Thailand

February 2022 trip to Khok Samrong and the Golden Buddha and Temple.

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(1049 words)

A few hours out of Bangkok and along a Satnav route that seemed to take us away from our destination (we seemed to loop back around), we beheld the stunning sight of the Golden Buddha in Khok Samrong nestled in the Wong Phrachan Mountain. We parked the car at the foot of the mountain and got ready for the ascent. It was not the Buddha we planned to see, albeit impressive, but the temple (Khao Wong Phrachan Temple) at the top of the mountain. I knew the task at hand and felt slightly confident, almost overconfident, to scale the 3790 steps. However, I was absent in knowing what it was really going to feel like. It was hot but the day was fading. How fit did I think I was?

The summit has a spiritual meaning and the challenging task of ascending the steps was lessened when thinking about its divine context. It was to be like a pilgrimage. There is Buddha’s footprint at the temple at the top of the mountain. Believing I was a fit person, I first went under what seemed Chinese-influenced arch and made a hop and skip over the first steps and gently got into my stride as I was able to cover two steps with my long legs. However, it did appear to be steeper than I thought. I also started to notice water/drink pit stops with seating appropriately staggered as I walked up the steps. It was hot I will not lie but being Thailand it could have been hotter. I was not sweating the first part of the climb, and there was some shade from the trees and foliage. I actually passed a few people. Maybe, I did not realise they were pacing themselves. As I got up further the person I was with told me they believed they had ‘long COVID’.  If ever I needed a sign to say this was going to be a longer climb than I thought it was coming from someone who had done this climb before and they were giving in.

You can just about see the Temple at the top in this photograph.

Anyway, I had not come all this way to stop, and it felt like a spiritual journey. The view of the Golden Buddha gave me a chance to see the sights and maybe give me inspiration. There was no way of seeing the top of the summit at this stage. Whether that was good or bad I did not know. The trees and vegetation were stopping that. It was now what was becoming an arduous but worthy task of making it to the top. I actually went past a lady who I would guess was 65-70 years old. If she could make it, who was I to start complaining? However, around 2000 steps I started to feel it the most if I had not felt it already. The spring in my step had certainly gone. The pit stops were becoming obvious to me and I plainly knew why each one was there. The problem was in my excitement I had left the person I was with and they had the money. I could not buy any drink. As I ascended more, I became a person to look at as much as I looked at others. The sweat was showing on my shirt, and I must have looked shattered. The conversations between climbers were about feeling tired and how are you feeling. I was a foreigner so maybe I stuck out more and people wanted to speak to me. I was certainly not alone in having the realisation that this was going to be a slog. Despite this, to make it to the top and the temple showed a person’s perseverance and how much they wanted to make it.

The sweat was starting to show on my shirt. I was doing one step by one step. There was no more jumping up two steps at a time. My back was now arched down, not lifting my legs as high and I was looking for the next pit stop. I summoned all my energy into making it to the next chance to sit down. I was met by other fellow climbers. There seemed to be a communal spirit to make it. I was hoping that it would soon say 3000 steps but I was in luck there was a sign that said 3200. I was nearly there. It was apparent that others were slowly making their way as I ventured on to the top and was on my own for a bit. I was soon turning the corner to see the temple at the top of the mountain. My personal pilgrimage to the summit was complete. I clocked in at about 90 minutes. 90 minutes of what was hard work I must say. I had to give myself another five minutes to compose myself and I needed some water. Anyway, It was all worth it.

Looking down to where I had started and the amazing scenery was something to behold.  Thailand is a beautiful country. The sun was starting to set so the camera was out. The Golden Buddha looked resplendent in its position looking over the verdant land far and wide. There was a feeling of contentment that I had done this climb. It was a test. I expect it has more meaning to the Thai people when they arrive in all its spiritual meanings. However, I went over to the Buddha footprint and performed the 3 Wais. I believe it is called the Benchangkhapradit krap, not Wai. Nevertheless, an older Thai lady followed me, and I watched her perform it extremely appropriately with some chants to follow. It was funny when she then answered a call on her mobile phone next to the footprint and chatted away. Above all, this is a definite for anyone who travels to this area of Thailand. Get ready for a challenge but when you are at the top it is something else, spiritually and visually!

