Monthly Archives: April 2011

Parents Orientation Day

An Invitation:

New Parents Orientation Day and Dhamma Talk

You are cordially invited to our Parents Orientation Day on Saturday, 7 May 2011. Time: 9.30am – 12.00 noon. Our spiritual advisor, the Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro, will give a talk and answer questions about Buddhist teachings and education.
The Orientation Day will give new and prospective parents an opportunity to find out about our code of conduct, policies and regulations, school uniform, curriculum and to meet our staff (please see agenda below).


9.15 am Registration
9.30 am Presentations: school handbook, curriculum
10.15 am Parent Q&A
10.30 am Refreshments, uniforms, meet the teachers
11.15 am Dhamma Talk
12.00 noon End

Interview with Head Teacher

One School, One Vision, One Team

The Importance of Building Self-Esteem

Michel Thibeault is the Head Teacher at Panyaden School. His belief is that a child’s potential is conditional upon their level of self-confidence. If they have this, Michel asserts, they will go on to become successful lifelong learners, proactive world citizens and responsible caretakers of the environment. “The Buddha taught us to look inside and know ourselves.  This is a very powerful way to build composure and respectful assertiveness.”

“As a teacher, it is very important for me to try and build children’s self-esteem within and outside the classroom, so that they feel valued as individuals. We can only learn as much as we believe we can learn; we can only do as much as we believe we can do. With low self-esteem, we can’t get very far.”

Michel has more than twenty-three years of experience as an educator and senior manager. He is fluent in three languages and has worked with young people in different capacities as a teacher and school principal.

In Canada, after six years as principal of a primary and secondary school, he founded and led an outdoor education centre that focused on building students’ self-esteem through outdoor challenges and teamwork.

Buddha said: “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own experience and your own common sense.”  Similarly, Michel believes that “learning does not actually take place through listening but mainly through experience, and through verbalizing that experience to support and enrich it. I am very excited to be a part of Panyaden School because this is what we are going to do. We will give the children a chance to experience what we are talking about through hands on projects and the enquiry approach.”

“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”

Josef Albers (artist and educator)

The above quote was paraphrased on a T-shirt Michel’s daughter once gave him. It reminds him of his own belief in motivating children to explore and to ask questions. In order to bring out a child’s natural curiosity, teachers should not just go through the curriculum but focus on the learning process that takes place.

“It is important to assess each student’s level of learning, interest and preferred ways of learning. With all this information, teachers can prepare activities that will suit the individual child. Then, we have to create situations where children will actually be engaged, be willing to learn what we have to offer. We have to make it appetizing and interesting.”

Changing the Context

What about ‘difficult’ students who do not seem to want to learn? “It is important that all the children know we are on their side; that they are respected and loved as individuals.

“Context is what’s difficult sometimes and also the false belief that ‘other people can make us do things’. In a Buddhist approach we focus on recognizing that we are solely responsible for all our actions. Nobody controls us. We can guide the students to experience this truth by creating an environment that will suit them. Not all students are equal in terms of readiness, aptitudes and desire to learn. Our job is to create and present a variety of activities in ways that will reach all in one way or another. Let’s make the children aware of their strengths and weaknesses as well as their different learning styles and work it out with them.”

This could mean spending a lot of time with each child. “Knowing and understanding each child individually is important; a low teacher-students class ratio is also beneficial. Panyaden plans to have a class ratio of 1:10.

“Language acquisition will be facilitated by the presence of a Thai speaker and an English-speaking teacher with most groups of students. They will plan and teach the lessons together, exposing the students to both languages.”

One School, One Vision, One Team

Michel mentions that the teachers themselves will also be working on their language skills (Thai teachers will learn English and vice versa). Teachers are role models and students will have a chance to see lifelong learners in action.

The different cultural backgrounds of the staff and teachers will also show the students that diversity can work together, that we are all a team or as he puts it. “One School, One Vision, One Team”. This team includes everyone from the support and administration staff, the cleaners and janitors to the teachers, founders and directors.

“We will all need to learn the spoken and unspoken ways of different cultures, and to find the means to bridge them. We know we will encounter challenges. The question is how will we face them? With the ultimate goal in mind: the welfare of the students. Both staff and students chose to come and live the vision that is Panyaden. We need to embody that vision which calls for working together as a team, mutual respect and doing our best at all times.”


*Michel’s extensive teaching and management experience is on

Source of Josef Albers’ quote:

Our School Curriculum: IPC

Learning at Panyaden:

The International Primary Curriculum

by Michel Thibeault, Head Teacher

Panyaden School will be basing its curriculum on the highly regarded International Primary Curriculum (IPC). Acclaimed by teachers across the world, IPC was originally established in the UK and is now taught in more than 1,000 primary schools in 66 countries, including Bangkok Patana School. As the IPC’s academic standard is amongst the highest internationally, the programme answers the worry of many parents as to whether their children will be able to switch seamlessly to any other school around the country or even the world should the need arise.

Similar in approach to the International Baccalaureate, IPC focuses on learning that is student-centred, can be tailored to the needs of individual students and that encourages enquiring minds and independent thinking. IPC has been developed based on the latest research on the brain, on emotions in learning and memory and learning styles. It integrates subjects and topics so that, for example, a week-long project on ‘ weather’ might  incorporate learning in maths, science, language, geography, art or any other subject. For these reasons we have chosen to base our curriculum on the IPC.

