Tag Archives: Principal

Midterm Break Message

Let Them Do Nothing!

by Kru Michel, Primary School Principal

With a school break approaching, kids are often looking forward to lots of computer or TV time while parents start scheduling activities and fill up the schedule so no one gets bored. Nothing wrong with joining a club or playing video games but there is one important activity that is usually overlooked: doing nothing!

You might have heard that “The Devil finds work for idle hands”. That could be why we think we should keep our kids busy at all times. However, research shows that creativity and inner peace are more likely to arise during free exploration play. Daydreaming is apparently also linked to better emotional control and the ability to deal with frustration. Read more

Unfortunately, in wanting to make sure our children are not bored, we overschedule their time or give in to their request to have more computer or TV time.

“Middle-class children in America are so overscheduled that they have almost no ‘nothing time.’ They have no time to call on their own resources and be creative. Creativity is making something out of nothing, and it takes time for that to happen,” says Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., a developmental and clinical psychologist and professor at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. Read more

Signs that a child is too busy:

    1. Sleep is disturbed.
    1. Your child has emotional outbursts or displays frustration and anxiety.
    1. He misses spending time with parents, family and friends.
    1. She cheers when a lesson or practice is cancelled.
    1. Performance at school declines. Click to Read more

So, when school is out, provide your child with ample time to be “bored”, time where no computer, tv or organised activities are available, time where they will have to figure out what to do and therefore start enjoying simple activities they would not get to enjoy otherwise.

Also, I wish you have a great vacation with a lot of new experiences.

Looking forward to seeing you again on 17th April!


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

Open House Day Update:

You Are Cordially Invited To Our

Kindergarten School’s Open House Day!

Come by to meet our team! Take a tour around the first Nursery/ Kindergarten School, the Parents’ Sala and the Big Assembly Hall.

Talk to our Principal, Kru Maggie, and the teachers about the type of education you can expect for your child.

  • Day: 28 November 2010
  • Time: From 9am to 1.30pm (lunch buffet at 12pm)
  • Location: Panyaden School (see map below)

Panyaden Teachers’ Training

Panyaden School started recruiting and training teachers at its Bangkok office in April 2010.

Criteria for the selection of teachers:

  1. Their attitude towards teaching and towards their own goals
  2. They must love being a teacher and have their ideas how to be a good educator
  3. They need to know themselves and what they are good at so that they can skillfully pass on that knowledge to their students
  4. Their general capacity to reflect on themselves and the world

Recruitment and Training:

Principal of Panyaden Buddhist School
Kru Maggie

Kru Maggie (Trainer) shortlisted possible candidates after she has pored through the resumes/applications received by the Bangkok office. She interviewed each of them before she made a ‘final’ selection of candidates who qualify for a 3-day trial period with her.

Upon passing the trial, the candidates undergo a 3-month training program.

During this time, the potential teachers learn how to meditate and how to use non-verbal communication tools such as music and pictures as new effective means of teaching.

They also learn to understand and deal positively with each student’s unique character in order to bring out the best from him or her.

Next, the potentials are placed in different schools in Bangkok that are similar in their educational approach to Panyaden’s, to gain practical teaching experience.

There are currently 30 candidates undergoing the practical teacher training. They will be further evaluated to see if they will eventually qualify to teach at Panyaden School in March next year (the school’s summer course starts 28 Mar to 6 May; First Term from 16 May – 30 Sept 2011).

The school is still looking for more candidates, both Thai and foreign (native English speaking). If you are interested in being part of Panyaden School, please click https://www.panyaden.ac.th/contact-us

Kru Maggie and Trainee Teachers posing in front of bamboo sala