The 12 Core Values of Thailand

Posted by Claudio on October 2, 2014 in Teaching in Thailand |

The 12 Core Values of Thailand will be recited daily during the flag raising ceremony.Starting this semester, students from Prathom 1 all the way up to Matthayom 6 are reciting the 12 Core Values of Thailand — either at the daily flag raising ceremony in the morning or during class.

As a teacher in Thailand, you should be familiar with these 12 Core Values.

Depending on the level of your students, you may even want to use these core values in your lessons. Students are very familiar with the Thai version and will therefore learn new vocabulary easily. Add a discussion about what each of these values mean to your students to get them actively engaged in your English class.

The 12 Core Values of Thailand in English

  1. Upholding of the three main pillars: the Nation, the Religion, and the Monarchy
  2. Honesty, sacrifice, and patience with positive attitude for the interest of the public
  3. Being grateful to the parents, guardians and teachers
  4. Seeking knowledge and education directly and indirectly
  5. Preservation of Thai traditions and cultures
  6. Maintaining moral, integrity, well-wishes upon others as well as being generous and sharing
  7. Understanding and learning of true democratic ideals with His Majesty the King as Head of State
  8. Maintaining of discipline; respecting laws and the elderly
  9. Being conscious and mindful of action in line with His Majesty’s the King’s royal statements
  10. Applying His Majesty the King’s Sufficiency Economy, saving money for time of need. Being moderate with surplus for sharing or expansion of business while having good immunity
  11. Keeping physical and mental strength, unyielding to the evil power or desires, having sense of shame over guilt and sins in accordance with the religious principles;
  12. Putting the public and national interest before one’s own


Thai Vegetarian Festival

Posted by Claudio on September 23, 2014 in Living in Thailand |

Vegetarians and Vegans rejoice! Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival is starting today. It is held every year in the 10th month of the Thai Lunar Calendar, starting on the 15th day of the waning of the moon. In 2014 the festival is from September 23 until October 3.

Foodstall with Jay Flags

Although Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist country, eating a vegetarian diet is an exception rather than the norm on most days of the year. There are some Thai people who eat vegetarian once a month on Buddha days (full moon) and some eat vegetarian once a week, often on the day of the week they were born. However, during the Vegetarian Festival, you will find a large number of Thais practicing เจ (pronounced jay). The word jay is taken from Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, and means observing the eight precepts. One of these precepts is to refrain from destroying living creatures.

Beyond Avoiding Meat

Despite its name, the Vegetarian Festival is about more than just the avoidance of eating animal meat. It is about keeping up high moral standards, keeping one’s body and eating utensils clean, being mindful of thoughts and actions, and abstaining from sex and alcohol. To me this sounds like a good recipe for life in general, except the sex and alcohol part.

Jay food is comparable to the Western concept of a vegan diet, also excluding milk and eggs in addition to meat, poultry, and fish. It goes even a step further and also excludes some pungent vegetables and spices like onions, garlic and scallion. It is believed those ingredients ignite passion, lead people to anger or lust, and cause people to have too much energy and perspiration.

Dishes I enjoyed at previous Vegetarian Festivals. To see more, check out the gallery.

The Thai Vegetarian Festival is held all over the country, especially in large cities with a high Chinese population. It is celebrated for spiritual and physical cleansing, merit-making, and to create a sense of inner peace. People bring their shrines to Chinese temples to renew their spiritual energy, hang lanterns at the Chinese temples, and light candles outside. Loud drums inside and outside of temples scare away evil spirits. Vendors sell toys, fireworks, and, of course, delicious vegan food.

Restaurants and food stalls offering Jay food during the festival identify themselves with yellow flags and signs with the Chinese symbol for vegetarianism. Most other restaurants will be happy to replace meat with soy protein and bean curd, and they eliminate fish sauce and oyster sauce to accommodate their guests if requested.

The Most Popular Thai Vegetarian Festival

The most colorful and unique festival is the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. It is believed that the festival and its accompanying sacred rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe this rite. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples by entranced devotees known as Mah Song. A Mah Song is a man (or rarely, a woman) possessed by a god during the vegetarian festival. Mah Songs parade through the streets of Phuket, walking across hot coals or exploding fireworks, ascending ladders with bladed rungs, and bathing in hot oil. They pierce their mouths, cheeks, ears, and arms with fish hooks, knives, razor blades, bamboo poles, or even guns and giant wrenches. The deity residing within the Mah Song protects their body from pain and injury. This is confirmed to onlookers by the fact that that very little blood or scarring occurs.

You don’t have to be Buddhist or become a vegetarian to enjoy the festival. There is no pressure to participate. However, sampling an occasional meatless meal, becoming more mindful, and watching the activities during the festival can be a memorable experience. In that sense: Enjoy and have a good time during the Thai Vegetarian Festival!


Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide for EL Teaching – Book Review

Posted by Claudio on August 29, 2014 in Book Reviews |

Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language TeachingLearning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching has been around for more than 20 years and is still one of the most popular TEFL books. There is a DVD included with all the sample lessons as well as demonstrations of the teaching techniques taught in the book.

Chapter 1 is mostly aimed at teachers just starting out. It explains the role of a teacher and methods of teaching English as a second/foreign language.

Chapter 2 deals with how to plan and deliver classroom activities, explaining the benefits of pair- and group-work.

Chapter 3 is a comprehensive view at classroom management. It ranges from seating arrangements and monitoring the classroom to giving instructions and using the board effectively.

Chapter 4 of Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching is titled “Who are the learners?” and explains the difference between individual and group lessons, how to assess the level of your students, and how to get feedback from them.

Chapter 5 introduces language analysis. It provides a good introduction on grammar and vocabulary.

Chapter 6 teaches how to best plan your lessons and courses for maximum success.

Chapter 7 goes into details of teaching grammar with a good explanation of what grammar really is. It introduces the reader to activities that makes learning grammar fun and exciting for your students.

Chapter 8 shows how to teach lexis (compared to just teaching vocabulary) and is based on The Lexical Approach by Michael Lewis. This chapter contains practical activities and games to ensure students will remember lexical items.

Chapter 9 and 10 deal with the four basic language skills, broken into two parts: productive skills (speaking, writing) and receptive skills (listening, reading). As in other chapters, the emphasis is on interactive classroom activities with practical examples.

Chapter 11 covers phonology and pronunciation. It teaches the importance of sounds, word-stress, and connected speech.

Chapter 12 is a focus on language. It shows how to utilize a learners first language, how to correct errors, and how to use dictionaries most effectively.

Chapter 13 provides an overview of the different classes you might encounter: from young learners to teenagers to adults, from exam classes to large groups to business English. This chapter covers pretty much any scenario that you will come across at one time or another in your teaching career.

Chapter 14 introduces technology in the classroom. In today’s classrooms, you will often find interactive whiteboards and projection devices. This chapter shows how to best utilize these technologies effectively.

Chapter 15 is a collection of tools, techniques, and activities that will help you make your classes fun and exciting for your students: flash cards, picture stories, songs and music, drama, projects, and many more.

Chapter 16 finishes the book with closing comments and the question “What’s next?” It explains the importance of continued education to keep your teaching skills fresh and shows ways how to study your own teaching.

Why I recommend Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching?

Learning Teaching: The Essential Guide to English Language Teaching is the most comprehensive, well written TEFL book I have read. It helps beginners with a structured approach and many samples on DVD as much as it is a reference manual providing inspiration and ideas for experienced teachers.



Happy Teacher’s Day (Jan. 16)

Posted by Claudio on January 16, 2014 in Teaching in Thailand |

No school today - It's Teacher's Day in Thailand

To all the teachers in Thailand: 
enjoy the Teacher’s Day and let yourself be celebrated!

Today, the 16th of January, Teacher’s Day (วันครู) is celebrated throughout Thailand.  It’s a special day and most schools are closed to honor teachers for their contribution to society. The first Teachers’ Day was held in 1957; the date was chosen as it marks the enactment of the Teachers Act, which was published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette on January 16, 1945.


The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide – Review

Posted by Claudio on November 29, 2013 in Book Reviews |

The ESL/TEFL Book: ELL Teachers Survival GuideThe ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide is full of practical strategies that can be immediately implemented in the classroom. Experienced English teachers will benefit from this book as much as people who are just starting out. It is well organized. The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide includes much relevant information about teaching English as a second/foreign language.

Part 1 starts with the big picture and ESL best practices. It research about the English Language Learner population. I especially liked the brief tour of ESL teaching best practices. It also describes how to build rapport and a good relationship with your students. This section also shows how to establish routines in the classroom and lists useful resources for English teachers.

Part 2 covers key curriculum elements for beginning English language learners, including a description of a sample teaching week and a year-long schedule. It teaches the reader how to assign homework, use field trips constructively, and how to assess the progress of students.

Part 3 of The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide moves on to a curriculum for intermediate English language learners, including daily instructions and how to write compelling lesson plans for more advanced learners. There is a sample unit showing how a problem/solution exercise can lead to great results as well as an sample for a two-period intermediate class.

Part 4 goes beyond the four basics skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. If you teach additional subjects in English, you will appreciate this section. It provides information for teaching social studies, science, and math to learners of English as a second language.

Part 5 teaches further strategies to ensure success in the classroom. It shows how lessons can be kept interesting with games, how to handle challenges, error correction techniques, and how to assess your students.

Why I recommend The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide?

The strategies outlined in The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide clearly demonstrate the knowledge of author. Larry Ferlazzo has not only vast experience teaching in a classroom, but also as a writer. He has written six books about teaching and classroom management.


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