Tag Archives: classroom

Panyaden Meditation Retreat

IMG_0963 Panyaden International School meditation retreat, July 2016
Panyaden teachers, staff from Mae Sai Hospital and other invited guests spent 4 days under the wise and kind guidance of Venerable Ajahn Jiew at Wat Pa Yen Boon in Chiang Rai. The retreat participants followed a daily routine that included morning and evening chanting, accompanying Ajahn Jiew on his daily alms round, daily chores, walking and sitting meditation, yoga and Dhamma talk and Q&A. Teachers have been reflecting on the wide benefits they got from the retreat and how they can apply these in the classroom. We are very grateful to Venerable Jiew for such a profound and enriching experience.

IMG_0619 Walking meditation and morning alms in Chiang Rai, Panyaden International School meditation retreat IMG_0864 Walking meditation and morning alms with Ajahn Jiew in Chiang Rai, Panyaden International School meditation retreat IMG_0907 Panyaden International School meditation retreat in Chiang Rai, July 2016 IMG_3661 IMG_3663 IMG_3665

More photos here.

Anuban Budding Day 2015

Anuban Budding Day 2015

Preschool Celebration of Learning

Students, parents and teachers celebrated our annual end of term ‘Budding Day’ yesterday. Budding Day is an opportunity for parents to see what happens in the classroom as teachers lead mums and dads through the daily routine and their children show them what they have been learning in Term 1. A great day!

DSCF2379 DSCF2454 DSCF2447 DSCF9071 Preschoolers performing for parents on Anuban Budding Day, Panayden School

Lots more photos on our blog and Facebook.


Doing the very best that you can in the present moment

Neil Amas, Director of Panyaden School, bilingual school in Chiang Maiby Neil Amas
Panyaden School Director


There is a common misunderstanding that in Buddhism, all desire is ‘bad’ and leads to suffering. In fact the Buddha recognised that there are 2 different kinds of desire. One is desire borne of ignorance, an unwholesome or negative desire (tanha) which gives rise to suffering. The second is wholesome desire, or chanta, which originates from a clear understanding of the way things are. It means doing the very best that you can in the present moment. It’s a basic Buddhist idea of wise effort.

Panyaden School's Buddhist Spiritual Advisor, Ajahn JayasaroAs explained by Ajahn Jayasaro during a talk at Panyaden last year, this is an important principle in the education of children or in the raising of children by parents. We should not be overly obsessed with results, but, rather, look for quality of action in the present moment. There will be disappointments and things will not always work out how you want them to be, and there will be outside influences that you cannot control, so the best you can do is put effort into things that you can. This is right motivation. Ajahn Jayasaro explained, “An over-emphasis on results in the future tends to have a number of negative consequences in the present, such as anxiety, restlessness, boredom, dissatisfaction, or very easily can lead to dishonesty because if you feel that something you do in the present is merely a means to get what you want in the future, the temptation to take short cuts becomes very strong.”

As parents and teachers we all want our children to be healthy and happy. But if this desire is not wise it may lead to us becoming overly protective causing our children to become too dependent on us, or we may become over-controlling and create alienation and rebellion in our children.

Chanta, then, is positive desire and arises from compassion and unconditional love. In the classroom, as well as at home, this means encouraging our children to be enthusiastic in developing their own learning and knowledge, to try hard to succeed no matter the consequences and to maintain and create good behaviour. For example, a sister who helps her younger brother get dressed for school purely out of love and a desire to help him has chanda. A group of students who are enthusiastic about learning a new subject at school solely from their love of learning and desire to work hard at it regardless of the results, are displaying chanda.

We all know how precious a parent’s praise is to a child. If we concentrate on praising effort, we will help them develop chanta, a wise habit for life.

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 https://www.panyaden.ac.th/team/michel-thibeault/

Source of Josef Albers’ quote: https://hubpages.com/hub/50_Inspirational_Quotes_for_Teachers