Posted tagged ‘Thai Language Schools in Chiang Mai’

Top 5 Thai Courses in Chiang Mai

January 6, 2010

Chiang Mai Thai Courses

There are literally dozens of Thai courses and schools available in Chiang Mai to choose from. Finding the right one can be tough, but a few are consistently recommended by friends of mine here in Chiang Mai that have spent some time on the Thai language learning scene.

Below you’ll find my pics for the top 5 Thai courses in Chiang Mai. My students have studied at all 5 of these places, and with several other smaller schools and private tutors that didn’t make the cut. These seem to be not only my picks but the picks of my students as well.

So, without further ado… ( In no particular order)

My Picks for the Top 5 Thai Courses in Chiang Mai:

#5- A.U.A Language Center
Address:
73 Ratchadamnern Road
Prasing, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
ph: +66 053 278407

Thai Courses Offered:
Thai 1, Thai 2, Thai 3, Small Talk, Basic Reading and Writing, Advanced Reading and Writing

Course Fees: 4200 Baht per course

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes (150 Baht)

Class Times:
10:00am – 12:00pm (or) 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Monday – Friday

Private Lessons: Yes (350 Baht / hr)

The good:These guys are a time tested option for ex-pats who live in Chiang Mai and want to study Thai. A lot of people have studied here and have good things to say about them. I found the classes to be good, but a bit slow.

The bad and the Ugly : They don’t offer student visas, even for long term students and the teachers also ignore the text and “teach from the hip”.

#4- YMCA Language Center
Address:
73 Ratchadamnern Road
Prasing, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
ph: +66 053 278407

Thai Courses Offered:
Thai 1, Thai 2, Thai 3, Small Talk, Basic Reading and Writing, Advanced Reading and Writing

Course Fees: 4200 Baht per course

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes (150 Baht)

Class Times:
10:00am – 12:00pm (or) 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Monday – Friday

Private Lessons: Yes (450 Baht / hr)

The good These guys are a time tested option for ex-pats who live in Chiang Mai and want to study Thai. A lot of people have studied here and have good things to say about them. I found the classes to be good, but a bit slow.

The bad and the Ugly They don’t offer student visas, even for long term students and the teachers also ignore the text and “teach from the hip”.

#3- Chiang Mai University
Address:
239 Huay Kaew Road
Muang District, Chiang Mai
Thailand, 50200

Thai Courses Offered:

One Year Thai Language and Culture Course, Speak Thai in 15 Days Introduction Course, Thai 1, Thai 2, Thai 3

Course Fees: 5,000 per unit, or 30,000 for the One Year Program

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes

Class Times:
Vary by class / instructor availability

Private Lessons: No

The good : Chiang Mai Unversity is regarded as Northern Thailand’s number one school, and with good reason. The language institute has a good reputation for their 45 hour Thai 1 course, when it is available.

The bad and the Ugly : The 30 hour course is basically a paid educational visa program. You pay 30,000 baht, you study 4 hours a week, and you get a 1 year visa from the Thai government. The Thai 1 class is good, but often doesn’t open because of lack of students. They won’t open a class if they don’t have at least 6-8 students. The Thai 2 course rarely (if ever) has enough students, and Thai 3 has not ever opened (yet) that I am aware of. Hopefully once word spreads of their Thai programs, this will change as the Thai 1 class has gotten good reviews.

#2- Banpasa Thai Language Institute
Address:

Room #309-310, 3rd Floor of ICON-SQUARE Computer Chiangmai
130 Manee Nopparat Road,

Muang Chiangmai,

Chiangmai 50000

Thailand.
Map of the location: HERE
Phone # 083-4805254

Website: http://banpasathai.com

Thai Courses Offered:
Intensive Beginner – Advanced, Private Tuition

Course Fees: 300 baht / hr

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes

Class Times:
Available from 8:00am – 6:00 PM

Private Lessons: Yes

The good : Of course, I have plenty of good things to say about our program, and I can confidently place us in the top 5 on this list. Granted I’m a bit biased, but we do offer private lessons from yours truly, in your home for as little as 300 baht per hour. At that price we are competitive with the other big universities and you will get more personal attention.

