We Walk Together

The Regents International School Pattaya hosted the Round Square International Conference in October 2010.  The student chosen theme was inspired by Father Joe Maier and based on community partnerships and service learning – We Walk Together.

77 schools and 850 delegates from every habitable continent attended the two week conference.  What was your highlight of the conference?  

We Walk Together logo 2010

We Walk Together logo 2010

The 2010 Round Square International Conference Statement:

We must establish a long-term relationship with our environment and community. We must build upon the foundations of what we already have and give everyone an equal opportunity to  pursue their goals.

To do this, we will:

Walk without pity, doubt and apathy,

Walk with empathy, conviction and humility,

Take small, careful and sustainable steps along the way.

Because if we don’t walk today, we will have to run tomorrow.

RS 2010 Student Steering Committee

RS 2010 Student Steering Committee

Father Joe Maier – We Walk Together (RS 2010)

Student Steering Committee with Khun Nui at the Father Ray Foundation

Student Steering Committee with Khun Nui at the Father Ray Foundation

We Walk Together RS 2010 (Mayo 2009 version)

We Walk Together Glove Dance, choreographed by Yeoi Shin Jung and performed by the Student Steering Committee

We Walk Together, music by Amit Garg and sung by RS 2010 Student Steering Committee

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Facts that should change the world

Can you match the start of the fact with the correct ending (the correct answers are below)?

The average Japanese woman can expect to live to be 84… Teen pregnancy rates in the developed world.

A third of the world’s obese people… That’s more than what 75% of Africans have to live on.

The US and Britain have the highest… Than the Christian cross.

Every cow in the European Union is subsidised by $2.50 a day… Live in the developing world.

One in five… Is at war.

Landmines kill or maim… Prisoners of conscience in the world.

More people can identify the golden arches of MacDonald’s… Die out every year.

A third of the world’s population… Have never heard a dial tone.

Ten languages… In nine countries, the penalty is death.

There are at least 300,000… At least one person every hour.

The average urban Briton is caught on camera up to… Of the world’s people lives on less than $1 a day.

More than 50% of the world’s population… The average Botswanan will reach just 39.

In more than 70 countries same-sex relationships are illegal… 300 times a day.

*50 Facts that should change the world, Jessica Williams

 

The correct answers:

 

The average Japanese woman can expect to live to be 84…
The average Botswanan will reach just 39.

A third of the world’s obese people…
Live in the developing world.

The US and Britain have the highest…
Teen pregnancy rates in the developed world.

Every cow in the European Union is subsidised by $2.50 a day…
That’s more than what 75% of Africans have to live on.

One in five…
Of the world’s people lives on less than $1 a day.

Landmines kill or maim…
At least one person every hour.

More people can identify the golden arches of MacDonald’s…
Than the Christian cross.

A third of the world’s population…
Is at war.

Ten languages…
Die out every year.

There are at least 300,000…
Prisoners of conscience in the world.

The average urban Briton is caught on camera up to…
300 times a day.

More than 50% of the world’s population…
Have never heard a dial tone.

In more than 70 countries same-sex relationships are illegal…
In nine countries, the penalty is death.

 

 

 

Heineken or Leo? Bursting the (expat) bubble.

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Koh Lipe in the deep south of Thailand, just off the Malaysian border

It has taken me 15 years to discover beer Leo, one of the three top selling beers in Thailand. I tried beer Singha and Chang on numerous occasions but always reverted back to the comfort zone of Heineken. I have always ranked Leo as number 3 if having to choose from the local Thai brews with no particular reason why other than it was the beer that the gappies drank! These are our gap students or as we prefer to call them the gap staff – on a learning and work placement between school and university (I will blog in more detail about the power of a gap staff programme in the near future).

Dan and Smiley - gappies who make a difference

Dan and Smiley – gappies who make a difference

My wife has always challenged me that I am reluctant or not good with change.
I resisted sushi for many years for example but now place it as one of my top five foods.

It is ironic that that after 15 years of living and working in Thailand that only on our final Thai adventures and through lack of choice in the deep south of Thailand that I discover Beer Leo to be both refreshing and non-hangover inducing as incorrectly perceived. Imagine how much money I could have saved – but that is not the point.