By the way the person I was with did make it. They also had some money to buy a drink. However, I met them as I walked down but agreed to go back up to the top.

Chunking and phrases

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(300 words)

So, what is so important of moving from vocabulary to adverbial phrases, complements, and objects such as “on the way”, “one night”, “from outer space”, or even “a monster from outer space”. Here lie examples of chunking of words and the Lexical Approach. The principles of the Lexical Approach have been around since Michael Lewis published ‘The Lexical Approach’ in 1993. The principles of the Lexical Approach have [been around] since Michael Lewis published ‘The Lexical Approach’ [20 years ago]. [It seems, however, that] many teachers and researchers do not [have a clear idea of] what the Lexical Approach actually [looks like] [in practice].

All the parts in brackets are fixed or set phrases. Different commentators use different and overlapping terms – ‘prefabricated phrases’, ‘lexical phrases’, ‘formulaic language’, ‘frozen and semi-frozen phrases’, are just some of these terms. We use just two: ‘lexical chunks’ and ‘collocations’.

‘Lexical chunk’ is an umbrella term that includes all the other terms. We define a lexical chunk as any pair or group of words that are commonly found together, or in close proximity.

‘Collocation’ is also included in the term ‘lexical chunk’, but we refer to it separately from time to time, so we define it as a pair of lexical content words commonly found together. Following this definition, ‘basic’ + ‘principles’ is a collocation, but ‘look’ + ‘at’ is not because it combines a lexical content word and a grammar function word. Identifying chunks and collocations is often a question of intuition.

Here are some examples.

Lexical Chunks (that are not collocations)

by the way
up to now
upside down
If I were you
a long way off
out of my mind

Lexical Chunks (that are collocations)

totally convinced
strong accent
terrible accident
sense of humour
sounds exciting
brings good luck

Classroom based report on Second Language Learning

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(11970 Words)

Abstract

Learning any second language can be challenging. Lower level students, who are new to learning, are those students that need all the support and understanding for their acquisition of a new language. For this paper, I have produced a research plan for a new class of lower-level students. This was devised to create thinking on how students were learning their second language. I wondered how I could facilitate their learning and their classroom experience that would help make the English language easier for them to comprehend. My initial thoughts were on using as many different ways to reinforce a language point. My thinking was that if the students get to look at a specific grammar/language point, whilst using it and thinking about it, in different ways, the language will stay in their memory that much easier. I felt that if you used the language in various ways such as activities, methods of teaching, and games, their possession of the language could be helped.

I looked at my ideas for lesson plans and checked how I planned to use the time in class to vary my methods. I also looked on the internet for any information that would correspond with my area of interest. I tried reading as much material that honed in on my specific area of interest. This was the material that was related to different methods and activities. It was while I was acquiring my new knowledge that I got to read about an interesting theory where different activities were used regarding multiple intelligences. This I found on a website called ‘developingteachers.com’. The article in question that took my interest was called ‘Starting with multiple intelligences – activities for foreign language teachers’ by Rolf Palmberg. I immediately realised this article was very much linked in with my ideas, that I had proposed. I did a lot of preliminary reading on the subject until I felt that I should put my old and new ideas about how to get the students speaking more into effect. This paper and the theories within is helped by what I found from the initial article by Rolf Palmberg and increasingly by reading about American psychologist Howard Gardner who developed ‘The Theory of Multiple Intelligences’ documented in his book Frames of Mind: Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

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Mist over the Mon Bridge – Sangkla Buri, Thailand

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Uttamanusorn Bridge or commonly known as Mon Bridge in Kanchanaburi Province is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. It is worth getting up early to get some amazing photos if you can.

Mon Bridge – Sangklaburi

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Uttamanusorn Bridge or commonly known as Mon Bridge in Kanchanaburi Province is the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. I tried getting a different angle for the bridge picture.