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.

A to Z of me: A is for…


The whole point of this Ultimate Blog Challenge is to give me content to blog about and avoid writer’s block.  So of course I should get stuck on the first letter on the first day, the letter ‘A’.  I’m not overly fond of apples, abseiling or acrobatics and neither do I have a penchant for American history or arachnids.  I was born in April but what more can I say about that?

So the first installment of my A to Z of me is simply an ‘about me’ questionnaire that I have found doing the rounds in the blogosphere.

1. Are you named after anyone? 
Technically yes, I suppose.  Won’t take you two guesses to figure out who.  If you don’t know who Kylie Minogue is then either you have been living under a rock or you are too young and now make me feel old.  Anyway, just to clarify I wasn’t named after Kylie Minogue the popstar, she was a lesser known actress in the then-new Australian soap Neighbours (which, coincidentally, I watched all through my childhood and teenage years).  My mum saw her name in the credits and decided it would be a nice name for her baby (me…).  Within a year of my birth she was catapulted into fame (Minogue, not my mum…) and from then on everyone assumed my mum was really into The Locomotion and wanted to immortalise her pop-love in the name of her first born child.  NOT TRUE.
Just look at that beautiful 80s outfit – the patterned jumper, the jacket, the knee high leather boots, that perm…
When I introduce myself people often mis-hear my name as Carly, Kayleigh or Heidi.  So I usually have to say, “…as in Kylie Minougue”.  If I don’t then it’s usually the first thing people say back to me, followed by an I should be so lucky joke, or something along those lines.
2. Do you have a middle name?
Another technicality, and this time it’s a techinically no.  Keen to further confuse people about my name, my parents chose to hyphenate it and add Anne on the end (note, with an ‘e’ to further, further complicate things).  So my full first name is actually Kylie-Anne according to things that matter like my passport and my bank, but when you find yourself living on the other side of the world where hyphens don’t actually exist and you find yourself with a Thai visa in one name that doesn’t quite match your passport.  Luckily the immigration peeps don’t appear to check the finer details… like names…
hyphen-signBig ups to the hyphen crew.
3. Do you have kids?
Negative.  No, no, no.  Unless the cat counts?
Cat-Lady-Art-QuiltWho needs a family when you can surround yourself with feline friends?
4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself? 
Most definitely.  Although I would find me a bit annoying probably.  I find me a bit annoying sometimes.  My poor friends.
5. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
I try to.  I often fail.  Actually what I fail at the most is noticing other people’s sarcasm, so sometimes comments go straight over my head or I take things too literally.  So my sarcasm is usually a bit crap.
6. Will you ever bungee jump?
I cannot fathom how anyone can find flinging themselves off a high point on a length of cord any kind of fun.  I can’t even go on big roller coasters.  Some people do sponsored bungees, I could do a fundraising go on the log flume.
7. What’s your favorite cereal? 
a)  I don’t eat cereal and b) what a crap ‘about me’ question!
8. What’s the first thing you notice about people?
Their face.  Not if it’s a nice face in particular, but it’s the first thing that you look at isn’t it?
9. What is your eye colour? 
Hazel, which is a more imginative way of saying lighter shade of brown.
10. Scary movie or happy endings?
As a teenager I loved scary movies, slasher films and anything gory.  As I’ve got older I’ve developed a squemishness that means I much prefer happy endings.  Or sad ones, everyone loves The Notebook don’t they?
11. Favorite smells? 
Ooooh, you can’t beat the smell of a freshly baked Cornish pasty!
tumblr_lueef11mPM1qb1rwho1_400ERHMEGERRRD CATS AND PASTIES
12. Summer or winter?!
Having lived in constant summer for the past 12 months I am looking forward to some wintry days when I visit home (in 2 actual days – eeek!) BUT, I still think I prefer summer.  Living in Cornwall we have the beaches to go to, and long summer evenings = plenty of gin/pimms/anything drinking in lovely places with lovely people.
13. Computer or television?
Computer – you can watch TV on a computer, duh.  Also, have lived without a TV for one year now, youtube and downloads is enough for me.
14. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
Right now.  I am currently 6000 miles from my hometown!
15. Do you have any special talents?
I can cross one eye which is a super special talent.  That’s it.  It’s a good one though.
16. Where were you born?
I was born in Treliske Hospital, Truro, Cornwall – which is where David Cameron, UK prime minister’s baby was born last year.  Pointless fact, but fact nonetheless.
17. What are your hobbies?
I like writing rubbish on my blog and throwing it out into the universe for all to see.  I attempt to play the guitar (actually, I’m getting alright now) and I love cooking but don’t do too much of that now I have a Thai half-kitchen (no oven!).  I always feel I should have a more constructive hobby, or a sport or something like that… but that would take real effort.
18. Do you have any pets?
Right now I have got a cat called Cat, rescued from under the stairs at school, Patches the puppy, rescued from the side of the road and also a part-pet Khao, a street dog who calls out garden home.  None of these animals are fully my pet, I’m more of a temporary custodian…
19. Favorite movie?
Uhh… I don’t know.  I always feel like I should say something insightful, Schindler’s List perhaps, or some arty film.  But I quite like Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion because I watched it over 100 times with my best friend Laura and we loved it.  Laura even had a cassette tape of Time After Time, the song from the dance scene, repeated endlessly so we could listen to it AT ALL TIMES.
20. Do you have any siblings?
I have one ‘little’ brother (who most definitely towers over me) who is 16 and still at school.  There’s a mighty ten and a half years between us so I got all the upbringing of an only child and then, when I was used to getting my own way and always winning, along came a little brother.  It was fine though, although my mum coming into my class 6 lesson on making babies to talk about her pregnancy was probably the worst moment of my school life.
So, there you have it.  20 pointless facts about yours truly, and one post down in the Ultimate Blog Challenge.
Now, what to do for ‘B’…