

Reading and writing: For all levels I create exercises that give tips to strengthen their reading skills.

For zero beginners, to save time and costs I first recommend that they start learning the theory from available online resources. I then create exercises to strengthen their reading skills based on their lives (stories about themselves, friends and families). I also add real life reading materials (menus, street signs, etc).

Reading and writing intermediate: I create exercises that give tips to strengthen their reading skills based on their life, eg. stories of themselves or their families. I also add the real life reading material (menus, street signs).

Reading and writing advanced: I select real Internet news and articles which suits the learners interest and lifestyle to read together in the class or assign as homework.

Thai Teacher: Noi Naa (Parisa Koknoi)
YouTube Channel: Speak Thai With Noi Naa
Website: Speak Thai With Noi Naa
Location: Chiang Mai
Times: 6-10 pm M-F, and 9am-10pm Sat-Sun
Payment method: PayPal, Western Union, MoneyGram, Bank Transfer
Teaching materials: “Thai for Beginners”, “Thai for Intermediate Learners”, & “Thai for Advanced Readers” by Benjawan Poomsan Becker; “Essential Thai” by James Higbie; and my own material.

I offer a free 30 minute trial lesson, and if the student pays for 10 lessons in advance, they get an extra lesson free.

The structure of the lessons will depend on what the student is most interested in learning. Some may want to practice reading and writing, while others are more interested in speaking only. If you’re just coming to Thailand for a holiday or you’re living here for a long time, you’ll have different goals for learning Thai. So I can adjust the lessons to suit the needs of the student.

I encourage the students to practice Thai through conversation, not just through a textbook.

I’m also available for face-to-face lessons in Chiang Mai, and I can teach couples or small groups as well.

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: por-heidi
Email: thai.deutsch.thai@gmail.com
Phone: 0852926648
Website: Thai Deutsch Thai
Location: Hua Hin, Cha-am, Prachub Khirikhan
Times: evening or as agreed
Teaching materials: Benjawan’s books, Sriwilai Ponmanee and my own materials that suit my students
Skype: heidi-thailand

Thai Teacher: Porpich (Julia)
Email: porpich@gmail.com
Phone: 0831366032
Location: Thailand
Times: Mon-Fri: 7:00pm–7:00am, Sat-Sun: Flexible
Payment: Bank Transfer, Western Union, Cash
Teaching materials: Books, sheets, CDs, songs, etc.

Thai Teacher: Puchapong Puttarak (Kru CAN)
Website: krucan.com
Location: Thailand
Times: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. Everyday except Thursday (Bangkok Time +7 GMT ICT Time Zone)
Pricing: 650 Baht per hour / 10 hrs at 6,000 Baht
Payment method: Paypal or SCB Bank Transfer
Teaching materials: Tailor-made materials

I’m a professional online Thai tutor with more than three years’ experience teaching Thai to foreigners. I offer professional online Thai lessons especially for those “who want to go beyond the basics.”

I customize my materials to fit the needs of individual students and also consider other factors, for example, how they learn best, how fast they learn, and how much time they have. Right now, I also use my some of my blog posts as my materials.

Name: Sumet Jirakasemwat (Met)
Email: good2thaionline@gmail.com
Skype: good2thaionline@gmail.com
Facebook: good2thaionline
Phone: +66869775334
Location: Nearby BTS/MRT stations in BKK or Skype
Times: Monday – Friday (after 6.00 pm) and Saturdays
Teaching materials: Benjawan Poomsan Becker books, Thai- an Essential Grammar by David Smyth and Effective tailor-made Thai lessons and exercises for each student with different Thai language levels.

Sa-wàt-dii khráp, my name is Sumet, an Experienced Native Thai Teacher. I have been teaching Thai to foreigners since 2010, starting from Australia and now in Bangkok, Thailand. I am a qualified Thai teacher with a teaching certificate of Thai teaching to foreigners from TPA of Thailand.

I can teach Thai language in all communication skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) from basic to advanced levels.

You can ensure that you will be able to correctly and properly use Thai language with confidence after learning Thai with me. I have an experience in both theoretical and practical ways in teaching Thai to foreigners, and I always love my Thai classes being fun and effective. Let’s learn Thai language with me and communicate well like a Thai!!

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: Tanya
Website: Hello Learn Thai
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Times: 24/7 (UCT+07:00 Bangkok Time Zone)
Payment method: Paypal or credit card
Teaching materials: Self published materials to suit the students needs.

We offer a wide range of Thai language courses from beginner to advanced. We offer 1-on-1 live online Thai lessons through Skype at the right level for students, no matter how much or little Thai the student knows. Even if students have never learned Thai before, the courses will enable them to communicate effectively in the Thai language.

