Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I Learned About Teacher Education in Thailand

For 13 days I rotated around three unique schools and saw three unique groups of student-teachers teach at each school. In my post before I left for Thailand, I wrote:

in Thailand I want to see how students will fix their own lessons and how this experience will change their view of what effective teaching and their image of themselves as teachers.
In the blog, I try hard not to write about people or schools in such a way that would reveal information they would not want shared. I am a little worried that what I would write might reveal certain details that schools and or the student teachers would prefer not to be shared. However, I do think that I can share what fascinated me the most about this whole experience.

At the Thai schools we had three groups of people working together on planning the ideal English class. These groups had different life experiences and views on teaching, they were Japanese college professors (who were American!),  Thai and non-Thai English teachers working in Bangkok or Ayutthaya, and Japanese pre-service teachers. We had different ways in how we perceived good topics, appropriate activities, our ideal image of teachers, how to interact with students, and how to use materials.

I think that for the classes that were most successful, the pre-service teachers, the Thai teachers, and the American teachers were able to exchange dialogue about the classes, understand each other, and negotiate changes that everyone could be happy with. For the classes that were not as successful (all the classes were actually good, I think), the pre-service teachers, Thai teachers, and American teachers were not quite able to reach a common ground. Nevertheless, the opportunity to collaborate on planning these classes was an incredible experience which taught me about myself, my students, and the Thai teachers; it also brought us all closer together. This trip taught me about how difficult and exhausting communication can it made me a more open and honest communicator and made me feel more alive.

No comments: