Friday, February 23, 2007

Thai Students Hard At Work

Do Thai students work too hard? I must say that Thai students have developed a very odd way of studying. For those of you outside the Kingdom you are probably not aware of their tactics so I will shed a bit of light on them. First classes are not attended with a great deal of vigor. In truth in universities it is very rare to hear a student so much as whisper a response to a direct question, let alone offer an original question of their own. Because there is so little interaction within the classroom the students rarely even bother to bring their books or notebooks, but attendance is usually mandatory so they do come, and in full uniform, ready to be counted. When the class ends, most of them have written only what the instructor put in their power point presentation or what they wrote on the board. Actually many of them write nothing, because notes are prepared down the street and offered for a very low price. Tutoring centers rake in fortunes as the students, mostly too passive about study to wade through the books on their own, flock to get last minute assistance.
It is a problem here. The method is cram and forget. Matching tests and regurgitation rather than offering new inspirations. Of course this is generalizing and I hope someone will write to me and say, "Sim, you're way off base we discuss, we write original work, we do our own research, we work together with our college instructors to drive our learning. You know nothing!" But, I have seen the campuses in Bangkok and they are lined with tutoring centers offering everything from study notes to previous tests, tutors who actually sit in the classes and then explain everything to the clueless masses they are sitting next too, and the worst case I ever heard about was that some professors - probably not for a low price - even sell their tests directly to the tutoring centers.
So what is happening the 14 weeks before finals? This is what I can't figure out. During midterms and finals it is obvious what is going on and that is CRAM IT ALL NIGHT, bubble in the morning and back to the normal day.