Press Releases Thailand TESOL

Worldaware recognises Thailand TESOL for outstanding contribution to effective transfer of English language skills

Thailand TESOL, a non-profit and non-political organisation which promotes English language teaching practice in Thailand, has won the British Council Award for the Effective Transfer of English Language Skills in the Worldaware Business Awards, presented on 29 January 2003.

The Worldaware Business Awards, now in their 14th year, recognise projects that have contributed to the development of poorer countries through innovative and sustainable commercial activities. The British Council Award is given to a private or public organisation working in the developing Commonwealth, which has enhanced its own or others' ability to participate in international trade.

Thailand TESOL has helped improve the teaching of English, despite large classes - often classes are 45 pupils and over, and some are 80-100 strong. Thailand TESOL works with the British Council Bangkok and other institutions in conducting the training.

One of Thailand's strengths is that it has a national language used by all Thais. This meant it had few English speakers, with teachers concentrating on reading and translating rather than on using the language. Now, the need to use English and learn from English texts is growing.

TESOL was formed in 1980 as a Thai affiliate of the Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Since then, ThaiTESOL has helped 25,000 teachers to teach English in a more practical and communicative way. Over 1,000 people attended its conference in January 2002.

ThaiTESOL is administered by an unpaid committee of 25 and charges members a subscription of about 4.50 a year. It runs workshops, conferences, a newsletter, and a research bulletin. It provides programmes for DLTV, Thailand's Distance Education Via Satellite channel. DLTV, available to 3,000 schools, aims to give pupils in remote areas the same opportunities as those in Bangkok. With the same aim, teachers outside Bangkok have formed ThaiTESOL groups that run local workshops.

ThaiTESOL helps teachers in other countries. It helped Sri Lankan English teachers set up an association in 1999. In Laos, it helped organise the first training workshop, which led to the forming of LaosTESOL. ThaiTESOL has provided consultancy to Vietnam which now has a teachers' club with 30 members.

All Thai schools are to have computers from 2003. To take advantage of this, ThaiTESOL plans to use the 1,000 prize associated with its Worldaware award to help set up a professional development programme. It will train 40 English teachers to make use of the World Wide Web, including new material from the British Council. The 40 will train other teachers who will teach others, so that the training cascades through Thailand's schools.

"The Award will make a great deal of difference to us," said Associate Professor Suchada Nimmannit, President of Thai TESOL. "With its help, Thailand TESOL, in collaboration with the British Council in Thailand, hopes to reach out to more teachers of English in Thailand and abroad. It will help us link them up so that they will continue to learn from each other and engage in an interactive and stimulating mode of life long learning."

For further information:
Thailand TESOL: Suchada Nimmannit nsuchada@chula.ac.th
Worldaware: Helen Triggs 020 7603 8574 Sally Canty 02380 283255

Note to editors

Worldaware is a UK charity which aims to promote the widest understanding of global development issues, their importance and the interdependence of today's world.

The Worldaware Awards recognise both large and small businesses and institutions. They were established 14 years ago and have become a sought after source of recognition by companies, organisations and institutions involved in sustainable commercial and educational projects.