Michel Thibeault Conducting IPC Training At Panyaden School
Taan Ajahn Jayasaro, Panyaden School’s Spiritual Advisor

At Panyaden, the teachers’ role is to facilitate learning in their classroom, to enable students to discover things for themselves. We put emphasis on their acquiring of concepts and skills that can be transferred to other subjects and areas of life. The IPC programme was designed on those principles. It nurtures a love of learning and encourages the necessary key skills and personal qualities. Its rigorously planned units of work inspire the learner and provide hands-on activities.  This is aligned with the Panyaden approach to education as described by our spiritual advisor, Ajahn Jayasaro: “the emphasis of Buddhist education is on teaching children how to learn, how to enjoy learning, to love wisdom for its own sake.”

The following chart highlights the main features of IPC, a true 21st century curriculum.

Adapting IPC to Panyaden School

Panyaden’s curriculum, while based on IPC, will also meet the requirements and standards of the national Thai curriculum. Thai culture and history will be taught alongside international themes by merging the key aspects of both curricula. Daily ‘Life Studies’ will reflect our Buddhist approach and environmental mindfulness.

Adapting our own curriculum through picking the best from the IPC and Thai curricula and embedding Panyaden values throughout provides our students with the best possible education. It is an education based on Buddhist principles integrated with a modern, academically competitive curriculum and which provides perspectives that are both international and local.

For prospective parents who would like to know more about IPC and learning at Panyaden, please contact us and we will be happy to arrange a meeting with our Head Teacher, Michel Thibeault.

Panyaden Summer Fair

An Enjoyable Day

Panyaden School held its Summer Fair and Open House Day last Saturday, 2 April. Parents, children, the press, architects, friends and educators turned up throughout the day to join in the festivities. They toured the campus, participated in the talks and enjoyed watching local Lanna artisans at work.

Our teachers entertained children with educational games, craft making, music and singing. Many of the parents happily joined in as well. Organic ice cream, cold coconut and fresh vegetable juices were much sought-after thirst quenchers as the visitors walked around the school to admire the bamboo and earth architecture. Needless to say, the playground with the wooden slide, ropes, bamboo flute and sand box, was especially popular among the young ones.

Talks organized that day included two by our School Director and Founders on how Panyaden will integrate lessons learnt from successful bilingual schools across Europe, North America and Asia and how the school will apply Buddha’s teachings into its curriculum (read Neil Amas’ upcoming post on bilingual learning).

Adults and children sat comfortably on mats placed on the cool earthen floor of the Parents’ Sala as they listened to Taan Ajahn Jew’s Dharma talk, ‘A Buddhist View on Education.’


Yoga and meditation classes were on offer and Panyaden staff were available to answer questions on the curriculum and the type of education they can expect for their children. It was a fruitful and enjoyable day for our school and visitors alike. We wish to thank everyone for making it a success!

Teacher Training At Panyaden

Leading By Example

Teachers and students at english international school in Chiang Mai

Our students’ achievements are dependent not only on their teachers’ skills and knowledge but also on their actions. At Panyaden School, we believe that our teachers should lead by example. This is why we place high priority on regular training and professional development of our teachers. Most of our teachers have been on our in-house training programme for between six and twelve months.

Teacher of Panyaden School, English school in Chiang Mai Panyaden school teachers at meeting, bilingual school in Chiang Mai

Our training programme includes:


Personal and spiritual growth through the practical application of Buddha’s teachings and meditation: courses, discussions and retreats to know and experience the Buddhist way of life and how we apply it to our school.


Learning to teach: helping teachers to facilitate learning by applying proven tools and approaches such as Emergenetics® Profiling (see earlier post) and Constructivism Theory, which put students at the centre of learning.


Curriculum development: setting objectives, integrating topics and subjects and writing effective lesson plans.


The International Primary Curriculum (IPC): understanding the IPC and how to apply it to Panyaden School.


Bilingual learning: methods, best practice and understanding ‘what works’ in bilingual schools.


Team teaching: planning, teaching and assessing as a team.


Working together: understanding and appreciating cultural differences and how to manage these in the staff room and classroom.


Teaching techniques, classroom presentation and materials development:creating lively and conducive learning environments; using engaging materials; employing methods that complement the varying learning profiles of children.


Evaluation techniques:how to continually assess a child at each stage of development, assess strengths and areas for improvement and to arrange learning activities accordingly.


Classroom management: how to manage students who may be shy in class, who may have difficulty focusing, who are disruptive and so on.


Green awareness: understanding environmentally-friendly practices and how to apply these in daily life.


First aid training: all staff receive regular basic first aid training. Our fully certified first aiders regularly update their training to meet national requirements.


Teachers training (Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Mai) First Aid at bilingual Panyaden School, Thailand bilingual school in Chiang Mai, Panyaden teachers with students Panyaden School (bilingual school in Chiang Mai) teacher with school children Panyaden School Director with students at Panyaden Summer School, English school in Chiang Mai Nursery student with Panyaden School teachers, English school in Chiang Mai