I got the opportunity to write a review about Learn Thai Style, a Thai Language website. As there are many Thai language websites out there, it might be tough to pick one that suits you as an aspiring Thai learner. Let’s jump right into the action and check out why Learn Thai Style might be the right choice for you!
You can easily find Learn Thai Style on their rather pretty website I have to say. Basically Learn Thai Style does not only help you to learn the Thai language, but also to read and write it. They are also running a translation and interpreting service so there is a lot to it really.
Lets begin with mentioning that Learn Thai Style do support over 500 native Thai teachers who will help you out by giving private face to face lessons in person or over Skype to help learn the vast amount of materials available for download via their website. As far as I understand Learn Thai Style is a Thai language website, however, students mainly learn face to face in private lessons with local teachers. You can find teachers in Asia, the UK and in the US. If there is no local teacher available it is possible to get teacher guidance via Skype as well so Learn Thai Style got you covered!
The courses provided by Learn Thai Style are able to help complete beginners and bring them all the way to levels where they are being understood and can hold a conversation with an actual Thai native speaker. This feat will be achieved by using a combination of different techniques for example; worksheets, videos and audiofiles that you can find on their website. The head teacher at Learn Thai Style, I have to mention, is Kru Jiab who is also of great help to Thai learners in our facebook group! So say hi (or สวัสดี) to her as well!
Teachers are easy to find and to connect with. There is a vertical menu on the left side of the website and from there you navigate to a teacher of choice easily. There are a couple of courses available as we speak and I urge you to check these out:
– Short Thai Course
– Speak Thai Course
– Speak, read and write Thai
– Read and write Thai Course
– Upper intermediate course
What I like about all of this, is that this curriculum could take somebody from a total beginner all the way to upper intermediate and higher, with support every step of the way. The whole course is divided into chapters. In Chapter one you tackle the bare minimum basics (saying hi) all the way through to having a conversation or asking directions, and if you choose, reading and writing as well. Every chapter has a worksheet, audio files and there is homework to test your might. In other words; there is A LOT of high quality content and Learn Thai Style will keep you busy for a long, long time to come. There are close to 100 videos, over 30 hours of Audio recorded, over 1000 pages of worksheets and content that is being added all the time! Impressive!
After you are registered on one of the courses you can get access to any of their trained teachers and your content by logging in to the website. On the top right there is a button that is called “log in” and its self explanatory what this does. After logging in you will be taken to the home screen of your account. From here you will gain easy access to your lessons with help of a panel on the right hand side of the screen. Just skimming over the homescreen is pretty useful to as there are videos and an interactive map of Thailand. It’s all fun.
If you want a sneak peak you can always click here to check some of their free and example content that’s on there.
The audiofiles are of great quality needless to say! Kru Jiab’s English is amazing. One thing that is useful to know is the fact that there are male speakers too!! For some of us this could prove to be a great resource as most of us only deal with females (nothing against females!) when they are learning Thai. Getting male audio examples as well is a big plus.
There are also videos of real native conversations. These conversations are published in 3 versions; one formal, one less formal and one very informal. Informal as in real life every day Thai. There are breakdowns, there are explanations and I can see why this is beneficial to anyone facing the daunting task of learning the Thai language. Practice this with a teacher in person or via Skype and you are good to go.
There is so much that you can find on this website that I am afraid I will miss some of the content. This is why I decided to do the following:
So, In order to REALLY get to know the webpage more (and also in case I misunderstood or missed something) I decided to do a Q&A with the founder of this website Tom lane or the man behind the scenes if you will;
Q: How did you come up with the idea to start a Thai Language Website?
We have always believed that the best way to learn a language was to learn with native speakers because it is very important to ask questions and receive feedback. If you want to speak with Thai people you should learn with Thai people. Giving someone just a book to read, a CD to listen to or a video to watch left too many questions unanswered. How do you get your questions answered? And most importantly, when learning Thai, how do you get feedback on your pronunciation and tones? We wanted to setup a complete solution to ensure learners have everything they need to learn effectively both online and with local Thai teachers. We started to develop a new system to bring together learners, teachers and learning materials. Over time, we have refined, developed and innovated a unique system to learn Thai language using our website as a base.
Q: What was the development process like? Did you do most of it yourself or did you have staff helping you out?
Understanding our students needs has helped us to develop so feedback from our students and teachers at each stage of their learning experience has been a very important part of our development process. Constructive feedback over the years has helped us develop a user friendly, personal and effective system. We have developed everything from the ground up by ourselves. It has been an amazing journey using our skills to do something we have a real passion for. Kruu Jiab is the Thai language expert who develops the written, audio and video materials as well as training, supporting and coordinating our team of teachers. I look after the website and our clients. We have employed various freelancers along the way such as a website designer to do advanced coding, accountants etc. Also, our teachers are freelance and it is in their interest to help us develop supplement materials to support their students. Our teachers have played a very important part in designing the classes to suit each learner’s aims and needs in order for them to be successful teachers and learners. Our teachers work closely with their students 1:1 however we also work as a global team providing support and feedback to each other and our students. Working as a large team allows us to support learners to the fullest extend throughout their learning experience.
