What is the teaching method of the personal Thai lessons?

The personal Thai lessons, whether by Skype or in person, follow a similar teaching method.

The basic principle is building an ever larger and larger set of what is called 'comprehensible input', meaning simply, that the person can understand more and more.

Vocabulary building

Each 1-hour lesson typically introduces around 10 new words.  These words are introduced and practised in the following three ways: firstly as individual vocabulary items, then in very simple phrases or sentences, and finally in complex sentences.  Let me now describe in a little more detail how each stage works.

Learning individual vocabulary items

We begin by introducing new words in a very structured way.  The teacher shows a picture of an object, a monkey say, and says the word a few times in Thai, so that the student gets chance to hear the word clearly and simply pronunced.   Wherever possible, the teacher will use the real object if it is something simple like a fork or a camera, but this is rather harder if the object is something like a monkey or a bridge.  Then the teacher shows a picture of a second object, and again says the word a few times in Thai so that the student gets to hear the word clearly.  

Now that the student has heard two new words, the teacher will give the student some trivial practise, by saying one of the two words and asking the student to point at the correct picture or object.  With only two objects this is of course easy, and you will see that anyone can do this.  

The teacher then introduces a picture or object for a third word, saying the word clearly at least twice so that the student can just listen and reflect on what the word sounds like.  Then the teacher will go straight back into saying one of the three new words and asking the student to point at the correct new word.  The teacher will do this more than just once for each word, but will do it so that the student has to get it right several times for each word.  Thus, for 3 words, a teacher would likely ask around 6 questions.  It is easy for an inexperienced teacher to think that this is too easy and they should move on quicker, because the student has already grasped the words, but the student is often not quite so sure of the words, or at the very least benefits greatly from hearing the words said again and again.

Whenever a new word is placed on the table, the words are shuffled around a little, to ensure that the student is relying on his translation ability to know the correct word.

The teacher then introduces a fourth word with the same method with now a longer quizzing.  At each stage the aim of the teacher is to make sure the student really does know the words as well as reasonably possible before adding another word.

This manner of adding new words continues until the tenth word has been added and firmly bedded in by a final extensive quizzing.

If you are familiar with Lingopolo, you will perhaps realise that this is extremely similar to the way in which words are added and built up in any of the Thai online lessons.  This is no coincidence; this website was designed specifically to mimic the way in which our real teacher work, to basically be .

To be continued...