Teacher Professional Development Program Raises Student Achievement in STEM Education
"I enjoy teaching when my students are enthusiastic and motivated," said Ms. Sayamol Hongsira, a 7th-9th grade science teacher in Rayong, Thailand.
Finding the magic formula to inspire students isn’t easy, however, no matter how well-meaning or dedicated a teacher is. Like most educators in underprivileged schools in Thailand, Ms. Sayamol had the tricky task of making science class fun, interactive, and educational for her students without access to resources for experiments or training opportunities to learn how to deliver quality lessons.
In the face of these obstacles, Ms. Sayamol’s first three years in the classroom were difficult. She did her best to deliver engaging lessons but there simply wasn’t enough equipment for her students.
“I tried dividing students into groups to do experiments, but the groups were too big, so some of my students weren’t able to participate,” Ms. Sayamol said. When the majority of the class has nothing to do, the idea of hands-on learning goes out the window.
Teaching chemistry without experimentation is like coaching soccer without a ball or goals – your players aren’t going to be interested in practice and are unlikely to develop the skills they’ll need to succeed on game day. This is exactly what happens in most Thai classrooms – teachers don’t receive the support needed to develop great students and are forced to rely on old-fashioned blackboard teaching and rote learning techniques (such as ‘drill and kill’).
In 2019, Kenan partnered with the IVL Foundation to bridge the gap in training and resource provision for teachers in Rayong province. Ms. Sayamol joined the inaugural program cohort. The 30 teachers in the program received comprehensive professional development from Kenan’s team of education experts and master trainers as well as high-quality science equipment to deliver hands-on laboratory lessons for up to 150 students over three years.
“[The program] changed my science class!” said Ms. Sayamol only a few months after the first training. “I can now separate my students into small groups because we have enough equipment for all my students to participate in experiments.”
In addition, Ms. Sayamol picked up a host of new techniques that have made inquiry-based lessons part of her teaching toolkit and allowed her to maximize the use of the equipment. These changes have not been lost on her students.
“After I used the techniques from the program, my students started to love studying science,” Ms. Sayamol said. “They have become brave and now openly share their ideas with the class. When I ask a question, they answer with confidence. I think this is a great development.”
Ms. Sayamol has put the ‘chalk-and-talk’ teaching techniques to rest. When students step into her classroom, they now enter an incubator for experimentation and discovery. Ms. Sayamol has finally found the formula for inspiring young learners about the wonders of science.
To learn more about how your company can support teachers in Thailand, contact us for more information about our teacher professional development program.