SWAN has just finished some important training for our teachers, 37 of them in fact. Held in May, in Northern Thailand, teachers from the network schools in Shan State, inside Burma, and from the SWAN supported schools along the Thai border spent a week learning from multiple facilitators and SWAN staff, and networking amongst themselves. The teachers learnt about different methods of teaching and teaching philosophies including the child-centred method, teacher-centred method, newer teaching methods as well as getting updated the official policies for teaching in Thailand’s Government schools. Teachers also learnt important methods of encouraging and supporting each other in their work, and they participated in team and trust building exercises to help build their team morale.
Our teachers work in 9 schools using Thai curriculum, along the Thai-Burma border. The teachers along the border are Shan people and work in schools where many Shan children attend. They really assist in helping those children to learn the Thai language and facilitate their learning by continually translating during class for them. At the same time they also teach those children to maintain their own language, culture and traditions in the schools. These children are living in villages and refugee camps on the border waiting for the peace in their home state that would allow them and their families to return home. Without the SWAN teachers, these Shan children would fall behind in their education rapidly and might not even bother attending since they wouldn’t be able to understand the classes. Until very recently, SWAN was also able to fund 2 schools inside Burma but our partnership ended with a major donor and we have been forced to withdraw financial support for these 2 schools. However,teachers from these schools still attended having already been budgeted to do so. We hope that we soon establish new financial partnerships that would see not only these 2 schools covered but also even more schools inside Shan State being funded in communities where there is no other option for children’s education.