The bad and the Ugly :There is something to be said for studying in a class with other people. You make friends, you meet people with similar interests and you can measure your progress against your classmates. So unless you can find a study partner, it will just be you and me. Also, if you don’t have a place for us to meet, you will have to come to our school in San Kampaeng, which is about a 25 minute drive from downtown depending on traffic.

#1- Payap University
Address:
Super highway, Chiang Mai – Lamphun Rd
Chiang Mai
Thailand, 50200

Thai Courses Offered:
Intensive Thai 1-8

Course Fees:7500 Baht per course

Placement Tests / Interview: Yes

Class Times:
9:00 – 12:00 or 1:00 – 4:00

Private Lessons: No

The good : Probably one of the best, and most intensive Classroom options in Chaing Mai. The instructors are top notch, and a few are authors of popular Thai study books here in Thailand. Some teachers do “teach from the hip”, but the classes are small and these teachers know what they are doing.

The bad and the Ugly : By far the most expensive option in Chiang Mai. If you want a student visa, be ready to cough up an extra 4500 baht and 2 months tuition up front (you will need to do this every 3 months). Like CMU, there are also problems with the availability of classes after Thai 2 or 3. Thai 4 and above rarely opens as there are rarely enough students to fill classes. Because they have a large International College however, you can expect each level to open at least once a year. Try to contact someone in admissions to find out the bests time to start a “cycle” so that you can go through the classes with the students in the Thai language major.

The Best information about Thai language Courses!

Well, there you have it, my top 5 picks for Thai Schools in Chiang Mai. These are the big 5, and I’m happy to slot myself in there on that list. If you’d like to talk to some of my current or former students (many who have tried a lot of the schools in the area), give me a call, and I will gladly put you in touch with them!

Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know about Thai Courses in Chaing Mai!!

All the best,

-Kru Simon

Phone # 083-4805254

Website: http://banpasathai.com
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Update
Dear interested students,

Thank for visiting this blog.

My teaching format for the beginning level is concerning about conversational communication for 20 hours and then moving forward to learning Thai script that will take another block of time, The lessons focus on daily usage. However, all lessons are based on students requirement.

The private classes are paid upfront in 20 hour blocks costing 300 Baht per hour.This works out at 6,000 Baht for a block which is competitive with other private tutors.

Do you mind coming to my teaching place? I would like to invite you to my office, direction link provided below,

The classroom is in “ICON Square” right next to the north side of Chiang Mai’s famous moat. This is centrally located and every songtaew and tuk-tuk driver knows the name ICON so transport there and back is very convenient. Coming from everywhere in the city where your stay is might take about 10-20 minutes.

Within reason class times can be arranged around your schedule, So let’s share an idea of your exact dates and preferred times the easier it will be for me to fit you in around my other students.

Google search: icon square Chiangmai
Link of location map: Here
Hope to see you very soon.
You may call me any time for reservation: 083-4805254
All the best,
Kru Simon

Learn Thai in Chiang Mai

December 11, 2009

learning thai in chiang mai

Are you someone who is eager to learn Thai in Chiang Mai? I am an instructor here in the area and I have decided to start this blog to discuss the different options students have for selecting a Thai school in Chiang Mai. There are a lot of different options available.

I will be going over many of them in upcoming posts but I think that today we will focus on some things you should be looking for in a good Thai school. While I would love it if every student that wanted to learn Thai in Chiang Mai would come to study with me, I am certainly not the only, or nessecarily the best teacher available. There are lots of good teachers in the area, and the important thing is that you find somebody and start learning Thai as soon as possible!

When you first set out to find a Thai school in Chiang Mai, you will find lots of places offering a few classes a week for a yearly tuition. Be wary of these places, genreally the purpose of these schools is to offer Foreigners a way to get a 1 year education visa (at a very steep price) in exchange for a few very low quality Thai language classes or “culture lessons” 2-3 days a week.

This is a great option if you want a casual introduction to the basics of Thai language or you are looking for a way to stay in Chiang Mai for a year at a time without going through the effort of making visa runs.

