HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kids' Corner

NIS - Children help Children

Studying education in Chiang Mai

A night of talent


Kids' Corner

Do you know what an idiom is? No, itís not an idiot (and thatís not a very nice thing to say!). An idiom is a group of words, phrases or sentences that cannot be understood by just knowing the meaning of the words. This means that they can be very confusing for people who are learning a new language. Here are some examples:

ē Itís raining cats and dogs - this doesnít mean that cats and dogs are falling out of the sky, but it does mean that it is raining really hard!

ē You have a green thumb - this means that you are very good at growing plants.

ē Crocodile tears - this means that you are only pretending to cry.

Do you know any idioms? Write to Marvin and tell him. You can send your letters to:

Marg and Marvin
Chiangmai Mail

Im-boon Housing Estate
Muangsamut Road
T. Changmoi, A. Muang,
Chiang Mai 50300
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 053 234 145


1) What do you get if you cross a pine tree with an apple tree?
2) How does a train driver sneeze?
3) What do you call a train that carries toffees?
4) What runs and whistles but canít talk?


1) A tree that grows pineapples
2) Ahh choo choo
3) A chew chew train
4) A train

Bye from Marg and Marvin

NIS - Children help Children

Grade 3 at Nakorn Payap International School had been studying communities in their social studies lessons, but just reading about them in books was getting a bit boring! They wanted to experience, understand and help the community they actually lived in, so they planned and designed a community project.

NIS Manager Ms. Kris Yimprasert, Grade 3 teacher Ms. Ceri Stockwell along with Mr. Billy and Ms. Kathleen Doerner of the Shek Man Hin Child Development Center - and the students themselves.

Grade 3 decided that they wanted to help other children in Chiang Mai so their teacher, Miss Ceri Stockwell, suggested a small charity called ĎThe Shek Man Hin Child Development Centerí.

The center began in October 2002 with funding from Shek Man Hin, a nine-year-old boy from Hong Kong who was dying from leukemia. Man Hin had been granted a Wish Fund, which he planned to use to pay for a trip to Disneyland before he died. However, before he was able to go, he changed his mind and wanted to donate the money to help poor children instead.

Ms. Kris, Principal John Allen and the NIS Student Council present a check to Mr. Doerner.

The center now prepares disadvantaged school-age children who are not in school, to enter first grade in the Thai school system. It also provides a safe and loving environment for learning where the children build their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Grade 3 children made and put up posters around the school to ask all students to bring in donations of books, clothes, toys, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The response was really heart-warming as many students, teachers and parents showed great generosity and a huge amount of items were collected.

On Friday, Oct. 10, Grade 3 finally got to meet the children they had learned so much about and worked so hard to help. Miss Ceri took her class to the center where they were introduced to the children and shown around the classrooms by the owners, Billy and Kathleen Doerner.

After the children from the center had sung some Thai songs for the NIS students, they all returned together to the NIS campus for a morning of making arts and crafts. At 12:30, the children all went to the NIS canteen for lunch provided by the school and then spent some time playing on the climbing frames. The Shek Man Hin students returned to their center at about 2:00 where they were to find bags and bags of presents donated by NIS.

Miss Ceri said she was extremely proud of the Grade 3 children for being so responsible, well behaved, friendly and welcoming, and all the children said that they enjoyed the day and had really liked being able to help their community. All of Grade 3 offers a huge thank you to everyone that donated and helped make the day possible.

Studying education in Chiang Mai: Good Schools

by Alexei Andre Waters

A sense of sadness pervades the beloved kingdom as the Ministry of Education embarks yet again on reform initiatives. Under Prime Minister Thaksin there have been four Education Ministers, all with bold plans that have remained abstract ideas, as ephemeral as the Lanna murals of Wat Nong Bua in Nan.

Itís not because of incompetence or the absence of seriousness of purpose. Thailand is blessed with many gifted scholars and administrators committed to excellence. Instead, stalled reforms stem from an unwillingness to confront cultural barriers that impede the democratization of education.

Without a more robust educational system, economic integration in ASEAN and all the bilateral and multi-lateral free trade agreements wonít overcome what cultural practices sanction and domestic policies legitimize. So if education is critical for Thailandís future economic development in this era of global capital flows, regional trading blocks and sub-regional economic integration, this prompts an examination of what should occur in good schools.

