Student Diaries

For the past three months or so, you have been reading the diaries of expats and Thai people living abroad. For the most part, these people are all adults. However, two of the bloggers here are two of my ex-students. One is studying in the UK and the other in a school in Bangkok. Another of my ex-students is Gor who of course used to write a column for the Bangkok Post about his life. At the moment I am hoping that he will start writing his column again. Maybe the other two bloggers will also one day start writing their own column for a national newspaper.

It is not always that easy to get Thai students to write their thoughts down on a piece of paper. I have always criticized the Thai educational system as it doesn’t encourage the students to think for themselves. They are told what to think and not how to think. When I teach my English class of Primary 6 students I get them to write things about their life. It is difficult to start with because they cannot think of what to write. Or even how to write it in a sensible order. So, I first teach them how to draw mind maps which is the first step of writing essays. After a few months of doing this they get quite good. The funny thing is, they are now doing something which they cannot do in their own language. Thai students don’t write essays like foreign students do.

A lot of people found it strange when I told them that Gor could only write his columns in English. His problem is that I had taught him how to think in the English language. When he planned his columns he didn’t write anything first in Thai. He thought about it in English and then wrote it in English. If someone asked him to write the column in Thai he would then fail. He couldn’t even translate his columns into Thai.

Since I first started teaching, things have changed a lot. We are no longer restricted to pen and paper. This year for the first time, I have asked my students to start writing daily diaries or blogs. Basically they are a bit like this one here, but it is all in Thai at the moment. I have found it fascinating to read as it gives you a bit of insight into school life. The students are actually surprisingly frank. They complain about how much homework the teachers have given them and which ones are kind or too strict. You might see that the students sometimes say that I gave them too much homework. So, I retaliated and gave them even more the next day!

I think we are in the third week now. Some of them are running out of steam and are having difficulty finding things to say. I think next week I will start giving them topics to write about, much the same as what we already do here on these blogs. I will also later get them to write some diaries and other stuff in English. I think all of this is excellent training for them to be bloggers and even columnists in the future. I wish I had a blog when I was younger.

I will have to stop now because our beloved prime minister wants everyone to turn off the power at 8.45 p.m. for five minutes. Apparently he will be doing a countdown to this event on tv. See you later once power has been restored.

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