Student Centered Learning – Thailand

A Centre for Education Reform in Thailand

Welcome to Student-Centered Learning Thailand


Long Live Democracy!

Our Mission:

To provide a center of discussion , information and planning for 21st Century education reform in Thailand that will lead to a unity of purpose and action among  Thai and international educators to realize the goals set forth in the National Education Act of  B.E. 2542 (1999).

At the heart of this National Education Act B.E. 2542 (1999) is a move toward student-centered learning and a student-centered  classroom.  Specifically, Section 24 of the Education Act outlines what must be done   to improve  education  performance : 1. arranging learning in line with the students’ interests , aptitudes and individual differences ;2. training students in thinking abilities, especially critical thinking; 3.organizing learning activities that draw from authentic experiences; and 4. promoting situations where learners and teachers learn together.  

In addition to addressing these key issues of education reform in Thailand , indeed in international education, we also focus our attention and resources on the goal of promoting Thai teachers to reach their potential as skilled teachers using teaching methods that engage their students with the result that students love to learn through self discovery.

ยินดีต้อนรับสู่ Student-Centered Learning ประเทศไทย


พันธกิจ: เพื่อสร้างศูนย์ข้อมูล การแลกเปลี่ยนข้อคิดเห็นและวางแผนสำหรับการปฏิรูปการศึกษาของประเทศไทยในศตวรรษที่ 21 อันจะนำไปสู่การปฏิบัติอันเป็นไปในทิศทางเดียวกันของนักการศึกษาไทยและต่างประเทศเพื่อให้บรรลุเป้าหมายที่กำหนดไว้ในพระราชบัญญัติการศึกษาแห่งชาติ พ.ศ. 2542 (1999) ใจความสำคัญของพระราชบัญญัตินี้คือการมุ่งไปสู่การเรียนรู้และการเรียนการสอนในห้องเรียนโดยมีนักเรียนเป็นศูนย์กลาง โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งมาตรา 24 ที่กำหนดถึงสิ่งที่ต้องทำเพื่อพัฒนาประสิทธิภาพของการศึกษาไทยคือ : 1. จัดการศึกษาให้สอดคล้องกับความสนใจ, ความถนัดที่แตกต่างกันของนักเรียนแต่ละคน; 2. อบรมนักเรียนให้มีความสามารถในการคิดวิเคราะห์ด้วยตนเอง; 3. จัดกิจกรรมการเรียนรู้จากประสบการณ์จริง; และ 4. ส่งเสริมการเรียนการสอนที่ครูและนักเรียนได้เรียนรู้ร่วมกัน นอกจากประเด็นหลักเพื่อการปฏิรูปการศึกษาในประเทศไทยเหล่านี้ แน่นอนว่าในระดับโลกเรายังมุ่งเป้าไปยังการส่งเสริมศักยภาพอาจารย์ชาวไทยในด้านทักษะการสอนโดยอาศัยเทคนิคการสอนที่ให้นักเรียนมีส่วนร่วมในชั้นเรียนเพื่อให้นักเรียนมีความรักที่จะเรียนรู้ด้วยตัวเขาเอง

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  • 2 Responses

    1. Roberto

      26|Apr|2016 1

      This is a comprehensive and well thought out article. Much appreciate bringing the SCLThailand readership such a view of student centered learning. Kinds regards, Roberto

    2. Rahul Thampi

      09|May|2016 2

      This is a very interesting initiative that we would like to learn more about. We incorporate this learning style at our international school as well.

    Leave a reply

By Peter J. Foley, Ed.D., editor-in-chief

I am suffering from education reform fatigue. I suspect there are tens of thousands of reform fatigue sufferers here in Thailand who are concerned parents, concerned students and concerned educators.

And so, on March 1, 2016, when I read yet another call for education reform article in the Bangkok Post, it was hard not to stifle a yawn, then a sigh, a sigh of resignation. The article is entitled “Declare Education in a State of Emergency.” The authors of the article repeat what so many articles in the Bangkok Post and The Nations newspapers have cried about for the past six years: Thai students’ low international PISA (The Program for International Student Assessment) scores and disastrous O-Net scores. Yet, the article, like all similar calls for reform since SCLThailand’s, founding six years ago is empty on solutions, an empty gas tank. And that goes for the present government’s attempt at reform with its 65 modules to address 33 educational problems nationwide. It is doomed to failure unless the issue of the teacher’s role in Thai society is not addressed first and foremost.

As the article indicates, Thai education officials have reached out to Finnish educators to discover what has made Finland one of the highest PISA scorer nations in the world while spending less of its proportional GNP on education than Thailand. The Thai educators must have discovered that Finland’s success was due to its well paced curriculum, effective teacher training programmes and school autonomy and decentralization. Thailand suffers from a strictly hierarchical, top-down management system of course. But even if these needs are addressed in Education Minister Dapong Ratanasuwan’s 65 modules, there remains the essential problem in Thai society and that is the prestige and compensation of Thai teachers.

In sum, good teachers, highly esteemed and well paid in Finnish society is the reason for Finland’s public education success. Until Thailand focuses on raising Thai teachers position in Thai society with meaningful teacher standards and subsequent financial and recognition awards, Thai education will continue to languish and disappoint. Thai students, and therefore Thai society, will continue to suffer and its place in the new ASEAN economics will remain problematical.

The Thai Minister of Education might want to start real reform with a fund created with big corporations and government support that awards merit pay to outstanding teachers. This would include awards for best teachers in each province of the Kingdom of Thailand. This step would immediately raise the interest of Thailand’s best and brightest university graduates. It is these best and brightest Thais that are so badly needed in Thai classrooms.