Good schools are social institutions that foster democratic principles of learning so that everyone has the right to participate as a moral equal in knowledge acquisition regardless of age, grade, ethnicity, religion, nationality or gender. In good schools, ideas are valued more than those articulating them. They are spaces where creativity and innovation are celebrated more than a stultifying commitment to mediocrity under the guise of shared cultural values.

We can go even further, though, with a modest acknowledgement that the qualities of good schools far exceed the limited space a column provides.

1. Good schools reward intellectual curiosity and the ruthless application of the mind to matters of theoretical and practical significance. They emphasize the development of critical intelligence, the mastery of skills necessary to test theories, form hypotheses, make rigorous arguments and consider the full implications of any postulated arguments.

2. Good schools employ collaborative learning techniques. They provide students with the moral authority to become self-directed learners. They promote classroom learning activities in which the combined efforts of a small group of students raises the intellectual abilities of each individual.

3. Good schools use multiple assessment measures in order to provide a more accurate snapshot of individual strengths and weaknesses. By so doing, academic progress becomes more than simply grades (GPA). Academic achievement is ranked across a wide variety of subjects and cognitive, emotional (leadership) and artistic skills.

4. Good schools form linkages within community institutions in order to provide their students with greater access to activities promoting knowledge creation and moral development. In science that means offering students the chance to become research training apprentices with area hospitals, public health facilities and university research centers. For schools interested in fostering greater leadership qualities among students, an academic credit-bearing program in which students join organizations and institutions (public and private) committed to improving the quality of life for provincial inhabitants would be an integral part of the curriculum.

5. Good schools reward teachers for motivating and inspiring their students; invest generously in their professional development and encourage them to offer the highest quality instruction possible.

Why do we need good schools?

In a province where good jobs are scarce, salaries are relatively low, and the abuse of narcotics is on the rise, education remains the last decent possibility for a generation of youth who believe - with great justification - that the 21st century will pass them by without a momentís regret.

Political marginalization in post-industrialized nations such as the United States during the 1990s spawned Generation X for the middle classes and the crack epidemic for the underclass. The cultural crises in America have created a host of social problems that will likely continue for some time; but the range of social services, educational opportunities and meritocratic possibilities ensure that a majority of the population will achieve a modicum of success.

In a developing country like Thailand, a society of slackers is unlikely to form; or at least so long as wealth is concentrated in the hands of oligarchic families and a tiny group of nouveau riche while the pitiable masses labor in poverty. Channeling them into low quality vocational colleges will do little to allay their fears or dampen their anger as they gradually learn that their efforts are valued little by employers.

Good schools canít solve crises that political decisions and judicial deficiencies create. But like democratic institutions, theyíre the best hope for pluralistic societies mired in circumstances demanding public action.

A night of talent

Prem hosts a Courtyard Concert

Katherine Voll

This past Wednesday evening nearly one hundred students, teachers and visitors attended a courtyard concert put on by Premís boarding community. Student performances ranged from skits and poetry readings to original piano compositions and a stirring rendition of ďAutumn LeavesĒ by the Prem jazz band.

Prem students Lenka, Gina and ESL teacher Yuka sing a Japanese pop song.

Prem was also lucky enough to have in attendance students and teachers from Kardinia International School in Victoria, Australia. Kardinia is taking part in Premís Visiting Schools Program and will be staying at Prem and participating in several school activities for the next eight weeks. This courtyard concert is just the first of many events that Prem and Kardinia students look forward to sharing together.

Prem science teacher Gregg Kerr rocks out with bassist Saba.

Both Prem and Kardinia audience members were clearly enjoying themselves and showed the performers enthusiastic support. This termís concert was both much larger in scope and showcased a wider variety of talent than in previous years. The fact that Kardinia students were also able to attend added to the international atmosphere of the evening. The Prem community looks forward to watching even more talent perform in the courtyard concert already being planned for next term.

Prem boarders Megumi and Tata charm the audience with a song.

A good time was had by all!


In an article printed in Chiangmai Mail, page 13, Saturday October 18, reporter Pichitpon Tongtuek inadvertently attributed a quote to Junji Taniguchi, the site director of the Princeton Review. Junji did not make this comment as reported.

In a related article appearing on page 21, it was reported that 60 students from Chiang Mai and 600 from Bangkok had enrolled at American education institutions in 2002. Junji Taniguchi wrote to us, ďI think the number should be, 600 for Chiang Mai, and 6000 for BangkokĒ.