Native language: Thai
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Birthday: September 6th, 1982
Education: Mahidol University
(Training Course for Instructors of Thai to Foreigners)
Asian Institute of Technology (Master of Science)
Kasetsart University (Bachelor of Economics)
Private Thai tutor, PickupThai
Guest lecturer, Chulalongkorn University
Guest lecturer, Thammasat University
English-Thai translator & interpreter
Program coordinator, APTERR
Project facilitator, Wetlands Alliance
Research associate, Asian Institute of Technology
Foreign Language Ability: English (Fluent)
Tell me a bit about yourself.
Sawatdii khrap. Hi, my name is Tony and I live in Bangkok. I am a native Thai speaker who would love to help others learn the language. My favorite inspirational quote is from Les Brown: “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” When I’m not working I love to travel, as it exposes me to new types of people and different ways of living. I also like playing the guitar and listening to music, because music is the universal language that is always understood by everyone.
What is your work experience?
During my university studies, I worked in a language-related job where I performed as a translator, interpreter, and field assistant for international students. Since completing my master’s degree in 2010, I have been working in the fields of international relations and social development. Additionally, I have occasionally been invited to be a guest lecturer for university students. These experiences have not only helped hone my language skills, but have also given me the opportunity to develop my interpersonal communication and presentation skills to a high level.
Besides being a native speaker of Thai, being fluent in English, and being experienced teaching at university level, what else qualifies you to teach Thai to foreigners?
I’m constantly learning more and improving my Thai language teaching skills so that I can be a better teacher. Recently I attended a class entitled “Training Course for Instructors of Thai to Foreigners” which covered a comprehensive range of topics and methodologies for effectively teaching the Thai language to foreigners. The course covered topics like teaching the basics of the Thai sound system, vowels, consonants, final consonants, and tones; as well as core contemporary Thai vocabulary and grammatical structures, and real-life conversational forms. I’ve found the techniques and methods I learned from the course very effective in helping me to teach my students. Moreover, I have also developed my own special techniques to teach students in a way that makes learning Thai easier and more enjoyable.
What characteristics and qualities of a good teacher do you possess?
I am kind, friendly and congenial and I always make my students feel comfortable and relaxed when learning Thai with me. Essentially, I strive to maintain a warm and welcoming learning environment together with a supportive atmosphere. Also, I’m flexible and I adjust my teaching and find new ways to ensure that my students receive a comprehensive understanding of the Thai language. I work hard to communicate effectively with my students. I do this by making a special effort to speak clearly and slowly so that my students can understand Thai more easily, as well as actively listening and paying close attention to what my students say. I follow this up by asking clarifying questions to better understand them, and then responding appropriately.
Do you think Thai teachers with high English proficiency can help Thai learners to better understand Thai?
Thai and English are very different languages. It often really helps when an explanation in Thai isn’t working to be able to switch to English to be able to communicate some grammar point or vocabulary definition, for instance. The ability to switch back and forth with ease helps avoid misunderstandings and promotes more effective Thai learning.
What do you think about the Thai language?
The Thai language is uniquely pleasing to both the eye and the ear. The spoken language is soothing to listen to, and the graceful curves of the script impart a special beauty to the written language. Most importantly though, the Thai language is not nearly as hard to learn as you think. I look forward to sharing the real Thai language and culture with Thai learners from all over the world who choose to study with me.
Talk about the difference between learning real Thai, and learning “textbook Thai.”
If you want to talk fluently with native Thai speakers, most textbooks do not help you do that. Thai language used in most textbooks is overly formal and outdated, which are not commonly used by native Thai speakers. From my point of view, learning real Thai is more helpful than learning textbook Thai because native Thai speakers never talk in textbook Thai in real life conversations. Therefore, I strongly encourage Thai learners to learn real Thai which native Thai speakers actually use in real-world situations, not textbook Thai.
What do you like most about teaching Thai?
Teaching Thai is my passion. What I like most about teaching Thai is meeting people from other countries and cultures, helping them improve their Thai, and seeing them progress in their lives. No matter what age you are, no matter where you are from, no matter what your background is, I will help you learn to speak Thai just like a native Thai person!