Also teaches on location in Bangkok: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: Tip (Sarintip)
Email: magicthai@gmail.com
Phone: 087-8101880
Website: Magic Thai
Location: Bangkok (all locations)
Times: 6am – 11pm
Teaching materials: Tailored to each student

I have tons of my own teaching materials, developed by me, which will help to improve learning Thai. I have compiled my teaching material from children’s text books, exercise books, vocabulary lists, clippings from magazines, newspapers, flash cards, advertising signs, just anything which has popped up according to the needs of my students or much that I’ve seen and heard which would benefit my students–I use it all to create a comprehensive learning environment to make living in Thailand easier for my students. Actually, I have boxes of teaching material and books which I tell everybody at home “Do not give this to the recycling man by mistake!”

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: Titcha Kedsri
Email: kedsri@gmail.com
Phone: 1(347)280-6205
Website: Practical Thai
Location: New York, US
Teaching materials: Benjawan Poomsam Becker’s Thai for Beginners and David
Smyth’s Thai: An Essential Grammar

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai Teacher: Teacher Wee
Website: Learn Thai With Kruu Wee
YouTube: Learn Thai with Teacher Wee
Location: Thailand
Times: Monday – Sunday (flexible)
Payment method: Paypal
Teaching materials: I use documents and books that I made myself.

Teaching style information: I have been teaching Thai as a foreign language for nine years, ever since I was a Thai language major at Thammasat University. I focus on what students “want” to know and “need” to learn, that depends on their “purpose” of learning, like for relationships, business or just for traveling as tourists. I believe that understanding Thai culture and how Thai people think are the foundations of learning Thai. I like to teach using a simple, fun, but systematic method. I teach students how to speak like Thais. I use less English as the students advance. For reading, I use a “short cut” system to enable students to read Thai as soon as possible.

Thai Teacher: Ung
Email: khunkrooung@gmail.com
Phone: +66 84-897-5522
Times: As agreed
Payment Method: PayPal / Bank Transfer
Teaching materials: HighSpeedThai and my own material that suit student’s need.

  • Suitable for students who seriously aim to read Thai, cross over just simple conversation and use this quality to enhance your self-study and real local experience.
  • Always interesting and exciting.
  • Flexible schedule and payment.
  • Risk free payment scheme and money back guarantee option.

I also provide language consultancy to anyone who self-studies and needs a Thai native to practice with, test, give pronunciation assessment, or clarify specific questions.

Thai Teacher: Watcharee Suebkhajorn (Lukkae)
Email: watchareeseubkhajorn@gmail.com
Phone: +66806611434
Location: Thailand
Times: Monday-Friday (08:00-15:00 and after 18:00) Saturday-Sunday (11:00-13:00 and after 16:00)
Teaching materials: Tailor-made base on each student’s level and summarize after class. Voice record for listening skill. Any as preferable.
Skype: wsuebkhajorn

I have over five years of experience which has made my teaching style unique!

Thai Teacher: Yuki Tachaya
Email: yuki.tachaya@pickup-thai.com
Website: Pick Up Thai
YouTube: pickupthai
Twitter: @PickupThai
Location: Los Angeles & Bangkok
Times: Monday-Sunday, 6am-Midnight
Payment method: Paypal/Bank transfer
Teaching material: Please look at my website for more details

Sawàddee kâ, everyone! My name is Tachaya. I am a native Thai speaker (grew up in Bangkok, Thailand) who speaks with standard Thai accent. Moreover, I am a professional Thai teacher with more than 4 years of experience in teaching Thai as a second language. Currently, I teach Thai full-time! So, as a student, you are my first priority.

I currently give classes via Skype for $20 per hour. Wherever you are in the world, you can connect to take a live online private class with me! It is very convenient and helps you save a lot of time and money :)

My lessons are customized for each individual student. You do not need to follow any already-made lesson plan. Your class will be unique, not like any other students’. You can design your own lessons, choose your own learning materials and your own pace of study, together with me. Everything is very flexible, so I make sure that your lessons really help you reach your goals and work the best for you. Check out my website for more information. Hope to hear from you soon :)

Also teaches on location: Go to Thai Teachers

Thai schools using Skype…

Thai Language school: High Impact Academy
Skype: Thai Skype Teachers
Location: 99/7 Loa Nadi road Tombon Ni Muang Amphur Muang Khon Kaen 40000
Times: 10:00a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday – Sunday (Bangkok Time +7 GMT ICT Time Zone)
Payment method: Cash payment or direct debit
Teaching materials: Benjawan Poomsan Becker books Paiboon Publishing and Speaking Thai by Dhiraphol Polsawasdi

High Impact Academy is a licensed language academy that teaches 10 different languages. All of our courses are taught by qualified native speaking teachers. We have a large team of teachers, so you can choose to change your teacher at any time, no questions asked!
We offer 10, 20, 40 hour and 90 hour Thai courses for all levels. All course materials are supplied by HIA and are inclusive of the course fees. The courses can be either, listening and speaking, reading and writing, or all four skills. All students receive a certificate of completion upon completion of each course.

