Welcome to Student-Centered Learning Thailand
LONG LIVE THE KING!
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
เพื่อสร้างศูนย์ข้อมูล การแลกเปลี่ยนข้อคิดเห็นและวางแผนสำหรับการปฏิรูปการศึกษาของประเทศไทยในศตวรรษที่ 21 อันจะนำไปสู่การปฏิบัติอันเป็นไปในทิศทางเดียวกันของนักการศึกษาไทยและต่างประเทศเพื่อให้บรรลุเป้าหมายที่กำหนดไว้ในพระราชบัญญัติการศึกษาแห่งชาติ พ.ศ. 2542 (1999)
ใจความสำคัญของพระราชบัญญัตินี้คือการมุ่งไปสู่การเรียนรู้และการเรียนการสอนในห้องเรียนโดยมีนักเรียนเป็นศูนย์กลาง โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งมาตรา 24 ที่กำหนดถึงสิ่งที่ต้องทำเพื่อพัฒนาประสิทธิภาพของการศึกษาไทยคือ : 1. จัดการศึกษาให้สอดคล้องกับความสนใจ, ความถนัดที่แตกต่างกันของนักเรียนแต่ละคน; 2. อบรมนักเรียนให้มีความสามารถในการคิดวิเคราะห์ด้วยตนเอง; 3. จัดกิจกรรมการเรียนรู้จากประสบการณ์จริง; และ 4. ส่งเสริมการเรียนการสอนที่ครูและนักเรียนได้เรียนรู้ร่วมกัน
from the dictionary: learning that is genuine, real, not false or copied…
from latin: Original., primary, at first hand
In Tasmania in 1980 Rob Banfield started teaching in science, maths, and a few other areas. He has taught in Java at Bandung International School. He holds an Ed.D in leadership professional learning and has keen interests in curriculum design, pedagogy development, effective leadership and strategic planning.
Why would we be interested in authentic learning, surely all learning is authentic?
Perhaps NOT! Some learning has to be not first hand and uses copied texts and demonstrations. Safety, efficiency and the practicalities of schools demand these professional boundaries.
However, we know that engagement of students in real learning often increases their motivation, energy and indeed their learning of new concepts and applied skills.
My enthusiasm for this authentic style of teaching has a few personal waypoints. One particular “hard to teach class” in 1983 encouraged me to manipulate an entire Grade 9 Science Curriculum around the real science of cars. Cars were a real inquiry object with intrinsic interest to 15 year old boys! Later I was introduced to the idea of negotiated curriculums, where I let go of the reins and discovered the wealth of untapped knowledge already residing in the brains of my assigned students. Soon, real inquiries into astronomical Quasars with 13 year olds became a reality. In recent years I was fortunate enough to interact with Dan Buckley from the UK (certainly worth an extended Google). His work with students responding to real tender scopes to achieve real solutions to real problems, struck another cord with me. Dan’s innovative approach to curriculum motivated students as authentic learners whilst responding to skills and concepts demanded by the agreed curriculum.
Isolated examples are fine, but what is the potential to authenticate the curriculum in our everyday real world of technology?
I randomly selected the Grade 3 Australian Science Curriculum to apply my ideas of a real learning framework. I was first challenged by the science content areas of biology, earth, chemistry, and physical science areas as I read the curriculum scope. These areas contained dry, important things we need to know. So, I ventured across to the science inquiry skills list. Ah ha, here was the stuff of real science in my mind. Experiments, observation, data, reporting etc… But, alas the creative juices could still not conjure up a real life inquiry for my imaginary Grade 3 learners.
I opened up a digital skill link that took me to some Scootle learning objects and ideas. Here I found the seed of an authentic learning plan in amongst the suggestions on Shadows. The shadow inquiries had a clear link back to the earth science content field of planet rotation, seasons, day and night etc…
Now applying a little imagination here is my initial thinking for Grade 3 Science authentic inquiry.
