Re: “Thai international schools shouldn’t shun non-native teachers”, have Your Say, June 22.
I absolutely agree with Kaito Yamamato that the preferential hiring of native English speakers to teach science and maths leads to deficient education. I bet that the majority of such teachers do not even have science backgrounds, graduating with mere elementary education degrees. It is an absolute travesty that so many unqualified native English speakers whose only skill is clicking a mouse are making upwards of Bt100,00 per month teaching science or maths at international schools or even Thai university bilingual programmes.
The fact remains that Western countries are not graduating enough students in STEM (science, technology, English and maths) subjects, and many of those who do graduate are overseas students from Asia.
What many people here do not appreciate is that the smartest students from Western countries do not major in English or education, but rather in engineering. Yet most teaching job ads here ask for graduates in education or English, thinking that these individuals will just magically make people learn English better.
That is a bit of a stretch, considering that these teachers are basically the lowest level university graduates – at least in the US, anyway. And people wonder why the ESL situation is as dire as it is right now!
A paradigm shift is needed, I think. Rather than looking for people in specific subjects, a better approach is to get the smartest graduates as English teachers – most would be graduates in science and engineering – and pay them appropriately. A good start would be to have mandatory IQ tests for all incoming teachers.
And rather than hiring just anybody who speaks passable English, the Thai government needs to make a new law mandating that only native speakers can be hired to teach English.
Almost all other countries hire only natives to teach English. So why is Thailand different?