The Caterpillar Foundation understands the importance of providing individuals and communities with the skills, resources and services they need to thrive in a changing world.
Through the foundation’s partnership with Kenan Foundation Asia, the Thai Ministry of Education has successfully implemented several activities under its STEM teacher training program in Thailand, including Teacher Professional Development Modules (Teacher PD), Training Seminars for School Leadership, Teacher Professional Development Community (Teacher PD). PLC). )) and areas of innovation. In line with Thailand’s initiative to transform its economy into high value-added manufacturing and modern innovation, Kenan Foundation Asia trains teachers and school leaders to prepare the future Thai workforce with the knowledge, skills and mindset needed to keep pace with new technologies.
In 2016, the Thai government unveiled its latest economic master plan, “Thailand 4.0”, which aims to free Thailand from the “middle income trap” and transform it into a high-income country in five years. Based on this model, which emphasizes value-added products and services based on high-tech industries and innovation, Thailand’s economic prospects will depend on the development of a world-class workforce with strong STEMs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that will bridge the gap. . between education and skills.
However, some experts pointed out that Thailand is not yet ready to move to Thailand 4.0 due to a lack of skilled labor. Thai students scored below international grade standards, especially in science and math.
The Caterpillar Foundation and Kenan joined forces in 2020 to help Thailand build a talent pool that meets the needs of Thailand 4.0. The program invests in the development of 21st century skills, including STEM skills and the “4Cs” i.e. collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication, and applies inquiry-based science and active math learning methodology as key elements to enhance the ability of teachers . improve classroom learning, enhance student learning outcomes, and ultimately better prepare students for career opportunities.
TEACHERS ARE CATALYSTS OF INSPIRATION
Teachers who act as catalysts to inspire students are the most important factor in improving learning outcomes. The program offers support to improve STEM teaching and learning in three ways: extended project-based learning, inquiry-based science, and active math. It provides Thai Government-approved modules and materials that combine pedagogy and content based on leading international curricula from leading institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution. In 2021 and 2022, 60 math teachers, 30 science teachers and 30 school leaders will participate in the training, directly benefiting more than 16,500 students.
Through effective teaching practices and knowledge of the content, the project has had a profound positive impact on education and future employment prospects. “I used to think that mathematics is taught only in theory, there are no practical aspects, and the theory of mathematics is boring for students. But after teacher training (active math), students loved math and could learn more and better,” said Mr. A. Bhiranath Wiriananta, teacher at Chumcheon Ban Wangchan School in Rayong Province, “Especially when students can experiment with active math in For a long time, like at the beginning of this year, students really like it, and mathematics becomes something concrete for them.
“The program offers students ample opportunities for learning and discussion so they can form their own understanding,” said School Principal Rayong Chaowalit Jindarthan Ban Sam Yak Nam Pen. “No matter how small or great the new knowledge, if students discover it for themselves, they will retain this knowledge into adulthood. This type of learning is of great importance for children.”