This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
Thai Language Hut…
Website: Thai Language Hut
Address: 9/1 Baansaengmukda, Sukhumvit Road, Soi 43, Klongtan Nua, Wattana Bangkok 10110
Location: The website states: “10-15 minutes walk from the nearest Sukhumvit Road BTS Station, Phrom Phong”. In reality it’s a pretty darn long slog (or maybe I’m just a slow walker) so you might be better off catching a taxi from the Phrom Phong BTS. But, once you get close, you can’t miss it. It’s on Soi 43 about 100 meters down the Soi on the left, there’s a sign on the sub-soi for the school, and the driveway is in blue and tan tiles.
Basic Info: On my first visit to Thai Language Hut they sported Benjawan Becker’s books and CDs on bookshelves in the reception area. At the time it appeared their courses were taught with Benjawan’s books only. But, when conversing with the teachers, I was told they have their own materials too.
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Thai Language Hut has a presence on You Tube: Thai Language Hut. In the videos they go over useful, high frequency words and phrases. I’ve been a subscriber for quite some time and believe Thai Language Hut’s YouTube channel is well worth checking out.
Materials: I decided to review Thai Language Hut after they emailed to say they’re partnering with Paiboon Publishing (Benjawan Becker) to offer a “learn Thai anywhere” program. Benjawan Becker has easily done more in the learning Thai market than any other Thai out there. Her materials are well presented and explained. And, in my opinion, the phonetics (especially the Paiboon Plus version) make the most sense of any karaoke Thai available. It’s interesting to note that Thai Language Hut uses Benjawan’s phonetics for the in-house material too. Doing so keeps a consistency between Benjawan’s courses and the supplemental materials.
As far as creating material specific for a students needs (once basic Thai is acquired), Thai Language Hut is riding the wave like the other schools I’ve toured. To make classes relevant to specific students, they combine a wide variety of subjects to better dial in a student’s Thai in areas pertinent to their interests. I think we’ll be seeing more of this as time goes by. I’m all for it.
Method: As I already mentioned, Thai Language Hut uses Benjawan’s books, so obviously, the beginner Thai class follows along. However, the similarity stops there. Having a live teacher opens the learning process to a greater degree than the dialogs found in the book. For instance, subjects are explained in more detail, with new words being incorporated into the lesson. In this regard, learning via Benjawan’s books with a Thai teacher is far superior to just working thru them on your own.
The school also has a LOT of supplemental stuff geared towards the chapters in Benjawan’s books, so it’s a double dose of Thai. The teachers concentrate on getting students speaking Thai quickly, so use phonetics. But if a student can already read Thai, the reading materials are available as well.
Teachers: The teachers I watched giving online lessons were good. In fact, they were great (even though I couldn’t hear the students). The teachers took their time. They had students repeat words to correct pronunciation, they drilled phrases, and went over dialog. And the teacher’s grasp of English was more than adequate to explain the inz-&-outz of how Thai is different from English. Even though I only heard the teacher’s side of the conversation, the students seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Classes: Thai Language Hut concentrates on private classes, although they’ll teach small groups of the same level of students. They also provide corporate training.
Thai Language Hut offers classes at the school or online for the same price. The purchased blocks of time are good for calendar a year. That way, if a student can’t study for a while, they’re not penalized. Also, if a student leaves Thailand, they can continue to study online without a hiccup.
Sidenote: Given the wide variety of students who enroll in Thai language classes, private lessons might be the way to go. In group classes the teacher is compelled to teach to the slowest student. Now, if you’re in a group slower than you, you’ll be held back. But if you’re in a group with ninja language learners you just might be the slow one, so it cuts both ways. Going private, a student can have lessons tailored to subjects they find value in. Teachers then concentrate solely on the individual student’s objective. Also, you can ask to go over lessons that doesn’t click right away. And if you want to learn to speak via phonetics, no problem. If you want to learn to read and write, again, no problem.
ED Visa: Thai Language Hut isn’t registered with the Ministry of Education, so you’ll have to sort out your visa situation. Still, that’s not a bad thing. In Bangkok there are more than a few unregistered schools that turn out proficient Thai speakers, so don’t let that put you off from checking out Thai Language Hut. I watched a MOE inspection awhile back and it was painstakingly slow and mind-numbingly tedious, so I don’t blame them there!
Bang-4-The-Baht: I’ve always been a fan of Benjawan’s material. It’s presented in a way most foreigners seem to be able to wrap their heads around quickly. I also like how Benjawan incorporates learning to read early on in the learning Thai process. And while I’m not of the opinion that learning to read Thai improves spoken pronunciation in the slightest (unless you’re reading Thai off a piece of paper), I do think if you’re gonna learn to speak, you might as well learn to read too.
I’d rate Thai Language Hut as definitely having very good “bang-4-the-baht”. They get high marks for using Benjawan’s books along with the supplemental tie-ins. Plus they have the added flexibility of being able to teach anywhere in the world you happen to be at the time.
To find out if the way they teach Thai clicks with how you learn things, go ahead and take a free one hour lesson.
As always, hope you found this review of value.