Thailand's 2012 English Speaking Year programme begins with former Prime Minister teaching class of eager Thai students.
In photo above former British prime minister Tony Blair talks to students during his visit to the Education Ministry yesterday (Photo: Jetjaras Na Ranong).
Click button to listen to Tony Blair teaches English in Thailand to download
EDUCATION: Britain's ex-PM Blair teaches Thai children by Lamphai Intathep
The government's "2012 English Speaking Year" programme was given a big boost yesterday, with Britain's former prime minister Tony Blair acting as an honorary English teacher for a group of young students.
"Hello, it is good to be with you today," Mr Blair greeted his class during a 10-minute session at the Education Ministry, during which he taught the students some English words and urged them to repeat after him.
A group of about 100 students from several age groups joined officials in welcoming the former PM, who is making a three-day visit to Bangkok to attend the CEO Forum organised by the Industry Ministry and Board of Investment.
The Education Ministry has been campaigning for students at schools nationwide to speak English at least one day a week under its 2012 English Speaking Year programme.
"How happy I am that Thailand decided to take the teaching of English seriously," Mr Blair said.
It makes sense as the world today is more and more one community and English is a universal language. So it is very sensible for the education system in Thailand to do this.
The pupils were also able to take part in a question and answer session.
"Do you like Thailand?" Micky, a six-year-old girl, asked.
"Yes I do. I like Thailand for many reasons. I also spent my honeymoon in Thailand," Mr Blair replied.
"Should English be the main language among Asean nations?" a Mathayom student asked.
"For Asean, it makes sense as the world today is more and more one community and it is important to learn other languages," Mr Blair said.
Education Minister Woravat Au-apinyakul said the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has agreed to help the country with education development and English language teaching.
Mr Blair, who arrived in Bangkok yesterday, is to meet Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Kittiratt Na-Ranong and Finance Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala.
Also yesterday, Ms Yingluck presided over a ceremony to mark National Teachers' Day. The ceremony included the presentation of awards to outstanding teachers.
Ms Yingluck said the government realised the important role of teachers and has tried to solve their long-standing financial problems so they may work more efficiently.
(Source: Bangkok Post, EDUCATION, Britain's ex-PM Blair teaches Thai children, 17/01/2012, Lamphai Intathep, link)
English Teaching Vocabulary
2012 English Speaking Year programme - a Thai government program that "aims to make Thailand ready to be a part of the ASEAN Community in 2015, because the English language is a major medium of communication among ASEAN member countries. Also, the program will raise Thai people’s awareness of ASEAN. This program will be initiated in schools and involve plenty of academic activities. These activities will let teachers and students have opportunities to speak English and build up their confidence in using it without excessive concern about grammatical errors... one day a week teachers and students should do academic activities together by speaking in English. They may include setting up an English corner in a school and English guide training. The Ministry of Education will provide an English preparation course for teachers as well" (See government announcement)
ASEAN - the association of countries in Southeast Asia (Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam , Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia), the organization has many of the same long-term goals of the European Union in the areas of economic cooperation and economic integration (See Wikipedia)
Tony Blair - Prime Minister of the UK for over 10 years from 1997 to 2007 (See Wikipedia)
Tony Blair Faith Foundation - an organization founded by Tony Blair in 2008 soon after the end of his term as Prime Minister with a goal to "counter extremism in all six leading religions... the Foundation's basic premises are that 1) faith is important to many, underpinning their systems of thought, their behaviour and the behaviour of many of the world's progressive movements and that 2) the great religions share values of respect, justice and compassion. But it is also recognised that faith can be divisive, too. This is viewed by the Foundation as being based on distortions of faith rather than being intrinsic to it. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation's aim is to use the tools of modern communications to 'educate, inform and develop understanding' about various faiths and the relationships between them. It aims to do this in such a way as to address global poverty and conflict" (See Wikipedia)
English language teaching - (See Wikipedia)
honorary - a title, position or membership given to a person without having to meet the normal requirements (example: honorary doctorate degree)
honorary English teacher
boost - to strengthen or increase เพิ่ม; ทำให้มีกำลังมากขึ้น
given a big boost - helped to make stronger
session - 1. a period of time doing an activity (example: an exercise session); 2. a meeting การชุมนุม
a 10-minute session
urge - ask or request to do something, encouraged people to do, tried to get them to do; advised someone very strongly about what action should be taken วิงวอน
repeat after me - say it, after I say it
urged them to repeat after him
age group - a group of people about the same age (example: from age 7 to 9)
100 students from several age groups
nationwide - including the whole country ทั่วประเทศ ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
campaigning for students at schools nationwide to speak English at least one day a week
take seriously - be "serious" about something, treat it as "important" ซีเรียส
take the teaching of English seriously
sensible - actions or decisions that are practical and logical, made to solve problems and achieve goals (rather than based only on emotions) มีเหตุผล, ซึ่งมีวิจารณญาณ (rational, well-reasoned, wise, all have same meaning)
it makes sense - same as "sensible"
it is very sensible for the education system in Thailand to do this
community - 1. a group of people who know each other; have something in common and are friends); 2. the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
the world today is more and more one community
universal - involving everyone ทั่วไป (relates to everyone, can be used by everyone)
universal language - a lingua franca; a language that can be used by everyone to communicate (talk, send messages, etc)
lingua franca - a language that makes communication possible between people not sharing the same native language (See Wikipedia)
communication (noun) - give or share information with other people by speaking or writing การติดต่อสื่อสาร (See Wikipedia)
native language - the first language you learn from your family when you are a child
English is a universal language
Should English be the main language among Asean nations?
For Asean, it makes sense as the world today is more and more one community and it is important to learn other languages.
pupils - students
take part in - when a person joins other people in doing an activity together
question and answer session - a special period of time when questions are answered (usually after a presentation), also called a "Q & A session")
the pupils were also able to take part in a question and answer session
reason - เหตุผล
I like Thailand for many reasons
honeymoon - the trip (holiday, vacation) taken by a man and woman who have just got married ฮันนีมูน, น้ำผึ้งพระจันทร์, ความสุขร่วมกันของสามีภรรยาที่เพิ่งสมรสกันใหม่
I also spent my honeymoon in Thailand
development - the gradual growth and formation of something
National Teacher's Day - a special day held in many countries to appreciate and show respect for the work of teachers; World Teacher's Day is held every October 5th (See Wikipedia)
presided - to be in charge of a formal meeting or ceremony เป็นประธาน
ceremony - a formal public event งานพิธี
mark - to celebrate something; show respect for or commemorate ฉลอง (record สถิติ show that something is happening เป็นเครืองแสดง)
presided over a ceremony
a ceremony to mark National Teachers' Day
presided over a ceremony to mark National Teachers' Day.
award - รางวัล
presentation of awards - the event in which "awards" are given to the people who won them
outstanding - excellent; doing something very well, much better than what is usual ยอดเยี่ยม, ดีเด่น
outstanding teachers - excellent teachers
presentation of awards to outstanding teachers
realise - understand
role - what a person typically does in an organisation or activity บทบาท
important role - what they do is an important part of some activity
realise the important role of teachers - understand that the work of teachers is important for society
long-standing financial problems - money problems that a person has had for a long time
solve their long-standing financial problems
efficiently - done in an effective, organised way อย่างมีประสิทธิภาพ (doing tasks successfully without wasting time, energy or resources)
the government realised the important role of teachers and has tried to solve their long-standing financial problems so they may work more efficiently
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