“Our town council is processing a new application to allow for the building of a single 4 story office block in our main street. As part of the planning approval process, the councillors want to know what the shadowing effect will be on neighbouring buildings, the streetscape and people at various times of the day and the year. Currently the maximum height of buildings is limited to two stories. The council requires a 5 page report and a concise 20 minute presentation of your findings for a full Council Planning meeting in June.”
My class would work in 7 groups of four students and present to a genuine town planning engineer at a future time. My invited engineer would be asked to give feedback to each group and perhaps provide real written responses from his council division. My planning will involve the science, literacy and numeracy outcomes from Grade 3, an even some history outcomes.
I am keen, Grade 3 science is being applied to a real life problem, where we don’t know a prepared “proper” answer. The detailed planning, teaching and negotiation with people from outside my school needs to be done. The scope of the inquiry may change as my planning develops.
Learning can be (more) authentic, more motivating for students (and teachers) and integrate various discrete curriculum areas (as happens in the real world).
Authentic Teaching leads to authentic learning, the Twin Supports of
Student Centered Learning by Peter J. Foley, Ed.D
This month’s featured article about authentic learning got me thinking about authentic teaching. It occurred to me that both authentic teaching and authentic learning are joined at the hips, both being legs that student centered learning stands on.
It all boils down to a problem we all find hard to pin down: how can we define authentic teaching , that is , real teaching and not just going through the motions. It is tempting to reply in a similar fashion as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who struggled to define pornography and finally said: “I cannot define it , but I know it when I see it.”
That response is not adequate for educators who must make a judgment on teachers’ job performance. In an article I wrote in 2012 and is found in the SCLThailand archive , I attempted to give educators a comprehensive quantifiable teacher performance instrument. An alternative description of what constitutes good teaching is provided on a qualitative basis in Teaching As Leadership by Steven Farr, Teach for America. The following is Farr’s list of the core principles of effective teaching:
Of course, the devil is in the details. Nevertheless, if teachers keep these general principles in their minds and hearts their teaching will be more authentic and consequently their students’ learning will be more authentic.
N.B. Teach for America has expanded to other countries. Experts from Teach from America are currently in Thailand for the startup of Teach for Thailand. Teach for Thailand will be holding a training program for talented Thai college graduates who want to make a contribution to Thailand as new teachers who bring passion and a love of learning to the teaching experience. See the Job Opportunities menu on SCLThailand for more information about Teach for Thailand. *Farr, Steven. Teaching As Leadership 2010. page 33.
This month we are pleased to present an article by Mr Wichian Chaiyabang, Headmaster of Lamplaimat Patana School [LPMP] in Buriram province, Thailand.
This school provides a shining light on student centered learning and how a school where “thinking outside the education box” is the norm for all that happens in there. Under Wichian’s leadership, the LPMP team of educators is making a major contribution to the way Thai teachers teach, and the way Thai schools operate. LPMP has become a leading provider of professional learning programs for teachers from all parts of Thailand, through the programs it runs every week of the school year.
Many of those who have attended these professional learning workshops carry the message of educational change and the practical advice on how to do it, back to their own schools where they inevitably have an impact in their own classrooms and, if the conditions are right, they have an impact on a school wide basis. Throughout Thailand there are more schools similar to LPMP springing up. Like LPMP, they are small private schools, but they charge no fees, as they rely does on generating their own funding through donations and their own entrepreneurial activities.
In his article, Wichian addresses some important questions associated with measuring educational success. He argues that success in education is about educators seeing “that each child is equipped according to his or her capacity and is able to lead a life of value and contentment.”
I am sure there would be not much opposition for that proposition from thinking educators, but in this Information Age, there is evidence that schools and systems still want to push the acquisition of knowledge as one of the big priorities, and along with this they seek to develop in students the capacity to respond to knowledge seeking questions in examinations and tests which seem to be the norm for judging students’ success at school.
I am reminded of something John Lennon said of his own education; when he was in Year 6 at his Liverpool primary school, John’s his teacher set a task for the children to write, which was a short essay on the topic “What I want to be when I grow up”.
