Expanding Opportunities for High Ability Thai Students

  • Youth
  • Thailand
This project is led by Christopher Pinkos, a Volunteer from Virginia

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Students standing outside getting instructions from the teacher.
Christopher and his counterparts facilitate the Expanding Opportunities for High Ability Thai Students Camp 2018.

This is a small grant to allow six students, one teacher from our school, one counterpart and one volunteer to attend a nine-day camp. Students will be the ones benefiting the most from these camps because they will be the ones getting the trainings. They will be prepared for the trainings beforehand by attending a club at the school. The volunteer and counterpart organized this partnership so our attendance is mandatory. We will all accompany the students because of concerns from their parents and for sustainability purposes. One counterpart will attend the camps to support the male students and one teacher from our school will attend the camps to support the female students. The PCV will be making sure that everything is going smoothly so he or she will be supporting both the male and female students. By attending the camp we will be able to provide feedback and see what will be useful to bring back to our site. This grant specifically pays for us getting to and returning from the camp, food during the travel and lodging for the volunteer, counterpart and teacher at the camp. All other expenses involved, including the students’ lodging, are covered by The Gifted and Talented (TGT). TGT is able to provide high ability students to interact with one another from all across Thailand. This will allow students to learn from each other while engaging in a more challenging curriculum that promotes independent/critical thinking and creativity. 

The first five days of the camp focuses on life skills as well as critical and creative thinking. The second half of the camp focuses on improving English. Upon successful completion of the TGT program students will be able to apply for summer-long program at the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) . This program recruits high ability students from all around the world and is takes place either in America or Hong Kong. 

Upon completion of the camps the students will return back to their village and form a student council when school resumes. This student council will determine which students should apply for the next round of camps as well as being a voice to the community.

The community is very excited and involved in bringing their students to the camps. The school is the main initiator of the project. One teacher along with the volunteer and counterpart will take the time to accompany the students for ten days. The community has been very helpful in providing support and per diem. In other words we will be getting cash from the parents of the participating students and from the school budget to help cover some of our expenses. The parents of the students participating know what this opportunity can do for the ones attending because my counterpart and I informed them where the roots of this program came from. With the backing of the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) and The Gifted and Talented (TGT) the community knows that it would be a good opportunity they wouldn’t want to miss. At first the community didn’t think that the students would be able to participate because of the rigorous application process but upon learning that some of their own sons or daughters were selected to attend such a prestigious program they were in full support by allowing their sons or daughters to give up some of their time to prepare for the camps so the students attending can get the full benefits from attending the camps. This couldn’t be possible without my counterpart and I setting aside some time to help. We took care of all the logistics like finding classroom space. 

Since the students come from the village the community is doing what they can to contribute. They see these students as change makers especially when they come back. The community and the other students are eager to work with them when they return because they will be seen as mentors especially towards the other students.

In order to prepare the students for the essay and the activities during the camps there will be some trainings and clubs. These trainings and clubs will be conducted by the students that previously attended the camps. Until these first six students have attended the camps the volunteer, counterpart and teacher at our school will lead the sessions. After attending the camps the student will develop a student council that works with other students and people in the community. The student council will be monitored by one of the teachers that attended the previous camps.

By using funds from the local government office students will be able to attend the camps. This was already implemented last October during the trial run when two students and one teacher from Bannongwaen School attended the camps. Schools from all across Thailand that are already aware of these camps do this and benefit a great deal from the experience. 

Schools from all over Thailand send students to these camps which allows for a diverse environment from which the students can learn. It is great practice for Thai students hoping to go to America because they will have to work together with people from many backgrounds.

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