The Mr. Nipol Srinaruemol, a former high school science teacher and current mentor for teachers, is a well-known advocate for project-based learning (PBL) in Thai schools. He believes that PBL is the best way to build genuine interest in science and inquisitive thinking among students. For Mr. Nipol, PBL is not merely a buzzword, but something he brought to his classroom every day. The effort paid off as his students flourished and were even recognized in international education circles for their work. For example, Mr. Nipol supervised a group of Thai students that won the best project award at the invention competition of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2006 (Intel ISEF 2006).
“Teachers are just like television hosts,” explained Mr. Nipol. “If you want to get your interviewee to open up, you have to ask the right questions. Before class, I always prepared a list of questions that I thought would enliven my students. This is no different than an interview script.”
Like a good interviewer, Mr. Nipol added that a teacher must be flexible and able to adjust questions and lesson plans based on the response of students.
Furthermore, questions and PBL complement each other because asking a challenging question serves as the launch point for student curiosity. Students are then able to express their curiosity by developing hypotheses and testing them through experiments or projects.
Since retiring as a teacher, Mr. Nipol remains involved in education as an academic consultant and teaching mentor for Enjoy Science. In this role, he continues to learn about the impact of PBL through Enjoy Science workshops conducted by experts from Columbia University’s Teachers College, which has served to solidify his belief in the model. He hopes to spread international best practices in education, such as PBL, to hundreds of teachers from all six regions of Thailand.
“Working with Enjoy Science allows me to share my experience gained over 40 years in the classroom with other teachers. I believe that through training and resources provide under the Enjoy Science Project, we will create a new generation of teachers that are equipped with the ability to unlock student creativity.”