BANGKOK — An online English learning class broadcasted by the government was met with ridicule on social media Wednesday for the teacher’s serial mispronunciations.
The teacher, known as Kru Wang, drew both criticism and sympathy from netizens after videos of her sixth grade English lessons went viral on the internet. Some said her teachings contribute to poor English proficiency among Thai students.
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“The Ministry of Education actually approved and released this to the online classes of Thailand,” Facebook user Siri Doknow wrote in English. “This actually shows incompetent and bad the education system of Thailand and I don’t see them improving to the level of our neighbours such as Malaysia or Singapore.”
Another user wrote, “I became a person who hates learning English because of teachers like these. Erroneous teaching really has an effect on kids.”
The teacher in question was identified as Anchalee Pratansub from Wang Klai Kangwon School in Hua Hin. Her school is part of the government’s Distance Learning Television (DLTV) program for children without easy access to schools.
While distance learning education has been airing on TV without much response from the public, the program caught attention after a recent call for mandatory online classes during the pandemic.
The revived attention led netizens to take issue with various online learning snags on the #OnlineClass and later the #SaveKruWang hashtags, which focused on Kru Wang’s heavily accented English and grammatical mistakes.
“Welcome to the real world. Shitty teaching techniques must be criticized and improved upon. That clip isn’t just for teaching those 10 kids in the audience, but hundreds of thousands of students,” wrote @Khanitchr in a tweet shared more than 8,500 times.
“Teaching wrong information is unacceptable. Saying you did you best is just an excuse.”
But some netizens also called for sympathy on behalf of Kru Wang. Schools and teachers outside the capital remain underfunded and understaffed, and many educators are forced to do their best within the limited resources.
“Do you know how much work it takes to record a lesson? The teachers have to prepare slides all night, while the kids have to sit still during filming so the lesson is usable,” user @YourSmile07 who claimed to be a teacher wrote. “All these insults to us teachers are very discouraging.”
“If you look at her age, you can see that she’s quite old. When she grew up, she didn’t get to go to international or bilingual schools like kids these days,” user Adul Kamlaithong commented. “People criticizing her are more upper class people who learned English since kindergarten and got to learn overseas.”
Various surveys show Thailand’s English language skills to be notoriously low. The problem is partly blamed on a lack of qualified teachers, while the paltry salaries tend to deter highly educated applicants.
Despite the criticism of some of the government’s distant learning lessons, netizens also praised teachers in the program who take their job seriously.