Novel methods win praise
Teachers honoured for unusual approach to French studies
Fascinated with video clip-making and how it can be applied in education, a 29-year old French language teacher from Kaennakhon Witthayalai School in Khon Kaen province was eager to send a 40-second clip to enter a national contest promoting the teaching of French, filming himself with his students.
The competition, the country's first, was launched by the ambassador of France to promote French-speaking among Thais.
He was among five winners and gets a 15-day internship and cultural visit to France. The students will get gifts from the embassy.
The winner of the secondary school teacher category, Narenrit Puttasri, said creating an atmosphere in the classroom in which students feel confident to speak French is the best way to improve a student's ability.
His students are even keener to take part when technology and innovation are applied to the French course, which could help raise their attention levels.
"I have received good feedback from my students. They say they can understand French better than the other languages that they have learnt, making me believe in the ability of technology to improve education," he said.
Panupan Junfeung, 27, a lecturer from Silpakorn University's Faculty of Arts, was one of two winners in the university teacher category. He said since he comes from an arts-based university, so he applied artistic techniques to teaching French, including drawing by listening to French sentences, stage plays and more. He also created a French-speaking community at the university. By this means, he said, his students grow more comfortable in speaking French.
He said the French language can create job opportunities, and is also increasing in popularity. Most years, the university has from around 50 students learning French; but this year, the figure has increased to over 60.
Emmanuel Macron, president of the French Republic, created the International Day for Teachers of the French Language, which was held on Nov 28. Activities and events were organised all over the world that day to create links and forge solidarity.
In Thailand, over 600 teachers giving instruction in French in 210 secondary schools, 30 universities, international schools -- including the French International High School in Bangkok, and at Alliances Françaises in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phuket.
Speaking at the awards reception at the Alliance Française Bangkok Auditorium, Jacques Lapouge, ambassador of France to Thailand, said a campaign to promote the French language has been launched to make French more visible at schools and universities.
Meanwhile, Isabelle Duchet, a teacher at Alliance Française, said the number of students taking French courses is rather stable with around 2,000 students per year, adding the institute has applied both traditional approaches coupled with technology to aid their understanding of French.
"We have created a friendly teaching environment, but we are still strict with content, as we believe students should get what they paid for," she said.