Thailand has an extensive range of international schools, teaching different curriculum, targeting different students as well as having significant disparities in how much they charge. Naturally, all of these factors will influence the standard of teaching. It will also affect the quality of teachers that the schools can attract. In this article, we will explore the different factors which play a role in the standard of teaching.
Nationality of the Teachers
Sadly, the nationality of the majority of the teachers in a particular school can play a significant part in the quality of the teaching. Many of the less expensive schools which describe themselves as being “international” are only that in the loosest possible terms. The majority of the teachers are actually Thai, and while they may have an excellent grasp of English, it is not the same as with a native speaker. For some subjects, such as lessons in English Language and English Literature, this more of problem. The same is also the case for other curricula which are often taught by a non-native speaker.
Overall, schools whose teaching staff are made up mainly of native speakers, especially in the relevant subjects, tend to offer a far higher standard of education.
Qualifications and Experience of Teachers
The top international schools in Bangkok employ not only native speakers but teachers who have gained the relevant teaching qualifications in that country. More often than not, the teachers will have gained several years of experience teaching in their own country. In most cases, although it is accepted that not in all, the higher qualified the teachers, the better the standard of teaching.
Many teachers who teach in government schools are TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualified and should be commended for achieving this qualification. However, it is no substitute for professional qualifications such as the PGCE. In some international schools, they choose to employ TEFL qualified teachers, mainly because of the cost factor.
Location of Schools
There is little doubt that the location of the school will influence the quality of the teachers that they can attract. Some areas, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket are inevitably more attractive than those in more outlying provinces. While this is something of a generalisation, it is accepted that the better teachers opt for, the more popular locations.
The international schools where there are larger expat communities tend to offer better quality schooling. The schools which are in the mid to higher price range brackets provide teaching that is comparable to other industrialised countries.
Price of Schooling
As we have touched upon, the cost of the school will also play a role in the quality of education that your child receives. While this causes an unfortunate disparity, it is sadly true. International schools which charge higher fees have a larger pot which they can use to entice better quality teachers. Smaller schools tend not to be able to compete when it comes to salary. Some teachers are certainly not motivated by money, but for many, it is a significant factor.
Overall, the more expensive the school, the better the quality of education both in terms of classroom and pastoral teaching. Indeed, in many cases, the out of school activities are of a far higher standard than those offered in many western schools.
Of course, we must appreciate the role that students have on the quality of teaching that they receive. Schools that have large numbers of students, those that are eager to learn, regardless of their ability, will be far more attractive to the better teachers. Most educators find teaching rewarding but can quickly become de-motivated if students aren’t cooperative.
Demographics can play a role in this, along with the child’s previous education. It is generally accepted that within the Thai education system, failure is not a grade and all children “pass” exams. In some cases, this can lead to complacency and unwillingness to learn, something that many teachers find frustrating. International schools that are influenced by this culture tend to offer lower standards of teaching, and unfortunately, it can lead to a vicious circle with the school’s overall standards falling.
International schools that attract more academically minded pupils, certainly attract more enthusiastic teachers which leads to a better standard of education.
One thing that impacts on the quality of teaching, which is available in schools around the world is the amount of parental support that is received. Better qualified teachers will want to work in schools where they receive more parental support. Parents who support children and indeed, the teachers with their child’s work will reap greater rewards. It includes being involved not only with assisting with homework but also with out of school activities. If parents offer more assistance, it allows teachers to focus on what they are best at – teaching.
It is widely accepted that parental participation plays a significant role in the standard of teaching, which is available in all schools. Most international schools receive excellent levels of support from parents.
Many international schools in Thailand have excellent facilities which play a role in creating a fantastic learning environment. In the leading schools, they will access to the latest IT equipment, laboratory equipment as well as sporting facilities which all aid learning. With facilities such as this, it promotes the standard of teaching, which is on offer. Once again, the facilities in the top international schools are comparable to those available in leading industrialised countries.
Although the standard of teaching in international schools in Thailand varies significantly; on the whole, it is far better than in the majority of other ASEAN countries. Certainly, in the major cities such as Bangkok, the schools have the ability to attract the best teachers, which is obviously reflected in the quality of the teaching. With excellent facilities, parental support and students who are willing to learn, you can be confident that your child will receive a first-class education.