Case Study on Thailand’s Pwo-Karen

From the DVD “Promoting Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education,” this segment highlights the development of the Pwo-Karen mother tongue instruction program in the northern region of Thailand. The Pwo-Karen community came together to make an agreed upon alphabet and picture dictionary. After that, the community developed big books with local stories, and small reading books on cultural topics.

Stage 1 students focus on learning to listen, speak, read and write in Pwo-Karen. Stage 2 students continue to learn in Pwo-Karen but are now exposed to oral Thai language. In Stage 3, a Thai teacher is added to build their Thai listening and speaking skills and a transition primer is used until the languages are taught about 50-50. In Stage 4 & 5, the amount of teaching in Pwo-Karen decreases while the amount of teaching in Thai increases. English is also added in this stage.