Who is teaching who?  Sabrina at the Fountain of Life Children's Centre in Pattaya

Who is teaching who? Sabrina at the Fountain of Life Children’s Centre in Pattaya

This is not a blog about beer the best beer though, both Heineken and Leo are a pleasure to drink when the time is right, this is about trying new things and having a go. It is vitally important in an international school setting to engage with the local community and to collaborate with the amazing local (Thai) teachers and support staff.  Bringing them into the curriculum at all opportunities and making external learning connections to create a culturally stimulating and relevant curriculum and bursting the stereotypical westernised bubble that many international schools I have visited find themselves in.  In my experience parents really appreciate this approach as well and can see the value in having the school that their children learn in as a gateway into a community and culture that, to be honest, most people are not sure how to approach and therefore revert to their comfort zones and what they know and are used to.  Community partnerships and service learning equip students with so many skills and values and also the confidence to use them appropriately, not just for academic success but more importantly for life success – helping our young (and older) people to become genuine citizens of the world.

Break away from the norm and don’t follow the crowd – be prepared to leave your comfort zone and try the local beer! #gooycz

Community Partnerships – Service Learning in Pattaya, Thailand

http://www.nordangliaeducation.com/our-schools/pattaya/article/2014/4/2/living-in-pattaya-how-to-connect-with-the-local-community

One of our aims at Regents International School Pattaya is to engage with our local community as much as possible and to learn through them and with them. Thailand is our host country and it is only right that we celebrate the unique culture and customs of the people who live and work with us. Below, Paul Crouch, Assistant Principal at Regents, mentions just some of the ways our students and staff connect with the community.

One of Kurt Hahn’s (the founder of Round Square, an education organisation of which the school is a leading member) Laws of Salem is:
‘Free the sons of the wealthy and powerful from enervating sense of privilege.’

With this in mind we believe it is vital as a Round Square school on the outskirts of Pattaya to burst the ‘bubble’ that many international schools can find themselves trapped in and seek not only cultural but also social diversity.  Our Community Partner Programme has been implemented across the school for over 10 years now and we are fortunate to have over 50 different partnerships with local schools, NGO’s and individuals that do amazing things in our area.

The following are some of my favourite ways that our children and staff connect with the Pattaya community on a regular basis and I would recommend you to do the same if you find yourself living, working or visiting the area:

The Father Ray Foundation

Located on Sukhumvit Road, the Father Ray Foundation is welcoming and friendly. There is plenty to see and do at the Foundation, including visiting the Day Care Centre, the Vocational School for the Disabled, the Redemptorist Centre (you can stay the night!), the North Star Library, the café and possibly the most elaborately decorated church in Pattaya – see if you can spot the plates!  If you have any electrical items that need fixing, like a TV or a fan, then the amazing students at the Vocational School have a workshop where you can take your appliances to be fixed by feet only!  The Father Ray Foundation is also a great place to spend the festival of Loy Krathong, joining the community around their small lake to float your krathongs with the residents.

The Fountain of Life Children’s Home

One of the longest established foundations for educating street children in Pattaya, the Fountain of Life is run by the Good Shepherd Sisters and financially supported by the charity Jester’s Care for Kids. Located just off Third Road and near to North Road, the centre is open every day of the week and welcomes visitors to come and learn and play with the children. They especially love to sing songs and engage in art and craft activities. Kru Wannee is the Head teacher and can tell you all you need to know about the centre and the children. Make sure you also find Sister Joan and have a good old Irish chat with her.

Our Home

Founded by Khun Tiew, an icon of community spirit and support work in the Pattaya and Rayong area, Our Home is a project that looks after women and gives them the skills to make a living for themselves through embroidery and cooking. The Home is located on the Green Valley road to Ban Chang and you can call in any time to order some amazing needlework, tasty baking or fresh fruit and vegetables. Look out for the Our Home ladies selling their cakes and pies outside Regents’ main gates every day after school.

Karanyawet Disabled Ladies Home

If you have a free hour any morning during the week grab your nail polish kit, spare hair ties and bands, your favourite CD of pop songs and head down to the Ladies Home just off Sukhumvit Road in Banglamung.  The ladies just love getting their nails painted and their hair made up and if you have time they would love to sing karaoke and have a dance with you.  I doubt you will see bigger smiles anywhere else in Pattaya!

Bang Phra Wildlife Conservation Centre

A good 45 minutes’ drive north of Pattaya towards Bangkok and opposite Khao Kheow Zoo you will find the Bang Phra Wildlife Conservation Centre.  Supported by one of the school’s long standing community partners, Love Wildlife Thailand, the centre takes in animals that have been illegally traded or mistreated across the country.  When I was last at the centre with students, five suitcases arrived from the airport that had over 400 turtles in them and had been abandoned on the luggage carousel.  Regents has also sponsored and helped construct an education facility at the centre and groups are always welcome to visit and volunteer there.

