Levels of Learning
My online Skype lessons are 55 minutes long. I advise beginning Thai students to sign up for a minimum of two lessons a week for six months straight (canceling lessons does not count). For those who do not have pressing engagements (work, school, etc), three to five lessons three times a week is preferable. After six months of learning regularly, or when both of us feel they are comfortable with the Thai language, lessons can be cut back to once-a-week maintenance mode.
To get the most out of the course, students are expected to study 2-3 hours on their own for every 55 minutes of Thai lesson with me.
For all levels, I create exercises to strengthen reading and comprehension skills based on their lives (stories about themselves, their friends, and their family). I also add real-life reading materials (menus, street signs, etc). A part of the class is spent discussing the reading materials. Advanced students graduate to the more difficult Thai newspapers and magazines.
If requested I keep 15 minutes spare at the end of the class to rerecord any key elements discussed during the lesson (vocabulary, phrases, etc). Doing this benefits both Skype and face-to-face students.
With writing lessons my students use Skype’s chat box, typing in Thai. For handwriting, they can show their finished work to me to correct, but to save them money, I prefer that my students practice on their own using children’s books.
And I’d like to take this time to point out that I’m the queen of time-saving strategies. I don’t like to waste time, so whatever I can assign my students to do in their own time, I do. Especially as it’ll save their Thai study budget. I’d rather have my students come to me for the heart, the secret, the real tips for learning the Thai language. It is more important for me to have Thai students who are no longer with me because successful students become my public relations people :-)
Every learner has their own gems inside. It is up to the teacher to find and polish those gems. To do that, the teacher must adjust their teaching style to match the student’s learning style.