To find out more information or apply for a course, we can be contacted via email:hia_khonakaen@hotmail.com or via phone +66 85 000 3717, or Skype: highimpactacademy.

HIA guarantees results or we will repeat the course free.Testimonials with contact details available upon request

Thai Language school: Let`s Study Thai.com
Location: Thailand
Times available: 8:00 – 23:00 Thailand Time ( Every day )
Payment: PayPal
Teaching materials: Original Thai lesson materials (provided in PDF), white board (for reading and writing Thai characters), tailor-made materials, general Thai textbooks, CDs, songs, etc.

Let`s Study Thai.com is an affordable one-on-one online Thai language classroom with rate starts from $2.5 per 25 minutes. We are open from 8:00 to 23:00 (Thailand time) every day, and lessons may be reserved or cancelled until 1 hour before the start of the lesson.

Upon free registration, you will be able to try out two free trial lessons (totaling 50 minutes). Please make a free register for your free lessons.

Let`s Study Thai.com hires distinguished students and alumni from famous universities in Thailand. Of course, all instructors can conduct their lessons in English, so even beginners can take lessons at ease.

We prepare materials for a wide variety of skill levels. Using our original materials and general textbooks available in the market, we will ensure that you learn Thai efficiently through lessons including conversations designed to increase your vocabulary; role-playing conversations for everyday and business scenarios; and practice reading the Thai alphabets.

Thai Language school: Modulo Language School
Skype: Modulols
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Times: 10:00-21:00, Weekdays. 09:00-19:00, Weekends. (UTC +07:00)
Payment method: Bangkok Transfer, PayPal, Credit Card, Cash
Teaching materials: Custom Thai materials from Modulo Publishing, along with an assortment of PDF’s to accompany online learning.

Modulo Language School’s Thai teachers are both qualified and experienced, ensuring learners have an enjoyable and educational experience. They are experts of teaching Thai to non-native speakers, and are all also fluent in English.

The Modulo Thai materials were custom built by our team of Thai teachers using the most highly-regarded textbooks (and years of teaching experience) as a guide. We are able to provide learners who sign up either a PDF of the material.

Along with using Skype, we also offer distance learning services through ClickMeeting, which provides interactive tools and visual aids to help learning; it’s just like being in the classroom! Furthermore, we use high-quality lavaliere microphones and Full-HD webcams to deliver high quality audio and video.

Thai Language school: Study Thai Online
Location: Thailand
Times available: 02.00 GMT until 12.00 GMT
Payment: Paypal
Teaching materials: Virtual classroom with our own pre-prepared materials loaded in advance.

Patong Language School introduced online Thai lessons for students that couldn’t get to Thailand to study, or had previously studied at our school in Phuket and were heading home. We have since found quite a number of students enrolling from within Thailand that can’t find a language school or teacher near where they live. Some students on Phuket find it more convenient to study online than to attend classes at our school in Patong Beach. This may be for reasons of work schedule or not wanting to drive 30 minutes from Rawai to Patong.

The materials we use online are the same books we use in our classes at the school. This can either be books using phonetics to learn conversational Thai, or our reading and writing Thai series. All books are provided in pdf format so the student can print them or keep them on-screen (we recommend using the materials in the virtual classroom to avoid looking up and down all the time at a book). The webcam was set up to allow the student to see the teacher and blackboard in the classroom, trying to make the online experience as similar to the in-class experience as possible. This didn’t work too well, as many students’ cameras weren’t good enough to clearly read the blackboard, and both the teacher and student were constantly trying to find their place in the book in front of them, then returning to the screen. This led us to investigate other options, and we ultimately settled on the browser-based virtual classroom we use now. This is way beyond being a shared whiteboard; it is a truly interactive experience with both teacher and student being able to simultaneously manipulate pages and text on-screen. The classroom allows recording of the screen and sound, and lets us upload sound clips and videos for the students. Its limits presently seem to be our imaginations!

The teachers are the same experienced Thai teachers that work in Patong Language School day-in and day-out. They have received additional training to use the new technology and are all competent computer users. Being geographically separated can make learning online a very ‘dry’ experience, so our teachers are trained to keep the classes light and fun. We feel it is very important that learning Thai be enjoyable and not a chore. The teachers occupy small, comfortable glass offices to conduct the classes, as we have found this provides greater sound and video quality.

We knew at the outset that our system must be robust and reliable. To this end we use two internet connections from different providers running through a load balancing device. This means we don’t experience connection outages – unless someone disconnects Phuket from the rest of the world! We have four PC’s running Skype and the browsers needed to provide the classes, and they all share student data from a central server. So even if we lose a PC, the teacher can connect from another one right away with no loss of information or continuity. We’ve yet to encounter a student that can’t use Skype and a browser, so we’ll stick with this simple technology and stay away from proprietary software.