As the children wrote, the teacher wandered around the room looking at what they were writing. When she came to the Lennon, the future musical genius, she saw what he wrote ….he had written “When I grow up, I want to be happy” The teacher responded, “You don’t understand the question” Lennon responded immediately, “You don’t understand life”.
I do not know what mark he received for his short piece of work, but I am sure what he had written would have brought him a high score from teachers at LPMP and I would have given him a 10/10; we would have followed with frequent discussion the question on how does one achieve a life of happiness, and what does this mean anyway? A discussion which should be frequent in classrooms; in his article, Wichian touches on the deeper aspects of how we judge success.
In his third book, Outliers: the Story of Success [published by Little, Brown and Company on November, 2008], Malcolm Gladwell, the Canadian – English author, journalist and staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, examines the factors that lead to high levels of success in many fields of endeavour including sport, business and education.
In Outliers, Gladwell poses questions to try to determine how much individual potential is ignored by society. The book has been translated into Thai and is recommended reading for all school teachers.
Another important book on this topic is Paul Tough’s 2008 book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, [published by Houghton Mifflin in 2008 and 2012. This is an excellent study on the types of things that are mentioned in this month’s feature article. Tough argues that the story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions tests, and senior high school exam to SATs.
But in How Children Succeed, the author argues that the qualities that matter most for success have more to do with character; skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.
These are some of the things that teachers can help develop in those they teach.
I hope you all enjoy Khun Wichian’s article which has been provided in both English and Thai.
Greg Cairnduff, March, 2014
The Author of this month’s feature, Khun Wichian Chaiyabang.
Wichian is Headmaster and Education Manager at Lamplaimat Pattana School, located in Buriram province, north-eastern Thailand.
He leads the school in the provision of professional learning programs for schools throughout Thailand and is frequently to speak at conferences, universities and other forums.
Wichian is also a prolific author, having written a wide range of fiction and non – fiction books as shown below.
“The King on Green Planet” (2005)
“The Boy and the Star” (2006)
“Starfish on the Beach” (2006)
“Everyone Dreams of Being That” (2011)
“The Proud Turtle” (2013)
Short Story Collection
“One Morning before the End of the World” (2006)
Young Adult Literature
“Wind and Prairie” (2008)
- Outstanding Book, 2009 National Book Week Award
- Outstanding Book, 2011 Seven Book Award
“Go Ahead and Pray to the Green Fairy” (2009)
- Outstanding Book, 2011 Seven Book Award
“School Outside-the-Box” (2008)
“Man on the Tree: Management and Leadership” (2009)
“Education Miracle (at School Outside-the-Box)” (2011)
“Spiritual Studies and Nurturing Inner Wisdom” (2011
How do we measure educational success? This is a question that we must ponder again and again, to make sure that the goals are not simply to satisfy the needs of grown-ups or determined with only certain children in mind. We must consider goals that are truly necessary for children and the future. We must keep in mind the holistic nature of all goals, so that each child is equipped according to his or her capacity and is able to lead a life of value and contentment.
In the past, our human thirst for knowledge has pushed us to study and understand so many things both concrete and abstract, to the point of creating a belief among many people that education means an accumulation of knowledge. This belief has led us to value knowledge teaching, evaluating knowledge and counting success by knowledge. However, deep down, we know that we want people to be good and kind, to live together in peace and mutual support, and to lead lives of value and contentment.
I believe most of us know what the challenges are and what we should do to improve education. But we are not putting in our best efforts. To surrender to the problem is easier, because it is a way of adapting and enabling us to achieve balance once again. A lower balance is degenerative adaptation. Most people choose this option because it is easier and justifiable in so many reasonable ways. Deep down, however, human nature has progressed so far because we have adapted in a different way – charging through obstacles. All throughout the history of human evolution, we have constantly pushed ourselves to overcome our limitations.
We are surrounded by rapid and violent changes. How should today’s education respond to these transformations? We must look beyond the shallow goals of knowledge, university entrance examinations, employment, etc. Education is a constant with so many hidden variables. It is gruelingly difficult to control the end result. Education as is may help us to remember that we must brush our teeth daily, that we must beware of falling from high places, that we can extract benefits from various things. But, as is, education has not achieved clear results in helping us realize how short life is.
All of us are involved in education, directly and indirectly. We must therefore do our best, like the gardener who tends to every tree and every aspect in the orchard, be it watering, fertilizing, pruning or getting rid of pests. The gardener’s hope is that these efforts will enhance and complete the natural capacity of the trees to bear fruit. Once everything has been done, the gardener can only watch and wait.
Lamplaimat Pattana School, an Outside the Box School, views our goal as developing learners in a holistic manner, enabling people to live together in peace, mutual support, with value and happiness. This kind of learning will enable learners to reach wisdom. There is outer wisdom, which is an understanding of the world and its phenomena, a set of knowledge and skills applicable to employment or maintenance of a quality livelihood. There is also inner wisdom, which is an understanding of oneself, an ability to perceive the emotions of oneself and others, to the point that one is able to manage those emotions. It is also recognizing the value in oneself and other people and things, to live with meaning, with awareness of the connectedness between oneself and the things around us, with humility toward all beings which mutually support one another, with the ability to coexist with fraternity and acceptance of differences, with respect toward others, with moderation and the ability to be satisfied, with constant awareness of oneself and one’s emotions, with the ability to distinguish when to stop and when to go on, with focus and persistence to complete tasks, and with a heart full of love and kindness.
Cultivating wisdom is more intricate than cultivating knowledge. The mature teacher will toil endlessly to help students reach this goal. The teacher’s maturity will help uphold such a grand goal and overcome any obstacles.
The results of research are speaking loud and clear: Thai are having a lot of trouble speaking English.
Thailand is ranking 55 (out of 60) on EF’s English Proficiency Index (EPI)
And Thailand scores lowest in South-East Asia in the JobStreet.com English Language Assessment (JELA)
Among many other research results there are my own experiences of the (the lack of) English skills among the Thai after living here for the past 3.5 years.
First there is the, to Thai, most famous English sentence that all Thai kids are taught to use when greeting their English teacher: “Good morning teacher”.
In English speaking countries teachers are never addressed as “teacher”, but as Mr/Mrs/Ms (given name). This of course, is just a literal translation of the the Thai way to address a teacher as “(คุณ)ครู″.
Another, painful example is how Westerners in Thailand are addressed as “you” in situations where the Thai person is calling them because they forgot something.
When forgetting my receipt at 7 eleven or my change at a gas station the cashier will call me back saying “you” which sounds rather aggressive. Of course it’s simply a literal translation of the Thai word คุณ which is a polite way to call somebody you don’t know. In English speaking countries you would use the word Sir or Miss/Ma’am.
These two examples are simple conversation mistakes that are caused by a lack of exposure to the English language. If people would have been given the opportunity to be exposed to English speakers, they wouldn’t have made this type of mistake.
Then there are the pronunciation problems with sounds that are difficult or don’t appear in the Thai language such as the difference between cheap and sheep (the ช sound can be pronounced as both “sh” and “ch”) and the problems with “l” and “r” sounds in words like pleasure and pressure.
Again if people would have been given the opportunity to be exposed to native English speakers, from a young age, their accents would have been much better as human beings learn accents and the set of sound we can make from what we are listening to when we are young.
A lot has already been done
In the past years many things have been tried to improve the quality of English language education in Thailand both by the Thai government and by governments of English-speaking countries such as the British Council.
Skills in general are improving. EF measures scores of 5 points higher in 2012 on their proficiency test compared to the scores in 2007-2009. But the trend is too slow with the opening of ASEAN coming closer and closer.
So why are some countries doing better?
Looking at countries that scored high on EL’s EPI test, it seems obvious to assume these countries have just simply better education, and this is probably true, but next to that there is something else that influences English skills in general and, more important, listening and conversational skills.
It’s television and movies.
Countries coloured red use dubbing for foreign movies.
The darker the colour, the higher the country scores in the EPI test.
There is an obvious correlation going on here.
Although, I have to mention that the EF Test of English (www.eftestofenglish.org) only tests reading and writing skills.
