Learning a foreign language can pose serious problems for learners. Thailand students are facing this challenge, especially when they go to study in foreign countries. Challenges like pronunciation make it difficult for them to speak and understand English words. With these challenges, English learners prefer a foreigner to teach them since they can pronounce words correctly, unlike native teachers who cannot pronounce words correctly hence misguiding the learners.
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However, even the English speaking countries have pronunciation problems. For instance, people from Australia pronounce words differently from those from the United States. In addition, the use of English words interchangeably between countries. In the United Kingdom, some users are not in the United States dictionary (Swan, 2001). This paper aims to find out the problems that English learners in Thailand face and the teaching methods that are most effective to them.
Learning the English language has been a major challenge to Thailand students, especially in pronunciation. This challenge is because of the lack of some letters in their language. It is, therefore, a major problem for them to pronounce some English words. It is difficult for them to incorporate the new letters into reading, especially at older ages. These students may get humiliation if they are learning amongst good English speakers. They might lack the confidence to read aloud due to their pronunciation problems (Aburizaiza, 2013).
The geographical area that a student learning English as a second language influences their pace and way of learning the language. Suppose the student resides in an area where the residents have a certain ascent as they speak, or some who do not pronounce words phonetically affect the students learning. It becomes confusing to follow what the teacher or tutor has taught when people around them speak and follow different rules. For instance, people with the southeastern dialect say the word error to sound like an arrow. This becomes even harder for the student to write, interpret, and pronounce such words (Koyama & Subramanian, 2014).
In addition, students keep making mistakes in pronunciation, morphology, spelling, and syntax. This is because of the absence of some letters in their native language that are in the English language. It is, therefore, difficult for them to pronounce constants such as /dr/, /fl/ and /sl/ among others since they do not exist in their native language. While reading, Thailand students tend to drop the last letters that are consonants.
This causes them to pronounce words that mean different things than what they intended. Grammar in Thailand is different from English. Verbs and nouns do not change their forms in the presence of gender, numbers of persons in a sentence. Instead, different words replace them. It, therefore, becomes confusing for Thai students to learn English. This explains the reason why Thai students are keen on memorizing and cramming the grammar rules and vocabulary of the English language. This results in students having good reading and writing skills and poor listening and oral skills (Arabski & Wojtaszek, 2011).
However, teachers can use various teaching methods and theories to help these students. The Behaviorist Theory deals with habit formation. Students can hence make reading and pronunciation habitual. The theorists believe that learning a second language starts with the habits related to the first language. The habits, therefore, influence those required for the acquisition of the second language. These theorists hence believe that any interference in acquiring a second language has a connection to the habits of the first language. This factor is actually true since Thailand students are unable to pronounce some words due to the lack of some letters in their first language (Cochran, 2005).
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Teaching methods that help Thailand students in writing and speaking English are necessary. E-learning is one of the most effective methods of learning. It uses the theory of constructivism that explains that human beings acquire knowledge from their own experiences.
The use of computers to learn and enhance their language skills gives the learners self-learning and encourages them to practice on their own without much dependency on what teachers teach. Teachers advance to use email to help the learners write good English. Learners communicate with their teachers through emails by asking questions and writing articles as instructed by their teachers (Lucero-Ulrich, 2013).
Teaching on email writing is an interactive process that contradicts with standard letter writing strategies. The interaction created by email writing leads to a clear understanding of the weak students in writing and improving their writing skills. The skills developed during the mentoring process provide the students with a chance of socializing with some of the leading information centers (Levy, 2006).
E-learning is appropriate for students with low self-esteem since they do not face humiliation in class when they are unable to pronounce some words or fail in spelling or writing tests. They develop a good interaction with the teachers due to their frequent communications (Park, Endo, & Rong, 2009). These students might end up toping the class since the teachers or tutors engage them frequently. Email writing helps learners perfect their communication skills since teachers give them opportunities to correct the mistakes they make.
Learners can also use computer programs referred to as audio-lingual methods that can help in the pronunciation. These audio programs are useful while learning foreign languages. The audio is fed with a program that pronounces words in the given language that an individual is learning. This method of study gives emphasis to the correct pronunciation of language under study. This method of learning is not new since it was used in earlier years, where they would use audiotapes, and learners would mimic the tapes to learn.