As with all the services offered by Patong Language School, we strive to make Study Thai Online a professional-standard service. Having a book in front of you and meeting a teacher on Skype is a very basic way to learn Thai – we aim to offer more than that and continually improve the online experience.

WLT: Guest Post: Study Thai Online via Skype

Thai Language school: Thai Language Hut
Location: Thailand
Time: 7am – 9pm 7 Days a week (Bangkok Time +7 GMT ICT Time Zone)
Payment method: Bank transfer or Paypal
Teaching materials: Paiboon Publishing

We interchange our classroom training with on-line training for busy students that are either travelling or intend to move to Thailand. This means you can start on-line and complete the training in a classroom or visa-versa or just mix and match as needed. We are very flexible. We have students using a combination of these techniques to fit their personal schedules.

We focus on creating an effective, simple problem free learning environment so we can focus on the training and not get too distracted by the technology or connection problems. We use only technology from Skype which is familiar to most people ie manageable and not too scary! + minimises connection issues ie not connecting to a third party for whiteboard or other supplementary technologies.

In this vein we offer the following:

  • 1 to 1 training only by Skype
  • Show a part of our screen using Skype
  • Use a combination of slides, flash cards, drawings on paper and exercises to support the standard exercises and learning in our course text book (Benjawan Poomsan Becker, Paiboon Publishing) – the student will have this book in front of them too!
  • We give away any slides or exercises developed for the student as pdfs at the end of the training.
  • We do not use separate white board systems, in our experience this diminishes the experience and does not enhance it (potential connection problems + new system to use).

Thai School: Thai Style Language Co. Ltd.
Thai Teachers: Over 500 trained teachers to choose from
Locations: Thailand, United Kingdom, USA and Singapore
YouTube Channel: LearnThaiStyle
Website: learnthaistyle.com
Times: All day everyday : Learn at a time to suit you
Payment method: Paypal, Debit / Credit Card, Bank Transfer, Cash
Teaching materials: Easy to follow written, audio and video learning materials developed by Head Teacher Kruu Jiab. You can also view some example materials online here.
Also teaches on location: Learn in person with any of our trained teachers freelance teachers. Start learning online, change teacher anytime and continue learning the same course where you left off with a different teacher in person.

Sà-wùd-dee Kâ, we support the worlds largest team of Thai language teachers.

To ensure you have everything you need to learn Thai effectively with our team of teachers we have developed modern learning materials that include easy to follow worksheets, audio and video; a complete solution to help you learn Thai with experienced local teachers.

Flexible private tuition can be arranged at a time & location to suit you. With lifetime access and learner support you can change teacher anytime, attend consistent lessons in different locations and learn for as long as you need at a time, location and pace to suit you.

Support your local freelance Thai teacher and pay them directly for their hard work. Read more on our website about how we can help you learn Thai and if you have any questions contact us anytime.

We look forward to teaching you about Thai language and culture!

How to learn Thai via Skype, the series…

This post is part five of an eight part series.

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My Skype Thai Language Learning Experience

Study Thai Online

The magic of learning Thai via Skype…

Having a series about learning Thai via Skype wouldn’t be complete unless I jumped in as well. Especially after hearing that a whole lot of you are chicken when it comes to technology. So, here we are…

How did I first learn about Skype? Well, when Luca Lampariello explained the beauty of learning languages via Skype in his two part series, An Easy Way to Learn Foreign Languages, the idea grabbed my attention.

Luca: I was speaking with Americans who asked me “Luca, how can you speak English like that if you’ve never been to the US before?” For those who praise the mp3 as an incredible learning resource, think one better: Skype is the real deal. Audio-material (although a tapes’ sound quality was much worse) has been around for over 40 years, but Skype has been around for much less.

Skype is tailor-made for language learning, and with this wonderful software application you’ll have no more excuses for not getting proficient in languages. Because conversation with a native is an invaluable asset.

Months later, when I was asked to recommend a Skype teacher, I dug into my google results and passed over the shortlist of Thai teachers I’d collected during Luca’s series. The reminder started me thinking about the pros and cons of learning Thai via Skype, and by the end of the morning, I was sold on the idea (but for myself).

At the top of my Skype resources was a discussion about Skype teacher Khun Narisa Naropakorn. Khun Narisa’s many glowing recommendations from students gave me the confidence to contact her about a trial lesson asap.

During our email discussion, Khun Narisa offered two options:

  1. Continue with my present study materials, going to Khun Narisa for clarifications.
  2. Or hand over the controls to Khun Narisa.

After reading even more kudos from her students, I decided to let Khun Narisa take the lead. I then sent the payment for a lesson and she sent two MS Word docs back.

Technical Check:

  • Skype
  • Voice recorder: Callburner (PC) Call Recorder (Mac)
  • Headset: Logitech Premium Notebook
  • Skype name: ;-)
  • Computer advice: Virus, firewall, etc.

