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More young UK teachers set to head this way

Sep 07. 2014
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By The Nation

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The British Council expects the number of people involved in its Thailand English teaching programme to rise next year, as it celebrates its most successful summer yet.
As over 200 participants of the programme concluded a journey of a lifetime in Thailand last week, a dramatic rise in numbers is expected for next year’s intake as more young Britons seek to experience Thai life beyond the typical backpacking trail.
In having already experienced a 25 per cent rise in participants in just one year, the programme is celebrating its most successful summer yet with hundreds of UK students and recent graduates taking on the challenge of teaching in Thai schools.
Set up in 2012 and running for its longest ever duration this year, the programme aims to improve English in Thai schools and uses language teaching in educational institutions, ranging from primary schools to vocational colleges, to strengthen cultural ties between Thailand and the UK.
Not only does the programme enable the development of English speaking and comprehension among Thai students but it also gives English teaching assistants the chance to gain valuable international work experience, learn Thai and integrate into Thai communities.
The British Council, the Thai Ministry of Education and programme sponsors welcomed some 248 English language assistants from 41 UK universities to Bangkok in June, marking the beginning of their nine-week journey. 
And with applications for the next intake of teaching assistants opening in October, the number of participants is set to gather pace ahead of 2015 with more UK students eager to take part than ever before.
Chris Gibson OBE, the director of the British Council Thailand, said: “We are thrilled that our Thailand English teaching programme has had an incredibly successful summer and we look forward to welcoming even more students next year as the programme continues to gather pace. 
“Sharing languages to encourage cultural exchange is at the heart of English teaching at the British Council, and we hope that the English teaching assistants and Thai schools all gain invaluable knowledge and cultural understanding from this experience.”
This year 173 academic institutions within Thailand are participating in the programme – 104 government schools, 56 private schools and 13 vocational colleges. Forty-five of them are located in Bangkok and surrounds, and the rest are located in 50 provinces.
Helen Sunderland, who took part in the scheme in 2013, said: “Stepping into the unknown has been challenging, scary at times but also exhilarating, eye-opening, fascinating and inspiring.”

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