For serious people who are interested in learning Thai however, these places just don’t meet the need. If you want to learn Thai in Chiang Mai, look for a school that will offer:

  • An Intensive program (classes meet more than 3 days a week, and for an hour or more at a time)
  • A structured syllabus and curriculum
  • Many different Levels and a path from beginner to advanced
  • Printed materials
  • Teachers who are fluent in the English language
  • Placement exams

An Intensive course to Learn Thai in Chiang Mai?

intensive thai programWhat does this mean, an intensive program? Typically, an intensive program is one which offers students a chance to immerse themselves in the material for an “above average” amount of time several days in a row. Regular classes would meet, say for 45 minutes 2-3 times a week. An intensive thai program would meet for 1-3 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.

A Structured Syllabus and Curriculum

Does your teacher know where you are going, and how you are going to get there? If not there is a good chance you will never reach your destination. If your goal is to learn to speak fluent, conversational Thai and your teacher doesn’t have any idea how to get you from where you are now, to there, then you are in trouble. Unfortuantely, many instructors in Thailand use a “shotgun” approach to teaching and simply choose at random things to teach their classes each week.

They make as many flashcards as they can, walk into class, teach a little vocabulary and then fly by the seat of their pants. They often don’t work from any written material and don’t have a sound plan for developing a solid foundation of basic fundementals in their students. This is a recipe for disaster.

Language must be absorbed in small, digestable parts that are given to the student at just the right time. As an instructor, one must have a plan if they hope to do this effectively.

Many different levels, and a path from beginner to advanced

What hope do students have of making small, incremental advances in their abilities as a Thai speaker if every student in the class is at a different level and has different needs? It is important that a school has many different levels of instruction available so that students can work with a group of peers who have similar skills so that they can work together to grow their understanding of structures, grammar and vocabulary. If you plan to learn Thai in Chiang Mai, make sure you look for a place that has a multi-level program.

Printed materials

thai study materialsThere is nothing wrong with not teaching directly from a book. It’s important to recognize that a good instructor will realize the needs of his class and use many different materials to meet those needs. Still, having some authoritative printed materials gives the class structure and direction, and guarantees that there is a path or “guide” to make progress throughout the course.

A good instructor will take the main idea from a lesson in a book, then build on this main idea by using supplemental materials from other resources based on the needs of his or her students. Homework can be assigned from the book, and this gives the students a chance to touch on what they have learned and get another exposure later in the day.

Choosing the right book can be the toughest part. I’ll focus more on this in a later post, but for now just make sure that when you look for a place to learn Thai in Chiang Mai, whoever you are learning from is at least loosely working from some text or written material.

A Thai Teacher who can Speak fluent English

“Immersion programs” are all the rage in modern language learning. From Rosetta Stone to bi-lingual international schools that punish students for speaking their native language in class, the current paradigm is to immerse students with the idea that they will learn their second language the same way they learned their first one.

There is one flaw with this however… once the human mind reaches a certain age, it has a “primary” language and every new language that’s learned is a secondary language.Unless you are a 2 year old, you will need a mix of immersion, memorization and association to pick up a new language.

The reason for this is that your brain has already made concrete associations between objects and their “name” in the language center of your brain. New associations can be made, but their strength will be relative to the frequency of use.

Immersion doesn’t work if you only practice it 2 hours a day, 2-3 days a week with an instructor. It’s got to be a 24 hour a day thing… That’s not to say that some immersion techniques don’t have their place… they are great for teaching basic vocabulary and structure but especially at the more intermediate levels of language learning, a student needs some things explained to him in a language he or she can understand. Again, this is something I will speak about in detail in a later post. For now, just make sure you look for a Thai teacher who can speak decent English!

Placement Exams and Assessments

This really could fall under the category of “many different levels and a path from beginner to advanced”. Again, the importance being that students of the same level should be in the same class. If a students level is too high for the class, the student will become bored and will learn very little.

Conversely, if a students level is too low for a class, they will be lost, feel frustrated and at best take nothing from the class. At worst, they will often quit altogether. When you are looking for a good place to Learn Thai in Chiang Mai, make sure they give (free) placement exams.

I had better stop myself short here, as this is becoming less of an article and more of a novel…If you can find a school that meets the above criteria at a reasonable price, you will be well on your way to becoming a speaker of the Thai language! Just remember my recommendations when you are looking for a place to Learn Thai in Chiang Mai.

Cheers!

-Simon


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