Looks like we’ve got our work cut out; Thailand come out bottom of the pile for English proficiency

A global survey conducted by EF Education First ranked Thailand at number 55 out of 60 countries for English language proficiency.  Looks like us EFL teachers have a lot more work to do to help them to play catch up!

I knew that Thailand wouldn’t fare well, maybe around the middle, but bottom six?  Followed only by Panama, Kazhakstan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq?  Fantastic, this is who Thailand share their English level with:-


OK, so I know Borat is fictional… but, still – for the lol’s.

Considering the high level of tourism and the approach of the formation of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), whose official language is English, Thailand will need to pull their finger out and up their English game pretty sharpish.

The world is becoming a smaller place, where being proficient in English is key to success.  Thailand has spent a long time trying to protect its culture, ways of life and its people – but has that been at the cost of falling behind the rest of the globe?

Malaysia, which is literally less than an hour from where I sit typing this right now, ranked 12th.  I could drive there right now and be able to fully converse with the guy selling me coffee!  Not that I expect or even want to do that in Thailand, but it’s insane that within such a short distance there can be such a massive difference, and it’s all down to education and more importantly, general attitude to needing (and wanting) to learn English.

So many of my students haven’t even realised the importance of English yet, and so they don’t want to learn.  But then again, when they are probably going to take over their father’s rubber plantation and stay living in their little town where English isn’t seen or heard other than for a few lessons a week with the token farang teacher, do they really need to learn it?

Before we force feed the language down their necks, we need to encourage the students to come to their own conclusions about why English is important to them, if it is at all.

Click here to read the full article that brought this to my attention.  And here for the full survey results.

NaBloPoMo – another month, another challenge


No sooner had I prooudly displayed my badge for achieving the Ultimate Blogger Challenge and another challenge sucks me in…

NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month, brought to us by BlogHer The challenge?  Post every day for the month of November.  No particular theme but if you get stuck there is a ist of prompts and questions for each day.

I’m going to continue blogging about Thailand, teaching and me but I’m gonna try and keep up this posting every day for another month.  Apologies in advance if you’re getting fed up with me!  At least this month I’m back in Thailand so there will always be something weird and wonderful to post about.

If you are interested in taking part in the challenge you need to sign up before 5th November.  This looks like it might be the biggest group challenge out there, so get involved if you can!

Photo of the day: Thai spirit house


Most houses and businesses in Thailand have a buddhist shrine in place, many of which are in the form of a spirit house outside the home.  The spirit house is a place of shelter for the bad spirits that would otherwise be in your home.  Offerings of food and drink (often red fanta I have noticed) are made often to appease the spirits and the ritual of burning incense and candles to attract the spirits’ attention.  Prayers and wishes can be made as part of this ritual.  Buddhists believe that by making rituals, prayers and offerings, spirits can be kept at bay and a better life can be lead both now and in the next life.

There are some really beautiful spirit houses lining the streets and they make an especially lovely sight in the peace of the night.  The example above is one I see every day but last night it had been freshly decorated and so I grabbed a picture with the new camera.

Happy spiritual Sunday everyone!  (No, that’s not going to become a weekly feature, don’t worry!)

A to Z of me: X, Y, Z…

And so I find myself at the end of the alphabet and my final post as part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  X, Y and Z are stupidly tricky letters so I have lumped them together and I don’t care what the alphabet police have to say about it.

I have never had a proper x-ray and I’ve never officially broken any bones (although I have a weirdly contorted toe from when I probably broke it and never did anything about it other than watch the nail fall off and limp about in flip flops for a few weeks).  I don’t play the xylophone (I prefer the glokenspiel anyways).

I can’t wear I can’t wear yellow, it makes my skin look a funny colour.  One day me and Tom hope to live on a yacht, but that’s not happening yet.  Let’s see what next year brings for us.

Finally, Z is for ZOOLANDER.  Because, because.

zoo zoo2 zoo3

And that brings us to the end of my A to Z challenge, the ultimate blog challenge, and my blog clogging up your news feed!  I might take a well earned rest for a few days now.  I’m planning on creating a bit of a posting schedule so you can look forward to a more organised blog in the future!  Well, let’s see…

A to Z of me: W is for…


WILBERFORCE!  I have no knowledge of the contents of this book but it is one of my earliest memories of sitting in the back room at my nan’s house, looking at the cover.  Wilberforce the Whale.  It’s a book I will always associate with that time of my life; my early childhood; and yet I’ve never even read it.  Maybe it should go on the reading list.

Wouldn’t Wilberforce make a great name for a pet?  Maybe even for a son?