Student Learning Assessment:

  • Background: Education, location, etc.
  • Desired aims: Serious – fun.
  • Class schedule: Preferred times.
  • Projected study time: Months ++
  • Present Thai level: Beginner – Advanced.
  • Operating system: Mac, PC, Linux.

I was also instructed to come to class with the 50 Thai words and ten sentences I say most often. And as you might already know, I had a jump on that one for two sentences at least.

During my first class I was totally nervous. I was also freezing because in order to prepare a cool and quiet room, I had the ac on high two hours before my scheduled class. And I’m not depending 100% on my memory about the cold or the nerves, because Call Recorder automatically saves an mp3 of each lesson to my HD. Yeah. A recording of every mistake I make. And every shiver as well. How sweet is that?

But what really helped set me at ease was Khun Narisa’s belief that video slows down the online process. A relief, because I work on my computer flat back on the sofa. Eeew. She’d be looking right up my nose.

During the first minutes of the lesson Khun Narisa felt around to discover my Thai level. To, you know, make sure that what I stated on her form (total cacca) matched my existing skills. Suffering through it all I hemmed, I hawed, and with Mr. Bunt and Duvet being locked in their room, I blushed all on my lonesome.

I was so nervous, most of my Thai leaked away before I could sputter out anything of value. But Khun Narisa’s fun personality had me laughing, and soon we were enjoying a slow back and forth.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve managed to save a lot of the wrong Thai in my blond head. And at one point, Khun Narisa smiled (yes, you can hear a smile through Skype phones) and said that my Thai translation was kindred to Shakespeare. Quaint.

With the trial lesson over, and convinced I’d found a useful addition to my learning Thai arsenal, I signed up for the long haul. Khun Narisa then sent over a bill for the tuition fee and I paid via Paypal.

Following soon after came a professionally written employment contract where I agreed to her simple terms: Any cancellations to be made 24 hours in advance. Easy.

And along with the employment contract was a request to take a personality test and get back to her with the results. I didn’t like the results so I went around the Internet taking as many personality tests as I could find for free. But I kept coming out as a ISTJ or similar – bossy, opinionated, anal, stuff like that – which meant that I’d make a good accountant. Boring, and soooo not me. The accountant part anyways.

When I sent her a fluffy email, she came back with a link that blew me away: ISTJ. Ok. That is soooo me. But I don’t have a serious bone in my body. Nope. Nadda. And what about this one – decides logically what should be done and works toward it steadily, regardless of distraction – hmmmm?

Now that Khun Narisa had my learning style sorted, she put me to work. The aim was to find where I’m lacking as well as clean up any bad Thai I’ve taken on board. To do this, each week I’m to come up with the Thai phrases in my life, as well as any Thai I’m iffy about.

During each lesson Khun Narisa types away, giving me grammar tips with a variety of sentence patterns (patterns are my new Thai love). And at the end of the lesson she reads the sentences again. She kindly does it this way so I don’t have to work through the entire recording to cut out the sound bites to practice later.

And it’s not that I don’t like listening to an hour of Khun Narisa all over again. It’s me that is the problem. I’ve yet to meet anyone who likes their own voice and I’m no different. In fact, I disliked hearing my voice so much the first lesson, that I whispered through my entire second lesson.

The Skype window is quite useful because I can watch in real time while Khun Narisa corrects my Thai, adds notes, and creates new patterns. Then, after we’ve signed off (and she always leaves me a flower) I copy the work from the window into a MS Word doc, extract the vocabulary, add any needed translations, and tidy up the files for viewing ease. The following day I create sentences of my own using her patterns, and drill myself on any new vocabulary.

The first half of the next lesson usually starts out with Khun Narisa checking over my newly created sentences while explaining any grammar snafus. The second half is devoted to new grammar, vocabulary, and more sentence patterns.

And here we are, at the bottom of my post. I’ve been given strict instructions from Khun Narisa to avoid sharing any gushy, glowing reports in her direction. And I have been careful so far. Agreed? But I’m going to take the chance that I bored her waaaay up there somewhere, so here’s a few:

Khun Narisa is first of all, a patient teacher. And I mean really, really patient. Along with her patience, Khun Narisa is also incredibly positive, upbeat, and seriously funny. Also, I find her ability to create lessons on the fly out of my sentences, complete with detailed grammar tips, truly outstanding. It’s like having a talking dictionary, Thai course, and grammar guide at the other end of my Skype connection.

I’ve discovered that learning languages via Skype is powerful. And having a teacher as skilled as Khun Narisa makes it what it should be.

So, do you think she’s still reading?

How to learn Thai via Skype, the series…

This post is part four of an eight part series.

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Guest Post: Study Thai Online via Skype

Study Thai Online

Study Thai Online…

I am a long-time user of Skype and for many years used Skype-out credit to call friends and relations back in the UK. On the Skype website one day I came across a case study for toniks.com, a UK-based company providing online language lessons using Skype. Some further searching revealed that many schools, companies and even individuals are offering language tuition over the net. However, I couldn’t find anybody offering Thai.

Owning a language school and employing around 15 Thai teachers, I saw an opportunity and knew I had all the necessary resources in place already. The difficulties, I believed, would be in two areas; 1. making it work technically, and 2. marketing the product.

With no experience or idea of how others were providing the service, I decided to find my own route. Any kind of proprietary software could be ruled out as too complicated and expensive. What I needed was some form of on-line meeting room. Searching the net turned up many good solutions, and after much testing one was settled on (no, I’m not going to tell you which one – sign up for a class!).

The meeting room is an ideal solution because it doesn’t require us or the students to install any software. We simply send the student a web link and they use a browser to login with the user-name we provide. Both parties are then in the same ‘virtual space’ and can see and manipulate everything on the screen, just like a shared whiteboard. Our on-line coordinator prepares each student’s workspace by uploading the necessary study materials in advance, and keeps these updated as the student progresses. Students can access their virtual classroom whenever they wish to review and practice, and can even download all the materials to print at home.

Study Thai Online

The entire system needs to be robust and reliable, so we brought about some serious changes to the operating systems we use in our school. We ditched Microsoft Windows and installed LinuxMint on all school PC’s from the manager on down. This is a free, open-source operating system based on Ubuntu which provides virus-free, bug-free, reliable use every day. Since switching we have never had a PC hang or crash!

Being an internet-based service, we knew we couldn’t rely on a single ISP (internet service provider). Internet in Thailand is too unpredictable for commercial use, so we had a second ADSL line installed and connected our 2 ISP’s through a load balancer. This clever little device takes care of managing the two lines and using them both to the fullest extent possible.

Being a busy school with many students returning year after year for Thai classes, we have a long email list of students that live in Europe, America and Australia. We contacted a number of them to offer free online classes, and I’m pleased to say they all agreed and enjoyed the new challenge. This gave us an opportunity to test the system live, train the teachers and iron out any weaknesses.

After three months or trialling and adjusting, we went live with the website, bought some GoogleAds, and promoted the new service amongst students new and old. Uptake was slow but steady, and after a year we now have enough students on a daily basis to employ a number of full-time on-line teachers.

With the classroom being one-on-one, the teachers’ methods had to be adapted to this new medium. The materials we provide in the virtual classroom are presented just like the pages of a book, with each lesson spread over two or three pages. All materials are produced by us and continually updated. The student is guided through an explanation, then given examples of usage before making their own examples, and finally incorporating the newly learned materials into existing vocabulary. We can handle students just looking for conversational Thai and also those that want to learn to read.

Mostly, our teachers have found it easy to adapt, but some don’t like viewing a screen for so long or the feeling of remoteness from the student. Student acceptance has been good – so far we have only had one refund request from an elderly student who appeared to be technically overloaded. Quality of audio and video can’t be guaranteed, even though we have good high-speed connections. Sometimes the student’s connection isn’t great and there’s nothing we can do about that.

Although it started out as something far removed from our normal school activities, teaching Thai on-line has now reached the point in our school where it is just another thing we do. Everybody takes it for granted and the whole system works smoothly. We are pleased to have found even more students for our Thai teachers and proud to be the first school to embrace this technology for distance-learning of the Thai language.

Ian Fereday,
study-thai-online.com | phuket-languageschool.com | teflplus.com
WLT: Successful Thai Language Learner: Ian Fereday

How to learn Thai via Skype, the series…

This post is part three of an eight part series.

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Interview with Thai Skype Teacher Khun Narisa Naropakorn

Study Thai Online

Interviewing a Thai Skype teacher…

When I got stuck into the research for the Skype series, the basic benefits of learning Thai via Skype weren’t that difficult to suss. Especially for a hermit such as myself! But as I was fairly clueless about what happens on the other side of the connection, interviewing a Thai Skype teacher was a logical next step.

I chose to interview Bangkok-based Skype teacher Khun Narisa due to her megga positive student reviews. To show you what captured my attention, here are a few kudos: Kudos to Khun Narisa Naropakorn.

Interviewing Khun Narisa Naropakorn…

Khun Narisa, please tell us about your teaching background.

Khun Narisa NaropakornI was born in Bangkok, therefore my accent is the Bangkok standard.

My late father was a journalist who also owned a bookstore, so as a child I had plenty of opportunity to read up on a wide range of subjects. In many ways, my literary background paved the way for me to teach the Thai language to foreigners.

I graduated with an English Major (B.A.), and as a result, explaining the differences between Thai and English became a strong point in my teaching.

Later, I joined the U.S. language and cultural training program for Indochinese refugees in 1983 (The Consortium, Phanat Nikhom Chonburi, Thailand). Following the American method, I learned how to teach language and culture to adults.

I have been teaching Thai to foreigners for 19 years and I started teaching via Skype seven years ago. With Skype I’ve been able to expand internationally.

