My Transformative Experience as an Indonesian Undergraduate Student Teaching EFL in a Thai Elementary School

In today’s interconnected world, the importance of cross-cultural experiences in education cannot be overstated. This essay narrates my journey as an Indonesian undergraduate student who embarked on a community service program in Thailand, focusing on my role as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher in an elementary school. Throughout this experience, I discovered that effective teaching required embracing the local culture, learning basic Thai, and utilizing modern technology, particularly Microsoft Word’s 3D object feature. This essay will delve into my experiences, highlighting the significance of language, cultural adaptation, and innovative teaching methods.
Embracing Thai Language and Culture
Upon my arrival in Thailand for the community service program, I quickly realized that one of the fundamental elements of successful EFL teaching was understanding the local culture and language. To establish a strong connection with my students, I decided to learn some basic Thai words and phrases. This effort went beyond mere communication; it demonstrated respect for the host culture and allowed for a more immersive teaching experience.
For instance, I learned how to use the Thai word for “under,” which is “ใต้” (dtai), in the context of prepositions. A basic sentence I used to teach this concept was: “แมวอยู่ใต้ลูกบอล” (Maew yu dtai luk bon), which translates to “The cat is under the ball.” This simple sentence not only made learning English more accessible for my Thai students but also fostered a sense of cultural exchange and understanding in the classroom.
Incorporating Innovative Teaching Tools
I discovered that technology could be a valuable ally in the EFL classroom. I harnessed the power of a laptop and Microsoft Word’s 3D object feature to enhance my teaching methods, particularly when teaching complex topics like prepositions.
For example, when explaining the concept of prepositions of place, I used a 3D object of a table and a ball. I inserted these objects into a Microsoft Word document and then used the features “send to back,” “bring forward,” or manual adjustments to illustrate different prepositions, such as “under,” “on,” and “beside.” This interactive approach allowed students to visualize the relationship between objects and their positions accurately.
Furthermore, I found that using technology made the learning process more engaging and fun for the elementary school students. The 3D object feature helped me create dynamic and visually appealing lessons, making it easier for my young learners to grasp the nuances of English prepositions.
My experience in Thailand serves as a compelling example of the power of cultural adaptation and innovative teaching methods in EFL classrooms. By learning basic Thai, I fostered a deeper connection with my students and demonstrated my respect for their culture. Moreover, my use of technology, particularly Microsoft Word’s 3D object feature, made the teaching of complex concepts like prepositions more accessible and engaging.
In an era where globalization and technology are reshaping education, my journey reminds us that the heart of effective teaching lies in understanding, embracing, and enhancing the cultural and technological dimensions of the classroom. As I bridged the gap between two cultures and languages, I not only taught English but also imparted valuable lessons in cultural empathy and pedagogical innovation.


Alif Fatahilla Rachman

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