The educators and administrators at Thailand Educators Network's Wednesday, 8 September meeting were taken on an informative journey into the history and present state of the Thai Culture and Ethics course by Dr Nikolaus Mische responsible for providing one of the more professional options in Thailand.
Why is the course needed?
For a number of years, reports became increasingly prevalent concerning non-Thais employed as teachers in Thai government schools breaking rules of etiquette, demonstrating poor behaviour, lacking in professionalism and creating highly embarrassing situations for Thai schools, their teachers, students and administrators.
Placing immense pressure on the MoE to address the situation quickly and thoroughly, they replied with Clause 5 Section 2 of BE 2547 Teacher Council regulation stating that any non-Thai seeking to obtain a Thai teaching license is required to pass an examination and assessment procedure set by the Thai Teacher Council.
The now ‘famous' 20-hour Thai Language, Culture and Professional Ethics course was arranged to fulfil this requirement.
Reactions by teachers
While there have been numerous complaints from non-Thai teachers in Thailand, Thai schools continue to be plagued by many unresolved issues with non-Thais hired as teachers.
However, concerns about the course continue to surface, perhaps recycled, about the fact that an immense amount of money has been generated by organizations teaching the course to hundreds of participants at a time.
However, a closer examination of the objectives behind the course and its mandated content, if conducted properly, would appear to offer non-Thai teachers a solid, albeit short introduction to important aspects of Thai culture in which they are or will soon be teaching.
The objective of the course is to train non-Thais in various aspects of Thai society and instructional ethics to be better equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to work effectively in Thailand.
The mandated syllabus structure includes Thai Society (four hours), Thai Language and Culture (six hours), Thai Manners (two hours), Thai Arts and Music (two hours) and finally, to round out the 20 hours, Professional Ethics (six hours).
Although, many stories still circulate about teachers spending 20 hours learning Thai dancing, the proposed content includes some interesting topics I would want a teacher to know about my culture (Canadian) before they started to teach young, impressionable minds.
A more in-depth overview of the five modules clearly identifies areas that, to varying degrees, should be beneficial to any one teaching in Thailand.
Thai Society includes the state of Thai society in the past and at present including social structures, way of life and Thai wisdom.
Thai Language and Culture, consists of Thai language needed in daily life along with beliefs, values and characteristics of Thai people, dress codes for various occasions, the food and Buddhist life styles.
Thai manners, perhaps the most important if taught correctly, involves standing postures for formal and informal occasions, walking, sitting and how to rise from a seated position, how to Wai to individuals of different social strata, and encountering, receiving from and handing articles to higher-ranking individuals.
Thai Arts and Music examines Thai art, values and beauty, along with the uniqueness of Thai art in each region, characteristics and features of Thai musical instruments, Thai dramatic arts, literature, sports and games.
Professional Ethics places its central focus on The Association and Educational Personnel Act, which includes the significance of professional ethics, personal behaviour along with ethical standards towards service recipients and colleagues and social ethics.
And in October...
► Basic First Aid in the Classroom
Thailand Educators Network
Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital
Tuesday, 12 October - 18.00-20.30
Roadhouse Barbecue, Surawong/Rama IV
► Knowing basic first aid is extremely important for anybody, especially for teachers. Knowing what to do if a child suddenly vomits, passes out or goes into an epileptic fit are just a few of the different scenarios we need to expect and should be ready for at all times.
During her talk, Khun Chayada, former nurse and International Affairs Coordinator with Samitivej Hospital will
1. offer some basic tips about first aid teachers should know,
2. introduce the various first-aid courses her hospital can provide to groups of teachers and students and
3. discuss her role at the hospital in helping Thai and non-Thai visitors feel more comfortable when undergoing medical tests, ill or injured
An interesting and informative evening, Thailand Educators Network's Tuesday, 12 October meeting will introduce teachers and guests to the world of first aid training and practice in Thailand and one of the leading hospitals, Samitivej, and its efforts to provide first-class, international medical treatment.
► Meeting Details
TEN events start at 6.00 pm; mini-lecture at 6.40 pm
Non-member - THB 380, Members - THB 280, Includes one drink and snacks
TEN Meets at the Roadhouse Barbecue, Surawong at Rama IV