Educational quality depends largely on teacher quality. Most teachers join the school with little teaching experience. They typically come from the North-East region, and have an ordinary Thai educational background. Some teachers join with expertise in a particular subject, but with no teaching background at all. Teacher development is thereforeabsolutely crucial for the school. The core of the school’s approach toteacher development is its organizational culture. There are three important parts.
The first part is a sense of shared purpose. The school has a clear vision about the purpose of education and the goals of the school. It makes sure that teachers fully understand the goals, and tries to make teachers share those goals.
The second part is continuous improvement. The culture is that there is always scope for improvement and innovation, and that this is something that should happen all the time. Teacher development is a basic part of the daily operation of the school, not something reserved for special occasions. Furthermore, all teachers, no matter how senior, are expectedto continue to develop professionally. Teachers who have developed strong teaching skills are expected to go on to develop an ability to pass those skills on to others. The school’s salary structure is designed in accordance with this expectation. Initial salary levels are similar to government schools. However, salary increases beyond the costof living are tied to improvements in teaching ability rather than to seniority.
The third part is teamwork. The nature of teaching creates a tendency for each teacher to work independently. The school’s culture tries to counteract this, encouraging teachers to collaborate in planning their teaching and in developing themselves as teachers. The detailed lesson planning process is one of the key mechanisms for facilitating collaboration between teachers. Teamwork is encouraged by creating a collegial atmosphere: non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, friendly and respectful. Communication is also important: all teachers are expected to know about and take an interest in what other teachers are doing.
The school attaches great importance to developing mutual understanding with the parents. The schools rather unconventional goals make this particularly challenging. The first step is to help parents who are applying for admission to assess whether the school would provide the kind of education that they want for their child. The next step is a compulsory full-day workshop which is held for new parents every year. The school tries hard to understand the individual circumstances of every child; a teacher visits every child’s home during the first year or two.
The school tries to build understanding with parents throughout a child’s time at the school. It strongly encourages parents to take theirchildren to school themselves, so that they have an opportunity to meetand talk to the teachers on daily basis. The teachers also provide a written update to parents at least once a week. There is a meeting of the parents of each class once every two months; one of the main purposes of these meetings is to exchange ideas about the children’s outof school behaviour.
Parents also play an important role in connecting the school with the community. It is not unusual for there to be aspects of community life relevant to student projects where parents have more expertise than teachers. In such cases, the teacher would invite parents to come to theschool to share their expertise with the children. For example, if the students are doing a project on rice, it is valuable for them to interact directly with a rice farmer.
Working together to contribute to education development. You can help to contribute to education via support Lamplaimat Pattana Foundation by donating today. In the first instance, please contact the headmaster, Wichian Chaiyabang ( firstname.lastname@example.org).