Posted by Martin Harrison
Phetchaburi Panyanukul School is a Government funded school for 378 students with moderate and severe special educational needs. The age range of the students is from 6 to 18 years with a variety of disabilities such as Downs syndrome, and autism. All the students have mental ages above 3 years of age, although they may be 10 or 15 years old. None of the children have profound handicaps such as deafness, blindness or immobility.
The school employs 64 Teachers and 64 teaching assistants. The school curriculum content is typically one that was being taught in the western world and parts of South East Asia, 30 to 40 years ago. Around the world the current educational trend is that special school curriculum is based on the State directive for main stream education, using technology enhanced learning which is student self-directed and not teacher led.
Following an initial presentation to the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin (RCRHH) in 2018 Dr Keith has developed a relationship with the Phetchaburi Panyanukul School and worked tirelessly with the support of the RCRHH and the ‘Thai Voices’ Committee and of course the Director of the School Arjarn Weera, senior staff and support staff to finally see the project bear fruit.
In the coming five years the ‘Thai Voice’ project aims to write and deliver a curriculum based on the Thai Ministry of Education mainstream school guidance. This will encourage the students to take more responsibility for their lives and to have their voices heard with understanding.
In the last 6 months the teaching staff of the above school have started to embrace the concept of the project following a visit to schools in Hong Kong where they observed a similar project that Rotarian Dr Kieth Humphreys developed over a 15 year period whilst he was in Hong Kong. They are now starting to develop assessments streams, working towards understanding the assessment criteria, trialing distance learning packs developed by Rotarian Dr Kieth Humphreys.
On Friday 20th December 2019 Phetchaburi Panyanukul school opened their innovative new professional development interactive website.
Technology Enhanced Learning gives the student control of their self-determination to learn what they  need to know at their own level of ability. The new website is interactive so that the teachers can  explore their own learning. The website includes;
  1. New assessment scales based on the Thai National Curriculum that have been written by the teachers.
  2. Video of good practice of world class teaching in special schools in Hong Kong.
  3. Critical self-learning packages for the teachers to understand how they can change their teaching practices for the students to learn.
  4. A new symbol system for students and teachers to learn how to communicate better with each other.
  5. A platform where teachers can upload and share their new learning across the school.
  6. A site where teachers can choose from ten options what they would like to learn. It is not one professional course for all teachers. The website contains ten practical options for developing good practice. The teachers decide what is best for them.
  7. The website is written in the dual languages of Thai and English
The opening ceremony was led by the president of the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin Napa Keawtem and the School’s Hong Kong university consultant, Rotarian Dr Keith Humphreys. The presentation of the content of the website was in Thai by the teachers in the school who had led the writing of the website content. In fact the production of the website was a collaborative process involving 40 teachers from the school.
The next phase for the development of the website is to use it for all the teachers in the school to learn better how to listen to the voices of their Thai students. The goal is to improve the quality of education each student receives.
On Thursday the 13th February the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin formally handed over 10 new lap top computers to the senior teachers of the Phetchaburi Panyanukul School who are working on the Thai Voices project writing the new curriculum and assessment streams. The old lap tops will be used by students during their studies.
The Director of the School Arjarn Weera thanked the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin for their continued support of the school especially the work by Dr Keith Humphreys in coordinating this project with the teaching staff. He went onto say that the current Ministry of Education curriculum is not suitable for children with learning difficulties and that teaching staff are fully committed to the Thai Voices project and and working with Doctor Keith to write a better curriculum that will change the lives of the children not only in their education but the development of their life skills to help them when they finally leave the school.
Rotarian Dr Keith Humphreys addressed the gathering acknowledging the hard work and long hours the teachers were contributing to the project and that the computers were recognition of how hard they have been working.
Following the speeches President Napa, Keith and Rotarians handed over the lap tops to the teachers.
During the presentation the school provided typical Thai refreshments and presented each guest with a key ring hand made by the students of the school and to the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin a basket of products again made by the students.
The lap tops were provided were provided by Mr Dave Mann project manager of G Com Solutions Co Ltd who is also offering technical support for these products.
Thai Voices project is now being heard lets hope that the project will now go from strength to strength.
A few photographs are below but CLICK HERE FOR MORE PICTURES