The Mechai Patana School

Founded by the inspiring Khun Mechai himself, the Mechai Patana School in Jomtien is part of the Bamboo School located in Buriram Province. This is no normal Thai school as it embraces experiential learning, entrepreneurship and sustainable development in everything that it does. Learn how to make over 350,000 Thai Baht on one rai of land by planting fruit and vegetables. The students also form the largest ukulele band in Thailand and are always happy to play a few songs for their visitors. The school is right next to the Cabbages and Condoms restaurant and both must be visited when in Pattaya.

The Good Child Foundation

Search for the Thai Tims on Youtube and you will be spoilt for choice for famous Celtic songs sung by the most enthusiastic Thai children. ‘You Just Can’t Get Enough’ is a favourite of ours at Regents and if you get the chance to visit the Good Child Foundation in Chantaburi you must ask the Thai Tims to sing this one for you. The Foundation is the only Thai school in Thailand to take in down-syndrome children and give them a normal education.  Paul and Khun Pun, the creators of the Thai Tims, have dedicated their lives to supporting these amazing young children and teaching English to all the other kids at the school.  This is the place to visit if you are a Celtic supporter – you will be blown away!

Tamar Centre

The Tamar Centre is on Third Road just before it meets Pattaya South Road.  It has a café on the ground floor and sells the best cinnamon swirls you will find in Thailand. The centre supports women who want to learn new skills and helps them find reputable work and employment. You can also buy some amazing craft products from the Tamar Centre including original handmade jewellery for those special occasions.

Kate’s Project Trust

Kate’s Project is a small but big-hearted community partner that makes a real difference to the poorest of people living in the slum areas of Pattaya that we often forget about as we go about our daily routines. Joining Khun Noi on one of her daily trips to visit the people that have literally nothing is an eye-opener for anyone. If you have any second-hand clothes, toys, blankets, toiletries, packaged food or free time – then spend the morning with Kate’s Project and learn what life is really about when living in the slums.

The Hand to Hand Foundation

This small but impactful foundation is located behind Big C in South Pattaya and is passionately coordinated by Margie and Khun Pai. TheHand to Hand is a day care centre for young Thai children and they have loads of fun learning and playing together every day in the busy and colourful classroom. The staff are always welcoming and the children love visitors, especially if you turn up with balloons, bubbles or snacks!

The Pattaya Orphanage and Soptana School for the Deaf

Located on Sukhumvit Road and passionately led by Khun Toy, who welcomes visitors at all times to the centre, the Orphanage is a must visit to play with the little babies in the playroom or to kick a football around outside with the bigger kids. Regents does a half-termly clothes, toys and food collection and drop through our boarding community and our students always look forward to a game of football when they visit. You must also pop into the Deaf School at the same location and learn how to sign language from the children who live and study there.  If you want to meet amazing teachers who are dedicated to their work and inspire young people on a daily basis then the staff at the Deaf School are about the best that I have had the privilege to meet and work with – go see for yourself!

A Thai role model and mentor

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Khun Apichat is the Headteacher of Baan Huay Sapad School in Chiang Mai province in northern Thailand.  I have had the fortune to know and work with Khun Apichat for the last six years on student centred service learning projects.  His collaboration is one of the most influential and effective partnerships that I have been able to forge since working in Thailand for the last 15 years.  The amazing thing is my Thai is virtually non-apparent and his level of English is improving all the time but not at a level you would expect to be able to coordinate such projects effectively but I have total confidence and respect for his ability to make things happen and the manner in which he achieves this.  I have met many school leaders over the years and Khun Apichat has to be one of the very best – I do not need him to be fluent in the English language or to be educated and trained as a teacher in the UK – to know this.  To me he role models the best of what a lead learner should be – he is confident but reserved, extremely hard-working but calm, always present but never the centre of attention.  What I admire the most about him is that he understands the importance of community and bringing them into his school to be part of the learning and the teaching.  Everyone respects him and he is always prepared to roll up his sleeves, pick up a hoe or a shovel and do the same work as everyone else.  Since October 2010 he can be heard saying “We Walk Together” which has become a kind of mantra for him and how he believes in education and collaboration, very rare within the Thai system.  Khun Apichat is someone I will always ‘walk’ with and I look forward to taking my family to visit him and his school community later in the year, watch this space…