Mr. Sathit Wannaphop, a science teacher from Takuapa Senanukun School in Phang-nga, is among the most passionate mentors and dedicated participants in Chevron Enjoy Science Project being implemented by Kenan Foundation Asia. He is steadfast in his belief that it is a teacher’s responsibility not only to teach the content set out in the curriculum, but also to spark curiosity and instill 21st century skills in students.
Committed to continuously improving his skills in order to fulfill his responsibilities as a teacher, it is little surprise that Mr. Sathit jumped at the opportunity to join Enjoy Science’s new Professional Learning Community (PLC) initiative. After participating in a recent PLC workshop, he reflected on his experience from the training: “Although I have been continually participating in the project’s training and am one of the project’s mentors, I still face problems in the classroom. One issue that I especially wanted a solution to address is what to do when my science students struggle to summarize the findings from their experiments in class.”
At the PLC training, Mr. Sathit opened up his classroom and invited mentors and specialists from the project to observe his class and his teaching methods, so that he could receive feedback about how to help his students better understand lessons and then articulate their findings in their reports. “A classroom observation under the PLC approach involves a clear assignment of responsibilities. There will be a teacher, a note taker, observers, and specialists, each of whom performs different tasks. The notes are filled onto a form so that once the class observation is finished, the results are presented to the teacher through a knowledge exchange method. This method focuses on improving lesson planning to achieve greater results with students.”
In conclusion, he said that the PLC process can be successful “if the teacher is open to criticism about his or her teaching practices and respects transparent feedback. Constructive feedback brings about impactful results and helps teachers resolve various issues through the suggestions of colleagues and specialists. Of course, the issues might not be solved instantaneously because it takes time to adapt one’s lesson planning and delivery; however, this period is required so the teacher and the students can develop an appropriate understanding of the new lessons.”
To date, 2,760 teachers from 569 schools nationwide have participated in the project’s PLC trainings. This year, the Chevron Enjoy Science Project will support to 1,200 teachers through PLC training in order to develop the capacity of education personnel and reinforce the importance of knowledge exchange within the Thai education sector.