The 5 R’s in too many Thai classrooms depend on unthinking Rote Repetition Routine without Recall Retention, forcing memorization of factitious subjective vs. objective True/False items, lacking authenticity and produced artificially rather than by a natural process. Standardized lockstep mindsets are, in reality, virtually antithetical to the free spirit and intentional purpose of education. Trendy aloof Bangkok-centric ex-spurts who are unduly obsessed with meeting unattainable prescribed targets impose vested interest supplementary income-generating “cram exam scams” aimed at passing stressful multiple guesstimate standardized tests that have little to do with actual intelligence, existential life experience, innate talent or capacity to achieve.
Learning How not What to think creatively and abstractly while questioning Why and Wherefore requires comprehensive With not For participatory educational reform. The mutually determined goals call for less passive theory and more active practice, practice – and more practice. Decentralized budgetary management control and autonomous local decision-making ask what works most effectively and efficiently within each rural village, based on cooperation rather than competition, as described firsthand by community school area residents. Progressive reforms aim for fair-minded freedom of expression, know-how readiness, logical problem-solving savvy and common sense understanding, which reinforce everyday survival coping skills and call for student involvement, allowing chosen representatives to help determine their own civic-minded future priorities and career options.
Dr. Chanchai Prasertson