Right to learn

A great piece on work being done by Right to Play in Thailand in conjunction with with the United Nations Children’s Fund, the MOE, Chulalongkorn University, Thaksin University and the Education Service Area Office (ESAO) in each area.

What is especially nice about the piece and the program is the focus on the teachers. To get broader and deeper distribution of meaningful lessons, we must tap into those who have broad, deep, and meaningful contact with the target audience. And there may be no better group than teachers.

The full article from the Bangkok Post can be found at http://www.bangkokpost.com/life/education/25542/, with an excerpt provided below.


Academic Enjoyment: Right To Play fosters new learning experience by integrating games into lessons


The teacher’s loud laughs penetrated the green, dense palm orchard and rubber trees surrounding Ban Tang Yang School, a small school in Thailand’s southern province of Satun. It might sound far-fetched if one is told that the teachers were actually conducting a training session for they sounded like they were participating in some fun game.

Recently, Right To Play (RTP) brought mirth and innovative teaching methodology to the school in a three-day teacher training session at which the teachers were trained to use games to foster students’ academic excellence.

Right To Play

With programmes in 26 countries, RTP is an international non-governmental organisation that deploys sports and games to develop life skills, improve health, teach conflict resolution and instil hope in children affected by calamities like war, poverty and disease.

The organisation first arrived in the southern part of Thailand in 2006 to help rehabilitate children affected by the December 2004 tsunami. It was the first phase of its southern Thailand initiative. RTP has now entered the second phase, which consists of teacher training and other activities in Phuket, Trang, Satun and Songkhla provinces.

The aim is to assist and collaborate with Thailand’s Ministry of Education (MOE) to enhance teacher capacity and motivation in social and emotional learning through experiential learning methodology, develop teachers’ skills to effectively apply child-centred pedagogy, foster an environment for child-centred learning and social development, and evaluate the alignment of RTP’s experiential learning technique with the social and emotional learning achieved by the MOE’s national curriculum.

RTP runs the project in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, the MOE, Chulalongkorn University, Thaksin University and the Education Service Area Office (ESAO) in each area.

“It is a different approach from just simply playing games and sport; we actually use games as a way of teaching the new thinking methodologies, so that teachers can apply them in the classrooms,” says Michael Bedford, the recently retired former Asian regional director and a main activist of RTP initiatives in Thailand.

“One problem for Thai teachers is that they do not know how to put the theory of child-centred learning into practice,” he comments. “How do you teach children to become better citizens, to be more compassionate, to take care of each other, to feel confident in the classroom, and to question the teachers, rather than recite everything the teacher said?” ponders Mr Bedford, elaborating on his expectations.

Learn by playing

Following the massive training classes for teachers from 24 schools in Satun and Songkhla provinces in July, as a follow-up, the organisation arranged the training session at Ban Tang Yang School, which is one of the schools that had sent representatives to join in some of the previous major training episodes.

(The article continues at http://www.bangkokpost.com/life/education/25542/)