Thai students often have problems with using the English grammar constructions and tenses because they do not use inflected forms of the verb in their language. Thus, much attention should be paid to the additional practice in using Past Simple constructions and verb inflections by Thai students (Swan & Smith, 2001, p. 352). The main goal of the designed lesson is to provide Thai students with more opportunities in practicing the use of Past Simple verb inflections and in answering Past Simple questions accurately while focusing on identifying and using auxiliary verbs in Past Simple questions.
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Past Simple Tense constructions are a challenge for Thai students because there are no auxiliary verbs and inflected forms of main verbs in Thai (Swan & Smith, 2001, p. 350-352). That is why, during the warmer, students were practicing the use of inflections in such verbs as ‘study-studied’, ‘watch-watched’, ‘like-liked’, and others. Much attention was also paid to the correct pronunciation of the verbs and their inflections because Thai students are inclined to add the additional sound /ə/ between the first two consonants, as it is in the word ‘study’, or not to pronounce the inflection, as it is in the verb ‘like-liked’.
Furthermore, Thai students have problems with using such question words as ‘when’, ‘why’, and ‘where’ because of placing them at the end of the question sentence, as it is typical for Thai (Leech & Svartvik, 2013, p. 54). During the Pre-task activities, students were asked to practice their use of question words and auxiliary verbs while composing questions in Past Simple. This activity helped students activate their knowledge of the positions of question words and auxiliary verbs in a question.
Thai students have difficulties with composing Past Simple affirmative sentences using the model ‘Sbj + irregular verb/verb + ed’ because they usually omit the subject and use the base form of the verb (Huddleston & Pullum, 2005, p. 24). That is why Thai students were asked to practice answering the Past Simple questions with the help of the chart presenting all the sentence parts for composing a correct Past Simple affirmative sentence.
Thai students discuss composing Past Simple questions as a challenging task because of the necessity to put the auxiliary verb in the right place in a sentence. To help students in practicing the use of auxiliary verbs in a model ‘aux. + subj.+ verb’, it is necessary to propose the correct model such as ‘Where did you go?’ or ‘What did you do?’ (Murphy, 2003, p. 10). Students are expected to repeat these models while constructing a dialogue. To control the correct use of the model, it is important to draw the students’ attention to the form of the auxiliary verb, its position, and the form of the main verb.
Answering the Past Simple questions, Thai students should pay attention to the use of irregular or inflected forms of regular verbs. When Thai students say, “We saw a shark last week”, it is important to focus the students’ attention not only on the use of the Past Simple form of the irregular verb ‘see-saw’ instead of the use of infinitive but also on the pronouncing sounds which are difficult for Thai students (Swan & Smith, 2001, p. 350-352). For instance, students may choose to pronounce /ʧɑ:k/ instead of /ʃɑːk/ because of having no similar sounds in Thai.
Thai students often have difficulties in using English tenses because of the necessity to concentrate on the word order, the use of auxiliary verbs, and the inflected forms of verbs. That is why teachers are expected to pay more attention to practicing Past Simple models and constructions to provide Thai students with the opportunity to improve their skills in using Past Simple Tense in speech.
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Huddleston, R., & Pullum, G. (2005). A student’s introduction to English grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Leech, G., & Svartvik, J. (2013). A communicative grammar of English. London: Routledge.
Murphy, R. (2003). English grammar in use with answers: A self-study reference and practice book for intermediate students. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Swan, M., & Smith, B. (2001). Learner English: A teacher’s guide to interference and other problems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.