Teacher Tim's TEFL International Blog September 4th, 2010

Using Modern Media in Your Thai Classroom

Chalkboards and workbooks went out with the Dunce cap. To reach and teach those eager young Thai minds sitting expectantly in your sweltering classroom today you need to be conversant with the latest Internet technology and World Wide Web wonders.

Of course your school is going to back you up on this, providing the most up to date Internet access and the newest model computers on the market.

(I’ll pause here for ten minutes until everyone stops laughing.)

That’s better. Now let’s get down to brass tacks. Let’s talk turkey. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Had enough mindless clichés? It’s one way to fill out a blog, mate.

Your Thai students are all addicted to text messaging, so if you don’t have a clue about that you’d better crawl out from under that rock you’ve been hiding beneath and join the 21st Century. Grab you cell phone and start texting your students during class, with something like this: Subject pronouns are used when the pronoun is the subject of the sentence. You can remember subject pronouns easily by filling in the blank subject space for a simple sentence.

Just imagine it; you and twenty young scholars all hunched over your cell phones busily pushing buttons for a full fifty minutes. What an easy way to teach – it’s almost like money for old rope! (gotta love those clichés!)

Of course all the students in your class have got portable DVD players or else can play DVDs right on their Blackberries (ever wonder where these little twerps get the money for those fancy-schmansy things when you can barely afford to pay your laundry bill each week? I hope you’re getting your laundry done each week – that black collar around your neck does not make you look like a priest, dude!) There are some great ESL movies out there you can have your students download, like Indiana Jones and the Past Perfect Gerund or Back to the Future Tense.

But of course the primary idea for your pupils is to get ‘em on the computer and let them work on language skills like it was a video game while you catch up on the football scores at your desk.

Now for all you old geezers who started teaching in Thailand back when dinosaurs still swam in the klongs, I don’t want you to get excited or negative. In the last few years computers and the Internet have made vast strides in becoming extremely user-friendly. It’s as easy as falling off a log (come to think of it, I fell off a log just last night – I wonder what it was doing in the middle of Sukhumvit?)

First you have to log in with your user name and password.

Whoops . . . I guess that’s not my password, after all. Hmmm . . . I thought it was. Just a minute, here. Lemme try again . . . nope, guess that’s not it. Drat, I’ve forgotten what it is. I know I wrote it down someplace . . . maybe in my attendance book? No, not there. Must be in one of these lesson plans somewhere . . . what’s this? No, that’s my password for my ATM card. What’s this thingy? Hmmm . . . that could be it, by golly. Yes! I’m in. Ha ha! Thought you could defeat me, did you? You dastardly collection of chips and silicon.

Now just move your mouse to click on . . . hey, this mouse is awfully sticky. Did somebody spill something on my mouse? Oh, that’s great – that’s just great! It’s as sticky as scotch tape. Yuck. And there’s ants all over it. This is disgusting. Truly disgusting. I’m gonna have to soak this thing in formaldehyde. There, I’ll just wipe it off with my handkerchief for now . . . very good.

Okay. So we click on the LESSON icon and bingo! We have our interactive lesson plan all ready to download to the students and . . . whoa, what’s that little blinking thing? Error message? What error? Whose error? Not mine! I didn’t do nothin’. It says “click here for more information.” Okay, so I click there and . . . now what? Now the screen has gone blank. Rebooting? Why in the sam hill is it rebooting? I didn’t want to reboot! Okay, just stay calm. Jay yen yen, as my students say.

Okey-dokey. We’re up and running again. Very good. Click on the LESSON icon and there it is, ready to download. A few more clicks and it’s beginning to download and soon I’ll be deep into my crossword puzzle . . . oh, oh . . . the Internet is down. For how long, Somsuk? Several hours?

O my god, I’m going to have to really teach a lesson!