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Webster Thailand Holds English Language Seminar at the Phuket Office of Education

English Language SeminarWebster University Thailand (WUT) recently had the excellent opportunity to visit the Phuket Office of Education and deliver a community service seminar on June 30, 2017.  Adding to our excitement over this event was the collaboration it afforded with St. Louis’ own Dr. DJ Kaiser, Webster’s Coordinator of the Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language Program.

During the one-day seminar, members of the WUT’s English language team and Dr. Kaiser engaged a group of 50 Thai educators and school executives representing numerous primary and select secondary campuses throughout the Phuket district. The seminar theme chosen by our gracious hosts, Integration of English into Thai Student Life, allowed for discussions on English acquisition and instruction; linguistics and pedagogical theory; and teaching techniques and resources which bridge the gap between the classroom and the daily lives of students.  

The morning session was attended by primary public school teachers, and began with Dr. Kaiser’s first keynote presentation featuring an overview of linguistic theory and its latest developments relevant to TESL in Thailand. This was followed by Webster University Thailand’s coordinator for ESL, John Lawrence, who exchanged ideas and experiences with the Thai instructors about Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) while modeling several interactive mini-lessons.

The afternoon session, led by Dr. Kaiser with support from Dr. Stephen Berry and Dr. Alex Chirila, featured a roundtable discussion with the attending regional school administrators. It focused on the role of educators in language acquisition and instruction in Thailand; the intersections between policy and practice; and the local facts on the ground experienced by Thai schools and their leadership. The conversation was lively, motivating, and provided real insight into the unique pedagogical challenges faced by Thai educators, their past successes, and their next-step aspirations.  

This event, and similar initiatives, represent the ongoing commitment to community engagement by Webster University Thailand.  The local and regional partnerships that facilitate the sharing of knowledge and learning opportunities are essential for WUT staff and students who seek to understand, integrate with, and contribute to the educational and cultural fabric of Thailand and South East Asia.

The students, administrators, and teachers of Webster University look forward to initiating and participating in similar seminars and community projects in the future, particularly as the university moves toward establishing an MATESL program in Bangkok. 

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