being a judge in thailandFeatured Teaching 

North-Eastern Thailand Vocational College English Speech Competition – as Judge

During this years North-Eastern Thailand Vocational College Championships I was selected to be one of three judges sitting in the committee of the English speech competition. Besides being the by far youngest judge, I also was the only non-native speaker there. Turned out that the two old English guys and I did have total different points of view on how to judge students and their speaking knowledge. being a judge in thailand

They are only Thais

During the speeches the two English judges always kept talking to each other and complained about the grammar and speeches. In the end, however, they said ‘well done. good job. you are great’ and gave everyone a high rating with saying ‘Well, they are only Thais. They can’t do it better’ – That’s the point were I totally disagree. Why shouldn’t Thai students be able to speak English as well as others students who had to learn English as a second language? Especially when compared to neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Vietnam the average English level of Thai students…well…sucks. Of course they need encouragement. That’s out of the question. However I don’t think that lying to them and letting them get away with partly disastrous performances would help to improve their skills.

Furthermore my two co-judges got hit by one speech that didn’t focus to much on the topic ‘Vocational Education & ASEAN Community’ but tried to compare Thailand with England. Obviously written by the English boyfriend of the contestant in the audience. They thought it would be a good idea to write about England since juries usually consist of foreigners and those foreigners are mostly from England. The speech said that England suffers from the European Union because many cheap workers from Poland come to England and take the jobs away from the English people. Now they warned Thailand that the same might happen here. They didn’t even tried to explain that such an international pact is a very very good thing and brings a lot of advantages along. So the two English judges voted for this speech to be the winner, I on the other hand gave it a quite low rating in the section ‘content’ since it read like an article out of ‘The Sun’. In the end the student I favored (by one point only actually) won. This means the two other must have given here decent points as well so I couldn’t have been all wrong. However both complained that ‘their speech’ didn’t win.

As bottom line I can say that being a judge was a nice experience. I don’t need to do it to soon again though. Sitting there for two hours and listening and reading (man incredible HOW MANY MISTAKES have been made in the written speeches – and those speeches are usually written by the best English teacher of the participants college) is pretty exhausting and boring.

Oh and furthermore it was quite interesting to see how arrogant native English speakers are (stereotyping here, I know. But those two judges simply have been pretty arrogant). They simply think everything they say and do is the cream of the crop. They didn’t give me any credit at all and looked at me as the ‘unimportant, way to young judge’. The fun thing about that however: I was the only one with experience in teaching English as second language to college students. Letting me know exactly what one can expect from college students during such a contest and what not. However this wasn’t of any interest for our two superheroes from England.

Arrogance your home is Britain.

Ah and last short site node: Dear Khon Kaen Technical College. I am not quite sure what you have thought while adjusting your speech for this contest but since I read through your script I could realize that you COPIED THE EXACT SAME WORDS from the speech that I POSTED HERE after the Udon Thani speech competition. This means a) you googled it and found it here or b) you saw the video on our facebook site. Since I don’t think that you are able to write a script from watching a video I suppose you came here by accident. So next time you copy a speech from another contestant, at least try to change some words or the order of some words. Or simply ask me to write a speech for you!

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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