What are the differences between teaching Thai and western students?

When I teach English to Thai students, I instruct them to enunciate the ends of their words. When I teach Thai to foreigners, I have to tell them to close their lips, faster than the wind; they have to compete with the wind.

For Thai students learning English, only 20% ask questions. The remaining 80% sit quietly, waiting for me to speak. But when teaching westerners, our roles are totally changed as they speak up first, and I’m the one listening quietly.

I’ve developed an interest in teaching methods and learning styles. So, how do you teach languages?

To understand how my students learn, I ask them to take one or two learning styles tests: VAK and Myers & Briggs. And when I teach, I use my own learning style, which is a combination of visual and audio.

With Fleming’s VAK model, there are three main learning styles: visual, audio, and kinesthetic. I am mostly visual as I cannot learn without seeing. My second strength is audio, because I also learn while listening.

Wikipedia: Fleming’s VAK model is one of the most common and widely-used categorizations of the various types of learning styles. Fleming claimed that visual learners have a preference for seeing (think in pictures; visual aids such as overhead slides, diagrams, handouts, etc.) Auditory learners best learn through listening (lectures, discussions, tapes, etc.). Tactile/kinesthetic learners prefer to learn via experience—moving, touching, and doing (active exploration of the world; science projects; experiments, etc.). Its use in pedagogy allows teachers to prepare classes that address each of these areas. Students can also use the model to identify their learning style and maximize their educational experience by focusing on what benefits them the most.

If you are curious, take the test to see for yourself: VAK Learning Styles Test.

With each new student I start off using my natural teaching style. From past experience I know that the personality type I see most often is visual, so my style suits most students coming to me. And if my teaching style and the student’s learning style works well together, then I continue on no problem.

But with some students I find the need to adjust my teaching style. To get insight into how these types of students learn, I ask them to take the Myers-Briggs test. I do this because the student might miss out on 20-30% of the class if I don’t adjust my teaching style to suit their particular learning style. But I do not use Myers-Briggs with everyone, only in cases where I sense a need.

Myers & Briggs: Teachers who vary their teaching styles after learning about personality type often find they can motivate and teach a wider range of students, because they are appealing to all preferences.

If you are interested in finding out about Myers-Briggs, check out these resources:

To teach, I follow the student-centered method explained in this article by Texas Collaborative:

Texas Collaborative: Student-centered teaching focuses on the student. Decision-making, organization, and content are largely determined by the student’s needs and perceptions. Even assessment may be influenced or determined by the student. The instructor acts as coach and facilitator. In many respects, the goal of this type of teaching is the development of the student’s cognitive abilities… student-centered teaching leads to “better retention, better transfer of knowledge to other situations, better motivation for further learning, and better problem–solving abilities… Active participation by students helps them construct a better framework from which to generalize their knowledge.

What do you see as the main benefits of learning via Skype?

  1. Saves time (no travel time to and from class).
  2. Saves energy (fighting Bangkok traffic can be tiring).
  3. Saves petrol (gives a smaller carbon footprint).
  4. Saved records (chat + recordings).

How are your Skype teaching methods different from face-to-face?

Both use the same structure and order in teaching. But with the audio recordings and chats, Skype offers the opportunity to keep better records of each lesson. And the sound quality can be less cluttered using Skype because the class is being recorded computer to computer, not in a room where external noises often crowd in.

How are your Skype classes set up?

Skype has two tools I use to teach Thai:

  1. The chat box, where the students and I type in both English and Thai.
  2. The second party recording software that automatically records each lesson.

I do not use Skype’s video because it can disrupt my student’s concentration. And sometimes it slows down the internet connection, interrupting the class.

My online Skype lessons are one hour long. I advise beginning Thai students to sign up for a minimum of two classes a week for six months straight (canceling classes does not count). For those who do not have pressing engagements (work, school, etc), three to five three times a week is preferable. After six months of learning regularly, or when both of us feel they are comfortable with the Thai language, classes are cut back to once a week.

To get the most out of the course, students are expected to study three hours on their own for every one hour Thai lesson with me.

What happens during a typical Skype class?

Beginners: This level starts out using transliteration or Thai script (their choice). Students are given instructions to learn the Thai alphabet on their own. For each lesson the student picks a subject interesting to them, but I will suggest if they prefer.

In the beginners class I also focus on sentence structure and the pronunciation of tones. Some students come to me as basic beginners, while others have some knowledge of Thai vocabulary but their pronunciation is sometimes not quite right. And as I feel it’s important to get the tones down before moving on to other aspects of the Thai language, we concentrate on tones.

For all levels, if requested I keep 15 minutes spare at the end of the class to rerecord any key elements discussed during the lesson (vocabulary, phrases, etc). Doing this benefits both Skype and face-to-face students.