If the Education Minister initiates such a program, SCL Thailand and Foley’s Coffee will rush to be the first in line to make a contribution.

  • One Response

    1. Brett wilkin

      03|Mar|2016 1

      I understand many of the issues as I taught through these same changes for 25 years in Australia. At least they gave some autonomy to the schools as they decentralised but now the federal government is trying to take control again. In Australia many teachers (not all old) could not deal with the reforms and held on to the teacher centered classrooms with many retiring early due to lack of ability to cope. It took Australia a long time and I see many of the same issues here. Thailand educators are in for a tough ride especially as it also accelerates society change. But in the end there is only one thing worth fighting for and that is education for all.

    Leave a reply

Empty Quality?

Download (PDF, 62KB)

Student-Centered Best Practices

By Peter J.Foley, Ed.D. , editor-in-chief
Dr. Nancy Sulla’s recent article in SCLThailand advocates effectively the need for teachers to pave the way for students to drive their own learning.  In the author’s words: “the teacher must be able to differentiate instruction such that each student is working on challenging but achievable objectives.”

Coincidentally, as Dr. Sulla’s article appeared in SCLThailand, The Samsung Smart Learning Project was featured in THE NATION ( Monday, November 16, 201). The project, according to staff writer, Pratch Rujivanarom, “has been successfully implemented in Loei to try to encourage students to study what really interests them….”  The NATION newspaper article describes how at Phu Kradung Wittayakom School in Loei teachers teach the skills students will need to research and complete projects.  The project based model  seems to follow at least some of the principles laid down in Professor Sulla article in SCLThailand.  It would be very interesting to see if the Samsung supported project in Loei uses the scaffolding  methods and essential curriculum tools professor Sulla champions.  It is the opinion of SCLThailand that without these essential student centered learning components the Loei  project will be doomed for failure.

There are also caveats on relying too heavily on technology.  As Dr Chanpen Choprapawan, president of the Thailand Research Association for Child and Family Development warned,  too much reliance on technology is “not good for students.” Chanpen said that children should learn about the world around them using their five senses—touching, seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting.”

It would be well-worth investing in Dr. Sculla’s books to learn how to maintain a proper , balanced learning program using the full range of student centered learning teaching best practices. Dr. Sulla’s book : Students Taking Charge: Inside the Learner-active Technology–infused Classroom is particularly recommended.

An education for the 21st Century

IB : An education for the 21st Century by Lister W. Hannah

We realise that we are living in a fast changing, increasingly complex, more interdependent and connected global community. Children entering kindergarten now (2015) will be graduating from high school in 2030 and probably entering the work force in the early to mid 2030s. The daunting challenge schools are facing in meeting parents’ expectations is that schools are having to educate their children for potential jobs that don’t exist now, using technologies that have yet to be created, and solving problems that haven’t been thought about.


The critical question then is how can schools best prepare the young to be lifelong learners for the adult world of the late 2020s and early 2030s?


“The central task of education is to implant a will and facility for learning: it should produce not learned but learning people….In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” (Eric Hoffer)


We believe that young people need to understand and know how to learn to be able to cope with this challenge of a rapidly changing world.


Schools need to engage, enable and empower students to become knowledgeable, independent, open-minded, and confident life-long learners; in short, students need to take ownership of their learning. Their curiosity and cross-cultural understanding of the world they live in and the nature of the change that is happening both in their own countries and globally needs to be cultivated and deeply understood. For this to happen they will need to have developed analytical, critical and creative thinking skills.


But we all know that academic rigour, important as it is, on its own is not enough. Research has shown that EQ, emotional quotient, is a better predictor of a fulfilling life than IQ. Our children also need the social and emotional skills and abilities to develop their capacity to be resilient and deal with the challenges, the stress and the pace of change, especially in the workplace and in their relationships. They need the ability, the empathy, to understand and respect their own and other cultures, and to resolve differences in relationships constructively and peacefully. Above all they need to live with good character, proactively, compassionately, sustainably and with integrity.


The International Baccalaureate (IB) Organisation provides outstanding programmes to meet these challenges. The IB offers the Primary Years Programme (PYP) for 3-11 year olds, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) for 12-16 year olds, the Diploma (DP) and also the Career Programme (CP) for 16-18 year olds. These programmes are recognised world-wide and is highly regarded as a preparation for life in the 21st century. The IB has already educated well over 1 million students in 145 countries since it was founded more than 40 years ago. The IB Diploma has become a preferred university entrance qualification to top universities around the world.


The appeal of the IB programmes lie in their ability to assimilate best practice from national systems, while not being tied to any national political system, in other words being truly international. They have rigour and challenge students academically; they have a breadth in offerings which educates the whole student; and they have an emphasis on attitudes and values which provide for building social and emotional skills and the capacity to live successfully.


Core features of the Programmes are: sustained inquiry into established bodies of knowledge; principled action through learning by doing, experiential education; critical reflection leading to deeper understanding; meaningful assessment, monitoring progress through appropriate feedback to students, and internationally benchmarked. Integral to these features is learning in global contexts and the promotion of cross-cultural awareness and international mindedness.


In sum, IB programmes are student-centred, encourage inquiry, collaboration, research, creativity and an understanding of learning how to learn. Further, they provide an emphasis on inclusiveness in an increasingly multi-cultural national and global society and cultivate the experience of how to be of service to others. This is an education for the 21st Century.


Lister W Hannah




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