As the Regional English Training Centres Project (RETC) draws to a close, Thai Master Trainer (TMT) Tor reflects on the experience. Tor Wilat Khammeekaen worked alongside British Council trainers, team-training, delivering training sessions and observing and giving feedback to teachers. At the end of each course he asked himself if he had helped turn “unaware teachers” into “capable teachers, or inspired teachers”. He hopes they have all become “capable teachers who can use knowledge of teaching and learning English, manage their classrooms effectively, and be confident in using English to deliver lessons/sessions, and become inspired teachers.” He believes that inspired teachers will in turn create inspired learners.
Tor is one of 45 TMTs who will keep the RETC work going, ensuring that the project is sustainable after the British Council-led courses finish. TMTs can use their skills to train and mentor other Thai teachers, supported by around 60 other teachers, identified as agents of change. They have been mentored by British Council mentors so they can become facilitators in future English Teaching Professional Learning Communities.
Over two years the British Council worked in close partnership with the Thai Ministry of Education with RETC growing from 12 teacher trainers based in four centres to 45 trainers in 15 centres. Thanks to this, the project helped to develop the confidence, English teaching skills and classroom English of over 15,000 primary and secondary school teachers across the country.
Teachers took part in a three-week intensive course which used British Council course materials tailored to the Thai context. The trainers created a fun, dynamic and interactive training environment, giving teachers the skills they need to deliver effective English lessons back in their own schools. By the end of the course, 90% of teachers felt more confident using English, just under 90% had improved their teaching skills and more than 60% had improved their classroom English.
Tor sums up the future of English teaching in Thailand well; “We genuinely hope to help students and contribute to their future. As a TMT, I hope all teachers retain the goals that motivate and challenge them and continue their professional development.”