Preparation for the real world should not begin at university but at school.
Schools play a pivotal role in shaping and moulding students to become the world’s future thinkers, doers and leaders of society. Critical thinking, problem-solving, adaptability, communication and leadership are among the handful of skills said to be essential for the future world of work.
Honing these skills can begin in school to ensure today’s youth are capable of handling the challenges that will come with an ever-changing world, be it pressing social issues to sustainability.
Over in Thailand, Bangkok Patana School ensures that learning is relevant and stretches the intellectual potential of students. Bangkok Patana (Patana means ‘development’ in Thai) is the oldest British international school in the Land of Smiles. Here, learning spaces emphasise critical thinking, collaboration and real-world problem solving instead of passive or rote learning.
Unique learning environment
Learning is not confined to the classroom at Bangkok Patana; for instance, Year 3 students are exposed to an Outdoor Classroom where they interact with nature, plan gardens and create their own tropical fruit, vegetable and herb patches.
Through this process, students gain a greater understanding of their responsibility to improve global sustainability by focusing on growing local produce that can be donated to the wider community.
Meanwhile, secondary students learn to look beyond their personal needs and make a positive impact on society at large via community service, gaining valuable experience and networking opportunities in the process. For example, student leaders from the CAT (Community Action Team) and CAS (Community, Action, Service) clubs take part in the annual CAT/CAS fair at the school, learning more about their activities and joining clubs that focus on various areas, from economics and business to LGBTQ issues.
With the environmental and sustainability crisis standing among the pressing concerns facing us today, as well as future generations, the school exposes its students to the environment through its curriculum. After a recent large solar installation at the school, students in Year 4 had the opportunity to visit the roof of the Science Centre to see how solar panels work and how they benefit the school and the environment.
Positively impacting communities
Bangkok Patana students also learn how their efforts can translate into making a positive impact on society. For instance, their Roots and Shoots programme, a subgroup of the Student Environmental Committee (SEC), is part of the worldwide Roots and Shoots programme established by esteemed primatologist Dr Jane Goodall to promote conservation and environmental awareness among youth around the world.
Last year, students raised funds to help villagers in Pang Wua village in rural Chiang Mai improve their quality of life by providing them with solar power. Some 70 people in the village were without electricity as they were too far from the government grid, making solar power their only option.
Students rose to the challenge of raising funds to purchase individual solar kits to light up their homes via various fundraising events and initiatives. Following this, students assisted in the installation process and even had the opportunity to mingle with the locals when they cooked them a meal to express their gratitude. They also returned last December to check how the community was adapting to life with their solar panels.
Tapping into robotics
Technology will play an important role in the future of work, and Bangkok Patana is home to a Robotic Enrichment Programme for Year 1 and 2 students, promoting computational and critical thinking. The programme involves two classes from each year group participating in an eight-week robotics course; the rotation continues until every student from both Years has experienced it.
The programme is unique as it combines mathematics, logic and algorithms, and teaches a new way of viewing the world. Computational and critical thinking teaches students how to tackle larger problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems – highly useful in the real-world.
The Robotic Enrichment Programme is important as it guides students through the world of logic, sequence and programming; programming provides students with the skills to create technologies that impact those around them.
Students at Bangkok Patana benefit from all-round development and supportive learning. They enjoy a rigorous academic programme, a wide array of extra-curricular activities, and over 400 different activities being run each week.
As a testament to their prowess, many graduates receive offers from top universities and programmes around the world while their IGCSE and IB results are strong when compared to similar schools.
It’s clear that Bangkok Patana, as a non-academically selective school, has so much to offer to the development of prospective students, making it a top choice for parents.