Q: What do you feel is the greatest feat of Learn Thai Style that really sets it apart from the others?
Our system is unique and benefits both Thai learners and Thai teachers in many different ways. The main benefits that set us apart from other learning solutions are;
– Supporting local teachers and students pay them directly for their hard work. We do not take a commission from tuition fees so our teachers earn 100%. Many Thai people living outside Thailand may find it hard to get a decent job so we provide a base for them to teach Thai and work for themselves.
– Modern, easy to follow learning materials. Developed from the ground up with an aim to teach natural, everyday Thai language. Our intuitive materials are accurate, encouraging, intuitive and answer learners questions with regular updates and new materials available to our registered learners and teachers.
– Online Learning Space. Because practice is the key to progressing, we focus a lot of our materials on self study. After learning with a local teacher, you can come home and login to our website to access lots of audio, video and self study learning materials that compliment your face to face lessons.
– Change Teacher Anytime. With over 500 trained teachers currently using the same teaching materials, our system makes it is easy for learners to attend consistent lessons with different teachers in different locations. Start learning with a local teacher in the UK or USA. When you move location you can continue learning right where you left off with a local teacher in Thailand.
– Affordable Registration & Tuition Fees. Because we provide both you and your teacher with all the materials you need, teachers do not need to spend lots of time preparing for lessons. Also, we do not pay for expensive classrooms or offices as most teachers travel to your home / workplace. We have developed an efficient online system with low overheads so we can charge less and provide much, much more.
– Lifetime Membership. Because different learners progress at different speeds and we feel that learning a language is a life skill that should have no set duration, you pay a one off registration fee for lifetime membership with no limits. Learn for 10 hours or 1000 hours.
– Learner / Teacher Support : We are here to support you and your teachers every step of the way.
– Supplement Learning Materials : We are very active in developing supplement materials to help you practice and improve your language skills.
– Private Tuition With Local Teachers : Because there are some aspects of Thai language you cannot learn from a book or a video. Human interaction is required for every learner. Feedback and asking questions for example is a very important part of learning any language. – Innovating Language Learning : Our system is unique. We have simplified and modernised the old fashioned learning methods used by most schools and have brought together many learning resources for local learners and local teachers via the the power of the internet.
Q: For who is this course most suitable?
We have different options available for different learners. If you just want to speak a little Thai or would like to develop fluency speaking, reading and writing. Not just for beginners, our courses provide content and tuition for upper intermediate learners also. Because every learner is different, we have developed our courses in a way that they can be adapted to suit different people. For example, you may be learning Thai for business reasons or to talk with family and friends. Therefore, you may need to develop and understand different forms of the language in order to speak in formal or informal situations. We train our teachers how to adapt the materials for different people, their individual learning styles and aims.
Q: what difficulties do you think learners tend to face when learning online? How are those gaps bridged by learnthaistyle?
As I mentioned before, developing fluency requires a certain amount of human interaction. Basically, if you want to speak with Thai people I believe you should learn with Thai people. Most of our students learn with our teachers in person, face to face, although we also provide online Skype lessons with our most experienced teachers. This way learners get the best of both worlds; learn face to face with native Thai speakers and practice with some great online resources.
Q: What factors do you feel make a student using your your course, more likely to succeed?
Our materials provide learners with a solid foundation and detailed explanations in easy to understand language. Most of our students are normal people, they are not linguists, so it is important to provide explanations in everyday language that is easy to follow, and keep it relevant. This is something many courses fail to do. There is a balance that must be found between too basic and too complicated. Our students succeed because we don’t just teach phrases, we develop fluency. For example, we explain how to use a word and how it is constructed into a sentence. We help students understand why. The analogy I use is like building a house; make sure you have solid foundations and don’t build the walls too high before allowing the cement to dry. Or in other words, make sure you understand the basics and ensure you fully understand what you have learnt before you move on. We have also found that having a teacher (who you do not want to disappoint) will encourage learners to come back, practise and do their homework. Students get into a routine and do not give up as easily when learning with a teacher.
Also make sure to take a look at Learn Thai Style‘s tone quiz. It’s free and you can check it out right here. Don’t forget to post results on our webpage as well.. if you dare!
As a bonus I decided to add a very useful video to this review as well. It has been posted by Kru Jiab in our group already but i’ll post it anyway because this is beneficial to anybody who is learning Thai.
Last but not least, Learn Thai Style in a short overview:
What: Webbased Thai Learning with real teachers, interpretation and Translation services
How: One time payment for lifetime access to their online content. In case of private Tuition other/additional fees apply
Social Media: Yes, Facebook
Twitter : https://twitter.com/LearnThaiStyle