Website Design Client Interview –
Monte Meyer of English Club For Thai
Ever so often we like getting together with one of our clients to learn more about their business and understand what part they feel the web has in their business. This week I have the huge pleasure of hosting Mr. Monte Meyer, founder of English Club For Thai. Monte is a retired American business man who came over to Thailand to relax, and discovered quite quickly that relaxing was boring, and he’d much rather be teaching English. Barely two years later Monte is the entrepreneur behind Thailand’s premier online English School.
Vimi: What was your motivation for coming to Thailand?
Monte: Six of my Thai friends in America visited me to offer their condolences for the passing of my parents. In the course of that visit that evening they all agreed I should visit Thailand. I had previously sold my business and had time on my hands to do whatever I wanted. I agreed with them and made plans to come to Thailand for a 1 month visit.
I came and fell in love with Thailand. I experienced the Thai culture, Thai food, beautiful landscape and potential for opportunity. Capitalism was alive and well in Thailand and I felt there were many doors that could be opened.
Vimi: How did you get into teaching English?
Monte: I have a college degree in Business and accounting. I had operated a business in America where I taught professional salesmanship to sales teams for various businesses.
Soon after arriving here a Thai friend of mine who was teaching a class in English invited me to visit her class. Her students had never spoken with an American before. I visited that class one Sunday and that class awoke a passion in me that I felt compelled to explore. I realized that I had something that many Thais wanted. I was strong and healthy and decided to bring it to them in the best way I could. I analyzed how English was being taught by all the conventional methods and realized how difficult it would be for me to learn Thai if taught the same way. I then devised my own way of presenting English.
During the flooding here in BKK, I stayed in Chonburi and helped a good Thai friend open a new learning center. I stayed in Chonburi and Suzie would come down each day and we implemented my way of coaching and had remarkable results. The results were the same with all ages we experimented with. That is when I knew I had something positive to give to Thai’s wanting to learn. I opened an office and for the next 1 and ½ years developed a curriculum for bringing English to Thai’s. That process is ongoing and by next year we hope to have several hundred lessons available in a dynamic website that you so beautifully put together for us.
Vimi: What in your opinion are the unique challenges of teaching English in Thailand compared to elsewhere?
Monte: I am not looking elsewhere right now. The challenge here in Thailand is to get and be ready for the coming of ASEAN. The challenge is huge and we hope we can play a positive role in a successful outcome.
Vimi: What’s are your greatest joys and frustrations as a teacher (coach) here?
Monte: My greatest joy is when I can have a good conversation with one of my friends and know that I was instrumental in the development of their fluency in the English language. I am sometimes overcome with joy when I look over the numerous thanks’ and kind words sent to me by those studying with me. My biggest frustration comes from not being able to help more.
Learning Online is Fast, Easy and Inexpensive
Vimi: Tell us about EFCT – How are you different from traditional English schools/programs?
Monte: ECFT is totally Thai owned. I have been given the privilege to share my time and abilities helping so many wanting to learn. With ASEAN around the corner it’s vital for Thais to learn to think in English. We accomplish that with a comparative approach combining English with Thai so that students are able to understand the English being presented and then become able to express their thinking in English. Our coaching is specific for Thais to learn English. Every lesson is totally understandable to the student. Every lesson comes with downloadable PDF files of the entire lesson in English and Thai. Video presentations are also in English and Thai. There is a comment or question form that can be submitted in English or Thai with each video watched. Any question about any lesson is answered in English or Thai. Learning is much easier and faster because all materials in the lesson are totally understandable and available 24/7. Learning is just a click away and at a fraction of the cost. Students can Skype with their coach in English or Thai. Get the answers you need when you need them. If the student is shy, they can Skype with Thai staff to get the answers to their needs.
The student can study how they want, when they want and where they want. We develop the ability to listen, understand, speak and write American English fluently.
Vimi: What are the benefits of using your system?
Monte: Putting it simply, it works. We find our students learning quicker and easier than other conventional methods. We get that feedback from our students all the time that have studied at other locations. Our system also develops habits that enable a student to continue to learn on their own after studying with us. Everyone one wants to know how long it will take them to learn to speak English fluently. There is no standard answer to that question. It depends on the time and intensity of each student. Successful students feed their minds every day and repeat a lesson until it is a part of them. They also realize that English is a journey that they will be on for the rest of their lives if they want to continue to be fluent.
I’m American and have an excellent vocabulary, but I still read and expand my vocabulary and learn new words that are being created all the time. Look at the Internet vocabulary that we use today that wasn’t around a few years ago.
Learning Online Defeats Student Shyness
Vimi: How do teaching and learning online compare to the same activities in a classroom?
Monte: Let’s take a look at the typical scenario. An adult goes to a learning center or training center to learn. They fight traffic or other transportation to arrive and sit in a class with several people. One on one, personal training is preferred but expensive. They sit in class and an English teacher stands up and draws away on a board and speaks. All speaking is in English. He tells all that if they don’t understand, just raise your hand and he will repeat. Thai are shy and just sit there never asking a question. They get up and leave to go home after 1 to 3 hours. That is the only English they will hear until next week. They only understood a fraction of what the teacher said. During the week they will forget a large part of the fraction they got from the lesson. They will never hear that lesson again. Good money has been spent and so little retained.
With online training the student has the ability to listen to the lesson again and again. That is the main advantage. Also the student doesn’t have to travel. They can set their own time to study at their own convenience, and can study every day. When learning English you lose it if you don’t use it. With online training you can communicate daily with an English speaking person if you want and all at a significant savings. Our students can study 24/7 at their convenience for less than a coffee a day over time. English is just a click away.
Notice how many Universities today have online training programs for Master’s degrees and baccalaureate study. Online study is rapidly gaining popularity because of convenience, cost, viability and constraints of time. We are pleased to be a part of that outreach.
Vimi: What’s your process for creating a lesson? How do you choose the topics?
Monte: We create the lessons from the needs of the student. There is general knowledge that any student needs such as time, family, weather, transportation, culture and food. We continue from there with interesting material that teaches those subjects in accordance with our learning model. Grammar, reading, pronunciation, understanding, listening, speaking and writing techniques are all developed in a series of interesting and fun lessons.
Online IS the Future of Learning
Vimi: How do you see online learning evolving in the near future?
Monte: It is growing daily especially with the shortage of instructors in Thailand. It will also become more and more viable with the increased capabilities of technology.
Vimi: What are your expansion plans for EFCT? Where would you like to see it in 3 years?
Monte: Thailand first, then other countries involved in ASEAN. The official language of ASEAN is American English. We have a lot of American English to give to those wanting to learn.