The audio-lingual method of teaching advocated for the teaching of a foreign language directly without using their first language to elaborate new words. This makes it a popular method of learning English as a foreign language. However, this method is rarely used in a classroom setting, it is most effective for an individual’s private lessons either by themselves or with a tutor. It is essential for practice. Eventually, the learner might have a breakthrough and achieve their intended goal (Lynch, 2005).
E-learning has been beneficial to people on other continents since they are able to get an education over the internet. Teachers use video conferencing with their learners or even write emails to ensure that their students are active in the course they are undertaking. This avenue of communication amongst teachers and learners destroys fear that students face while learning foreign languages. They gain confidence in themselves and are not cautious of the outcome of their pronunciation despite whether it is not correct.
Teachers have the responsibility of giving support to these learners to ensure that they are not humiliated in classrooms or generally in school. Extra tutoring lessons are provided by the teachers via email as a way of showing support and encouragement to such students (Thaung, 2012). Passionate students will, therefore, have an easy time learning English due to the support provided to them by their teachers. They should always make effort to speak in English even if it lacks fluency.
Choosing this method of e-learning to teach weak Thailand students in English is essential. The students are given the opportunity to research and learn on their own before going to class every day. The internet provides a variety of information, some similar while some are differing. This gives a student a task to find out which information is reliable and which one is not. E teaching gives the students a sense of responsibility and accountability for their goals and the ultimate results. With extra tutoring, students have no one to blame for failure. The ability of a student to read and interpret a sentence correctly is a sign of progress for weak students. This illustrates the importance of using email as a method of teaching (Levy, 2006).
Online learning offers student-centered teaching methods, since various students have various different styles of learning. Some students learn by observation, others by listening while others by practicing what they have learned. The internet gives them an opportunity to utilize resources of learning in ways that best suit them and bring out a good performance. With the presence of all the mentioned student-centered methods of learning, weak students can incorporate all of them in ensuring that they have acquired fluency in speaking, writing, and interpreting the English language (Thaung, 2012).
Reading, interpretation, and pronunciation being the major challenges facing Thai students, it became important to put up measures to help them learn English easily. The use of online teaching and learning has been effective for these students. They are not humiliated in classrooms as they are coached by their teachers through emails and video conferencing. Teachers and tutors opt to coach these students using emails as it helps them write fluently. They assess the progress of these students by their ability to interpret the emails they send and reply to them correctly.
Audio-lingual programs have also proven to be useful in helping Thai students to pronounce words correctly. This technique has been used for a long time and was very effective. This technique has been of great benefit to Thai students.
They are able to eliminate assents that they acquire from the geographical area they are in. online teaching and learning for Thai students was chosen as it gives them an opportunity to learn English, which is a common language in the corporate world. English is, therefore, important for their success. In addition, the students have easier work learning on their own than having other students laugh at them because of their reading and pronunciations.
E-learning gives Thai students confidence in themselves and also elevates their self-esteem. Tutors and teachers teaching English as a second language should use emails to teach their weak students as it has proven to be successful. They should support them by frequently checking on them to make sure that they are making progress. The students also have the responsibility to keep in touch with their teachers and show dedication to their work as it will also motivate the teacher. E-learning is important and effective in helping weak Thai students learn English as their second language.
Aburizaiza, O. S. (2013). Common Mistakes Made by ESL Learners Using Arabic As Reference Language. Chicago: Author House.
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Arabski, J., & Wojtaszek, A. (2011). Aspects of Culture in Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Learning. Los Angeles: Springer Science & Business Media.
Cochran, A. (2005). Modern Methods of Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Beijing: United Board for Christian Colleges.
Koyama, J., & Subramanian, M. (2014). US Education in a World of Migration. Boston: Routledge.
Levy, Y. (2006). Assessing the Value of E-learning Systems. New York: Idea Group Inc.
Lucero-Ulrich, M. C. (2013). Enhancing English Learning Experience for ESL Learners. California: Anchor Academic Publishing.
Lynch, B. K. (2005). Language Program Evaluation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Park, C. C., Endo, R., & Rong, X. L. (2009). New Perspectives on Asian American Parents, Students, and Teacher Recruitment. Chicago: IAP.
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Thaung, K. S. (2012). Advanced Information Technology in Education. Texas: Springer Science & Business Media.