The “Soft Side” Based Alternative:
Neohumanist Schools, Thailand
By Jaree Naksamrit
After studying in the university for 4 years, in November 2012 I decided to help the Baan Unrak School again for a short period as their Principal. When I traveled back again to Sangklaburi, Thailand, I found that the school had some problems with teacher training. Although the teachers had received training to become Neohumanist teachers, not all were able to integrate what they learned into their teaching. The problem is that it is difficult to change the paradigm of mainstream education and this old paradigm blocks the teacher’s ability to think differently and learn new ways. At the same time, the students want more care, more guidance and good models, but they only get what teachers teach from books and this learning method offers little for deeply learning about humanity and civilization. For many years I saw that Didi Ananda Anuraga tried hard to guide the teachers in the school, but there was always a bit of a language barrier in communication making it difficult to lead teachers from a different culture in following a Neohumanist school strategy. This made it difficult for the school to succeed quickly in becoming a Neohumanist School. The “soft side based” alternative education is one of the solutions for the school as it focuses on the human side, to meet the needs of both the teachers and the students. Teachers and students have the opportunity to provide feedback to the school and the students and teachers and administration work together as a team.
I found that many good things are happening in Neohumanist schools in Thailand. The Amartyakul School in Bangkok is based on Neohumanist Education, and run by Dr. Kiatiwan Amatyakul and his wife. They have succeeded in guiding and leading their teachers to become Neohumanists. The teachers have high self esteem, self sufficiency, and awareness of the planet. They teach the students to be loving, service-minded and to think positively and have integrated positive methods in their teaching approach. Teachers and students sing Baba Nam Kevalam (love is all there is) to inspire everyone in the school and to help develop the teaching and learning environment with concentration and happiness. At the end of the year the school showcases the teachers and students academic and life skills. The students are happy and proud of themselves as are their parents. This again is what I call “the soft side based”, or human based alternative to school management. The administrators, teachers, students and parents are united like a team; they work together, are satisfied and love each other and expand to the world around them. These are living schools.
This year the two Neohumanist schools in Thailand, Baan Unrak School in Sangklaburi and Amatyakul School in Bangkok are brother and sister schools. They will learn from each other and share their experiences to improve Neohumanist school pedagogy and develop the character of their students. This will facilitate implementing the Neohumanist philosophy of Shrii P.R. Sarkar’s, conducting more research based on Neohumanistic Education and developing a Neohumanist management model for a better society.