In view of recent tragic events in South East Asia it is with mixed feelings that our Storyline visit to Thailand is recorded.
Following the very successful Storyline course tour to Scotland organised by Noppadon Hor Thong of the Institute of Education Resource Materials, Bangkok, in October 2003, Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell were invited by Mr Noppadon to present four courses in Thailand from 4th to 12th December, 2004.
The first course was held in Chiang Mai in the northern highlands of Thailand. This course was organised by the Committee of the Private Sector and was on offer to teachers working in the many private schools in this area. Excellent accommodation for the course was provided in Dara Academy, a co-educational Christian school which has some 6,000 pupils. One hundred teachers attended and great support was provided by Dr Ratsamee Dangsuwon, Director of Dara Academy, and her staff. Several teachers from the school had been on the Glasgow visit. The topic for this course was ‘Families in the Community’ which was well received by the many participants. The Scottish tutors were extremely grateful for the warm welcome and rich hospitality provided by their hosts.
The second course was held at the Phuket Rajabhat University Campus on the 8th & 9th December. Here the organisers were three of the university staff who also had visited Glasgow in 2003. This very successful course, which featured the topic ‘New Neighbours’, was attended by 80 teachers and 40 student participants. It was based on the island which, three weeks later was devastated by the tsunami. Our hearts go out to the organisers and participants who have suffered loss, injury or death in this terrible tragedy. Phuket is the most beautiful of islands and the tutors were once again extremely fortunate to have been introduced to its amazing environment by very generous hosts.
On the return to Bangkok two more courses were presented.
The first was held at the Rajabhat University Chandarakasem Campus and was organised by Ms Patchara Poomacharti (pictured below in gold suit). The delegates were students at the university and staff from the Demonstration School of which Patchara is the Assistant Principal. As this course was aimed at early education the topic of ‘Families in the Community’ was selected once again.
Patchara was also responsible for directing the final course which was based at the Ambassador Hotel in Bangkok and was open to a wide variety of participants including professors and lecturers from the medical faculty of the university. Also attending were a group of lecturers in teacher training from Laos.. A very special introduction in support of Storyline was given by Prof. Dr Somwung Pitiyanuwat, Director of the Office for National Educational Standards and Quality Assessment. The topic used was ‘Capital Tours’ which had been specially adapted for use in South East Asia.
Sincere thanks must be accorded to the interpreters at each of these courses – Mr Phiphat of Montfort Academy in Chiang Mai, Ms Ratana Narupatr in Phuket and Dr Walai Panich in Bangkok. Thanks also are due to the many technical and student helpers who gave support at the different centres.
Sallie and Steve are particularly grateful to Mr Noppadon Hor Thong who managed their entire visit with great kindness and efficiency.