ECSC Students Discussing English Vocabulary

What to Do, and Not to Do, in English Training in Thailand

ECSC embraces and rejects some of the traditional approaches to English training.

The reason ECSC started our English communication skills center is so we could do things differently. One surprisingly non-traditional approach that we take to English training is that we do not focus on grammar like most ESL language centers in Thailand do.

Instead, we focus on “multi-words,” which is our straightforward term for pre-assembled multiple-word vocabulary items like collocations, fixed expressions, phrasal verbs, idioms, and even complete sentences. Just like single-word vocabulary, you can recall multi-words from memory as individual units and use them easily when you want to speak.

When you learn multi-words at ECSC, you will learn when (situation), why (function/purpose), and how (tone) to use them. You will also learn the components of single-word vocabulary items like prefixes, suffixes, and root words. And, you will have plenty of opportunities to practice using your new vocabulary through real conversations with your trainer.

Other Things ECSC Does and Doesn’t Do

What you learn at ECSC will depend on the second thing that we do differently, which is to give you a customized course outline prior to starting your course. This outline is your personalized curriculum. We don’t use off-the-shelf grammar books.

The list below describes 5 other traditional approaches to English instruction that we either Do or Do Not Do in our training. They are things that make us different from all the other ESL (English as a Second Language) schools in Thailand.

1. We Do Prioritize Vocabulary Over Grammar

Recognizing the importance of vocabulary in language acquisition is a big difference. Unlike the traditional grammar-heavy approach, emphasizing vocabulary enables students to engage in meaningful, realistic, and context-rich communication. Instead of getting stuck trying to remember rules, you will learn words and phrases that you can use in your daily life.

Vocabulary-driven training allows for quicker language production when you are speaking English, which makes you more confident, and helps you recognize patterns in English. Fluency is the aim, not academic-level accuracy.

2. We Do Not Hesitate to Correct Errors

For some reason, ESL instruction has traditionally regarded error correction as detrimental to learning English. We would agree that over-correction can hinder fluency and confidence, but ignoring errors altogether limits students’ growth.

It is crucial to strike a balance between stopping to correct errors in a lesson and letting students continue in order not to interfere with fluency. The right balance helps students recognize errors and strive for accuracy, without making them scared of making mistakes.

Actually, to minimize students’ negative feelings when they “mess up,” we regard speaking “mistakes” as imperfections and “error correction” as reformulation. Constructive and positive reformulation offers learners valuable feedback, allowing them and their instructor to identify weaknesses and fix them.

3. We Do Reconsider “Teacher Talk Time”

The traditional idea is that the amount of time that your trainer talks during a lesson should be minimized. And while there is some truth to this – we do not want your trainer speaking for 85 minutes and you speaking for 5 minutes during a 90-minute training session – we believe in being flexible.

It must be recognized that when your trainer is talking it is a chance for you to practice listening to natural native speech. For beginners, more teacher-led guidance may be necessary, while advanced learners will benefit from increased opportunities to engage in realistic conversations.

We strive to provide an environment where students can observe context-rich language usage. So, rather than being strict about limiting teacher talk time to a certain percentage of any given lesson, teacher talk time should be tailored to students’ abilities and needs.

4. We Do Not Insist on a 100% Immersive Environment

Trying to replicate living/working/studying in the UK or USA is thought to be a requirement for effective English learning by traditionalists. Most language centers in Bangkok insist on NO THAI SPOKEN EVER!

And while I have certainly had my fair share of annoying experiences in language centers in Bangkok where way too much Thai was spoken – such as having Channel 3 stuck on the television in the student lounge area or Hollywood action movies on the DVD player (which have very little dialogue to begin with and usually had the Thai soundtrack AND Thai subtitles on!) – we believe that the use of your “L1” (your first language) and the use of translation apps is okay.

We just want to make sure that when students are in the ECSC environment that they are not in a heavily pasa Thai environment.

5. We Do Strive For Fluency Over Perfection

First, let’s define “fluency” in the ECSC style: You can speak freely like you do in your first language, without hesitating, without translating your language to English before speaking, without worrying about “being wrong.”

And in our opinion, filling up your vocabulary with multi-words is one of the best ways to become fluent. Knowing words instead of rules promotes authentic language use, and remember: just as most native English speakers are not grammar experts, we do not even speak perfectly either. In fact, there is no such thing as “perfect English.”

While accuracy remains important, fluency encourages students to engage in conversations confidently, without being shy about grammar imperfections. Your lessons with ECSC trainers will be all about fluency.

In summary, your English training with ECSC will focus on vocabulary, reformulate your imperfections in real time, provide plenty of opportunity for you to listen to realistic speech, encourage the use of tools necessary for you to learn, and direct you towards fluency instead of perfection – and, above all else, you will have good, productive lessons each and every time!

Some of the topics covered in our English courses:

Day-to-Day English:

Meeting new people, greetings & goodbyes, health & how you’re feeling, asking for & giving directions, making plans & reservations, friends & family relations, restaurants & dining, ordering & paying, time & sleep, art & music, and much more…

Workplace English:

Making suggestions, politely disagreeing, asking for feedback, offering opinions, “small talk" at work, discussing spreadsheets & numbers, meetings & presentations, resumes & job interviews, negotiating & influencing, and much more…

To learn more about multi-words and how they can help you speak English more clearly and confidently, contact ECSC today. You can reach us on Line or at 064-934-5284.
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