Intermediate students: This level is taught using Thai script only, no transliteration. Students paste Thai phrases about subjects interesting to them into Skype’s chat box and I correct their mistakes, explaining grammar if necessary. I also create sentences patterns for them to work with. Conversations are practiced towards the end of the class.

For homework, students study the new phrases and vocabulary, create sentences using the sentence patterns, as well as prepare new sentences for the next class.

The intermediate level is where I work with students studying for the 6th Grade Thai Language Proficiency and Permanent Residency tests.

Advanced students: For conversation, we talk on a variety of topics occurring in real life situations with Thai people. We also discuss current events.

I find that students at this level are more interested in the different usages of words having almost the same meaning, but not quite. Learning how to use these types of words correctly helps students sound fluent in Thai. Advanced students are often perfectionists, so we spend the time needed to iron out the small details of the Thai language.

For reading and writing we read real news and websites. We also write stories, letters, emails, and more.

How do you teach reading via Skype?

For all levels, I create exercises to strengthen reading and comprehension skills based on their lives (stories about themselves, their friends and family). I also add real life reading materials (menus, street signs, etc). A part of the class is spent discussing the reading materials. Advanced students graduate to the more difficult Thai newspapers and magazines.

How do you teach writing via Skype?

With writing lessons my students use Skype’s chat box, typing in Thai. For handwriting they can show their finished work for to me to correct, but to save them money, I prefer that my students practice on their own using children’s books.

And I’d like to take this time to point out that I’m the queen of time saving strategies. I don’t like to waste time, so whatever I can assign my students to do in their own time, I do. Especially as it’ll save their Thai study budget. I’d rather have my students come to me for the heart, the secret, the real tips of learning the Thai language. It is more important for me to have Thai students who are no longer with me, because successful students become my public relations people :-)

Khun Narisa has a quote close to her heart:

Every learner has their own gems inside. It is up to the teacher to find and polish those gems. To do that, the teacher must adjust their teaching style to match the student’s learning style.

Using her experience with teaching Thai online and off, Khun Narisa is writing a course book. It’s due to be published next year (I’ll keep you posted).

Kudos from Khun Narisa’s students…

Khun Narisa has many students (former and present) acting as her public relations people. I came across excellent reviews online at Language-school-teachers.com. And one of her students, Helge Østensen, created a site with the knowledge he’s gaining from Khun Narisa: Thai Tones (now password protected).

Wanting to have a chat with a few of Narisa’s students, I contacted Tracy and Anthony.

K.Narisa’s teaching style is definitely unique because it’s so personalized. For example, initially K.Narisa had me take the Myers-Briggs personality test. After getting the understanding of what kind of learner I am, the lessons are then suited to what really works for me. Studying with K.Narisa in this way is definitely a different experience than studying in a one-size-fits-all classroom. And above all, I know that when I have a lesson with K. Narisa, I will get a few laughs in besides! (สนุกมากๆ) :-)

I have only great things to say about Khun Narisa and her teaching style. Before I studied with K. Narisa, I studied Thai in a classroom setting and learned the basics of reading, writing & speaking. However, I had very little confidence when speaking. Learning with K.Narisa via Skype allowed me to practice speaking in a safe, controlled environment and get all of those embarrassing mistakes out of the way in the privacy of my own home!

Also, since we use the chatbox, I get to practice typing in Thai. At first, it was painfully slow to hunt-and-peck all of those squiggly little lines that were hiding all over the keyboard, but K. Narisa is very patient and eventually I improved.

I would definitely recommend K. Narisa to anyone looking to take their Thai to the next level.

I’ve been learning Thai using Skype with Narisa for about 14 months now. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw Narisa’s advert on a website and she mentioned it as a way to learn.

I’m glad I found it as a way to learn as it’s so easy to use and the calls are free. Apart from the obvious time difference between the UK and Thailand there isn’t a downside IMO. It’s just like talking to someone in the UK on the phone. I just purchased a Skype headset, installed Skype, added Narisa as a contact and was ready to start learning straight away.

Currently I am learning twice a week. 1.5 hours speaking and 1 hour reading atm which I feel is enough for me. I used to do more but as my knowledge and speaking and understanding have increased I felt I didn’t need to do as much.

Narisa is a very patient and methodical teacher who goes the extra mile in helping her students progress and reach their goals. As an experienced teacher, Narisa knows how to tailor her teaching methods to suit each individual student to gain the maximum results. She is able to communicate effectively with good English to help you understand and answer any questions you may have during lesson time which is essential.

I have embraced what Narisa has taught me so well and used my new found Thai speaking skills to communicate effectively when on trips to Thailand. It’s a shame that Narisa isn’t there to see my progress first hand whilst I am speaking with other Thai’s, to see how much she has helped my progress in this challenging but beautiful language.

If you’d like to study Thai with Khun Narisa, please contact her through her website: Thai Skype Teacher.

How to learn Thai via Skype, the series…

This post is part two of an eight part series.

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