How we assess the effectiveness of an education system is often based on scores and grades produced through mandatory and standardised testing. There are, however, so many essential skills and developmental milestones that cannot be assessed in this way.
At Right To Learn Foundation, we consider these skills fundamental to creating stronger learners. Although Thailand has increased its student and school attendance numbers, over the last 6 years our members have learnt to recognised some contributing factors keeping children behind an international standard curriculum in rural Thailand.
It has been estimated by the United Nations that migrant children represent the largest group of children without access to schools in Thailand, which is estimated to be around 200,000 kids. It is believed that these children are not receiving any form of education, which could potentially disadvantage their future and the future of their families by trapping them into a cycle of poverty.
We recognised this issue 6 years ago and invited local migrant and Thai children on Koh Tao to join the non-profit school. As time passed we were able to develop effective educational programs using an international curriculum.
What was truly evident was that a large number of our students were lacking basic developmental skills. Children from poorer backgrounds of all ages were presenting with:
- Weak fine and gross motor skills
- Low verbal skills
- Short attention spans
- Slow sensory processing skills
- Poor eye contact
- Poor attachment
- Antisocial behaviours
The great news is almost all the children responded and improved when we used contemporary methods of teaching.
What Are Contemporary Teaching Methods?
Contemporary teaching methods is a fancy way of saying- updated and improved teaching techniques. In Thailand, the government has made an effort to increase student numbers in schools and create a more educated public. However, many schools are still using outdated styles and methods of teaching.
Right To Learn Foundation is focused on the professional development of teachers in our future schools and existing schools around Thailand.
Our current training programs under development focus on:
- Lesson planning
- Classroom management
- Types of learners
- General professional development for teachers
Creating Stronger Learners
We attribute the success of Koh Tao International Primary School to the school’s strong focus on the basic foundations of learning. It didn’t matter whether students were Thai, Burmese or Western. All students benefited from extended periods of learning with a strong focus on fundamentals like:
- English phonics
- Language skills
- Comprehension skills
- Social and emotional skills
Children With Strong Social and Emotional Skills Are Better Learners
What is more important than maths and reading? A child who can cope in the playground using life skills to navigate and solve common social scenarios. In turn, this creates a level of confidence that will often carry through to the classroom.
Confident and happy children are generally better learners. These skills were taught repeatedly at Koh Tao International Primary through lessons focused on role-playing, storytelling, comprehension discussions and mindfulness practice. Most importantly, the staff were trained to talk to the children in the playground and encouraged to help students problem solve using their words during the social conflict.