What to Look for When Researching Thai Language Schools in Chiang Mai

There are several language schools in Chiang Mai that offer Thai language courses to foreigners. The majority will be taught English to Thai. Attending a Thai language school is very useful if you intend to stay in Thailand for a minimum of 6 months to one year as most Thai language schools will be licensed by the Ministry of Education Thailand and therefore able to offer Thai language study programmes which will include an Education (ED) Visa allowing foreigners to stay in Thailand for anywhere between 1 to 3 years.

As an independent Thai language teacher in Chiang Mai Kru Salad or any of our teachers are not able to recommend any single Thai language school but we can provide some general advice based on feedback we have received from some of our current and past students who have researched or attended Thai language schools in Chiang Mai.

First, before choosing a Thai language school in Chiang Mai the best piece of advice that was given to one of our students who has been learning Thai in Chiang Mai with private lessons for the past 4 years was to select 3 or 4 schools (or more if you wish), visit them in person and ask to sit in on one or two group lessons prior to committing to enrolling in their course. The majority of the schools will allow this and it can be extremely useful. One of our students who did just this sat in one school’s group classes and arrived around 10 minutes early before class began and took the opportunity to speak to some of the current students. What was interesting was the feedback the students gave was that if someone was serious about learning Thai not to enrol in that particular school as the teacher went at the pace of the slowest person in the class and the only reason why the people saying they hadn’t changed schools was that they had already paid one year upfront for Thai education visa. We have received similar feedback over the years that many students who are not serious about learning Thai language do not fully engage in the classes which has a negative effect on those who do. Language schools have the authority to contact local immigration and terminate the ED visa if students do not meet the minimum attendance requirements however it would be unfair to do this if the student was just having difficulties. Depending on the class size depends on how much individual attention a single teacher can give one particular student. Our experience has been that many students have come to us for private lessons in addition to learning Thai at a local language school.

This additional teaching of private lessons has benefited those who were struggling and feeling left behind in a group setting, as well as those who found the group pace too slow and wanted to excel in their language learning as the number of teaching hours, can be as little 4 to 6 hours per week with group sixes of up to 12 students.

Cost is another factor to consider and what is included in the annual fee payable in advance to your chosen language school i.e; 90-day renewals at immigration and any other visa assistance, number of learning hours, what the procedure is if there are not enough students to commence a group class. The latter could result in either the course not going ahead for that term or switching to private lessons within that school which you may have to pay extra for.

Our best advice would be to do your research read Google reviews and ask around other foreigners as to their experience with local language schools in Chiang Mai.

What Alternatives to Language Schools are There to Learn Thai in Chiang Mai?

For people who are willing to commit extra time and effort in learning Thai language there are several options either in addition to group lessons or as an alternative to studying Thai at Thai language school in Chiang Mai.

***There are various Thai language exchange sites online which can be very helpful and low cost sometimes even free. At Thai Teacher Chiang Mai we are currently developing our own online Thai language exchange group for our students please contact us to register your interest.

Why Choose Private Lesson Rather than Thai Language School

The example mention earlier of the teacher going at the pace of the slowest person in the class is not uncommon and in many cases, the person who is having this experience is not doing this out of malice and will often feel guilty about being the centre of attention and will quite often quit studying Thai altogether. This would be very unfortunate as what our experience of teaching over 5000 students over the past 25 years has proven is that often all these individual needs is just a more one to one personalised approach. Teaching Thai language group classes can be very difficult not just for students but also for the teacher and we have heard reports of teachers getting very frustrated with students for repeating the same mistakes or not understanding quick enough. Difficulties in a group learning environment is not just different abilities but also different ages, possible hearing impairments and many students’ first language is not English. This is why at Thai teacher Chiang Mai when offering group classes as part of our intensive Thai language course we not only limit the class size to a maximum of 6 students we also incorporate regular individual private lessons of 1 to 2 students throughout the week to give extra support to meet each individual’s specific needs.

Our Holiday Thai and Culture course is the exception when it comes to a maximum of 6 students as this is a half-day course and just a taster to introduce visitors to Thai language and cultural practices in a short period. That said we will cap the number of students to a maximum of 10 with the average number being 5 or 6. Another consideration that teachers need to allow for is that many students already have English as their second language. This can be quite challenging for all those involved. Having taught over 5000 students over the last 25 years we have a significant understanding of different cultures.