Forging the spirit of a teacher

“Forging the spirit of a teacher”, for teachers in kindergarten, primary, and secondary schools of Roong Aroon School, with the objective in designing a teaching plan to create an energetic and happy classroom.(held 25-26 April 2017)

“How can the teacher lead the students to learn if the teacher isn’t learning?”
“Let the mind come first ,knowledge will follow.”
“A classroom filled with the energy of value learning and happiness.”

The first day of this activity started off with creating inspiration by watching a documentary about a teacher called ‘Rujeesamorn’ from Wannawit School, and another documentary about classrooms in Japan called ‘Children full of life’. Following the presentation, a knowledge management regarding the presentation was held under the following topics; how were the schools, the students, and the teachers? Why were the teachers like that? What are the results that we’ve seen? When we look back at ourselves, what do we see and feel? How can a teacher apply this to oneself in order to become a true teacher?

Every teacher who watched the presentation was impressed in Rujeesamorn’s spirit as a teacher who devotes and stands strong side by side with her students. The teachers also learned about another concept of  classroom from a Japanese primary school where teachers can apply real-life problems and situations regarding natural disasters and loss, into the students’ learning process. All the teachers in the Japanese primary school have deep empathy for their students’ feeling and are able to lead the students into sharing both, happiness and sadness together. Thus, creating an energetic and happy classroom.

The next activity held was called ‘Not as Expected’. In this activity, the teachers were asked to compose a piece of poetry or draw a picture on a piece of paper before it was torn to pieces. The teachers were also required to role play roles that they haven’t done before. These activities were meant to help the teachers realise their actual emotions, both good and bad; for instance, jumping to conclusions, disappointment, frustration, worry, fear, and many others. In the end, the teachers will understand themselves which leads to their understanding of other people and their students as well. Participating teachers also summarized what they learned from the activity for further understanding which leads to the conclusion as follow: creating a learning process consists of 1.Determining an objective (as in context/value/skill) 2.Learning process (in which each steps leads to the objective) 3.Evaluation which led to the following core values. This learning process, however, is an Active Learning process which leads to the next challenge of whether a teacher can apply these components into their teaching plans or not.

“I must thank you, for these activities that showed me what’s going on inside my mind.”
“Today I have overcome many emotions like anger and unfamiliar expressions, including leaving my comfort zone.”
“I get to know my current emotions and not to dwell on it. I noticed it and faced it. I’m proud that I can do it.”

At the end of the activity, Associate Professor Prapapat led the discussion regarding what the teachers learned. Associate Professor Prapapat also complimented and encouraged the participating teachers along with further lectureson holistic  learning. The given lecture is about Holistic Learning which composes of Head (Core competencies), Hands (Core skills) and Heart (Core Value).

On the second day, teachers were divided into groups consisting different school levels; namely, kindergarten, primary, and secondary school. The teachers brought what they learned on the first day together and formed it into a value-oriented teaching plan, which consists of O.L.E. (Objective/ Learning Process/ Evaluation). Then, the teachers put it into practical use in a simulated classroom called ‘Micro Teaching’. In this process, a teacher was chosen to play the role of the teacher while the rest played their part as students. Finally, the teachers discussed the results of their teaching plan, both, from the teacher’s and students’ point of view to see what went according to plan and what didn’t, including the reasons and ways of improvement.

Here at Roong Aroon School, planning lessons requires teamwork. There are Headmasters, senior teachers, experienced teachers, and other teachers who work as team member and also act as coaches in ‘thinking, advising, pointing out flaws, remodeling, and revising as partners’. Lessons are planned with students as the highest priority and target. Teacher will carefully select subjects that the group is interested in, and integrate it into lessons. Targets and objective in each lesson are determined by what the teachers want their students to learn. Similarly, each activity and media is also selected appropriately along with the evaluation method.

The practical knowledge management that was held this time had the learning atmosphere in which teachers can open up their minds and understand both their own feelings as well as others’. Throughout the activities, teachers listened, respected, and have faith in each other without any judgement, allowing each teacher to learn from the activities in each aspect with ease. This atmosphere is a learning atmosphere which also creates development toward happiness, fun, and felling of partnerships. It is also a chance for teachers from each school to know more about each other, creating an exchange in knowledge based on various experiences; whether they are senior teachers, new teachers, or teachers from different classes and subjects. This exchange also allowed the teachers to collect ideas and apply it to their own way of teaching in the future.

“Our knowledge can change, and can be learned anew” Associate Professor Prapapat Niyom

“For 20 years, in Roong Aroon School, we have reached a certain point. What makes me happy is that you are able to reflect upon the idea of listening, which is the most crucial thing that will keep our society standing strong and happy. Throughout these 2 days, we’ve managed to accomplish this. We don’t care whether the results will be perfection or failure. But what happened is that we have truly learned and listened to each other.” Sunisa Chuencharoensuk, School Director and Headmaster of Kindergarten School

“I am happy. I can feel that we’ve accomplished our goal. It’s all about creating more understanding the degree of which depends on our experience from now on. I’m proud that we have high-quality teachers here at Roong Aroon. Many teachers here are ready to help other people as well as other schools who need our help.” Sakunee Boonyabuncha, Headmaster of Primary School

“I feel happy that this meeting allowed our three schools to work together. I’m proud that more than 20 coaches enjoyed seeing the exchanges that have been taking place here, seeing that everyone play their part in learning. A teacher and a student are two sides of the same coin.” Suwanna Chivapruk, Headmaster of Secondary School

“From what I’ve heard other teachers reflecting upon what they’ve learned, being a teacher actually starts with oneself. Trust yourself, respect other people. Lower your self-consciousness and accept the students. See through the differences and use it to adapt yourself. When a teacher can let go of their inner feelings, it’ll lead to a more effective way of managing the outside factors. Especially when you’ve got these concepts, you can manage yourself effectively.” Prempiti Hantanong, Head of Secondary School’s Social-Thai Integrated Project

“A team matters. The most important person is the coach. If we don’t have the coach, we must be our own coach.” Chatchadaporn Silpasunthorn, Headmaster’s Assistance of Primary School

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