Data in South-East Asia
Let’s have a look on the available data of the South-East Asian countries.
Singapore: Almost all English television and movies are broadcasted and shown with their original soundtrack. Chinese films are subtitled in English
Malaysia: almost all English television is broadcasted with original soundtrack and subtitles
Indonesia: almost all English television is broadcasted with original soundtrack and subtitles
Vietnam: almost all English television is broadcasted with original soundtrack and subtitles. Programs and movies for young children are dubbed.
Country with very low scores: Thailand. Almost all television programmes and movies on television are dubbed. Some movies shown in the theatres in the bigger cities are shown in English with subtitles, but most are dubbed.
Worldwide more and more people start to prefer subtitling over dubbing. Francesca Riggio states in her article that this trend might be the result of the rise of available video content through new media. http://www.1stoptr.com/admin/
So what should Thailand do
The easiest, cheapest, most effective and most elegant key to better English skills for the Thai people is simple. Thailand should show more, if not, all English movies and television programs in English with Thai subtitles.
It will increase the English skills, and especially the listening and conversational skills dramatically for almost 100% of the people as almost everybody (even people in rural areas) have access to television.
It’s a very cheap, quick and easy to execute way to educate almost all layers of society. It’s almost the only way to save Thailand from falling back as soon as the borders of ASEAN are opening up.
Developing English Speaking Skills of Thai Undergraduate Students by Digital Storytelling through Websites
Manussanun Somdee & Suksan Suppasetseree, Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand
Ways to Develop English Proficiency of Business Students: Implementation of Content and Language Integrated Learning
Dr. Wipanee Pengnate
College of General Education and Languages
Thai-NIchi Institute of Technology
AN INVESTIGATION OF THAI STUDENTS’ ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROBLEMS AND THEIR LEARNING STRATEGIES IN THE INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM AT MAHIDOL UNIVERSITY
QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE VIEWS OF THAI EFL LEARNERS’ LEARNING ORAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS
The online encyclopaedia of writing systems and languages
DEUS EX DATE
Musings on Data, Science and Behavioral Economics
Possible disadvantages of subtitling.
-Some of the spoken language will get lost.
People read slower, then they listen. So some of the things said in movies might get lost and will not be translated in the subtitles.
Counter argument: in dubbing even more get’s lost in translation. Word jokes for example are just hard to translate. When people’s English skills improve, less and less will get lost, because people will simply start listening more to the sound track.
-Dubbers will lose their jobs.
Counter argument. In Thailand only one very small company is doing all dubbing of all films and television. These people will still have to do dubbing for films and television for children who are not yet able to read.
-People working in education will loose business and jobs.
At this moment a lot of people in Thailand are making money teaching either on public or private schools, or in the many tutoring businesses all through the country. When more and more people are getting better in English these people might loose jobs and have less customers.
Counterargument: as we’ve seen from the data in Europe, it’s not just subtitles that help improve the English skills of a country. It’s just a means to better conversational and listening skills and accent might be less thick. But in all these countries that score high on the EPI test, much is done to improve English skills all throughout all the different forms of education. People working in education will not loose their jobs. Their jobs will just get a little easier.
-Dubbing is part of Thai culture.
The small group of people that dub all movies and television in Thailand is somewhat famous in Thailand. At least their voices (and rather funny way of speaking) is famous all over the country. People like to imitate their way of talking as a way of joking. The dubbing team also likes to add Thai word jokes to the movie.
Counter argument: Many Thai people who ones started watching movies with its original soundtrack don’t ever want to go back to watching dubbed movies. They think it’s awkward and sounds stupid. When more and more people will start watching movies with its original soundtrack they will look back to those old days when movies were sill dubbed thinking “why did we even like that?”
-People don’t like to read
Yes, watching television with subtitles might be a little bit more tiring and people just want to relax when they watch television. Entertainment business might get less viewers for those programs.
Counterargument: This is why this can only work if the government enforces all the organisations and companies by law as to what movies and television programs should be subtitled and may not be dubbed. It will benefit both the people of the country as the country as a whole.