11 thoughts on “Thought Paper 3”

  1. Cultural factors that are important for leadership in any country is simple; it is not just in Thailand but probably in any part of the world. The first and foremost is try to learn and understand the culutre of the country. We might think that our way of doing things is better than what they are doing. We would sound arrogant if that would be case. The culture of Thailand is very differnt from my training and from where I came from, but I learn the hard way of accepting things especially in my work. I learn to accept the saying “No problem everything will be okay”. I worry to much especially in my work and I want to do things my way which I can’t simply because the time won’t permit me. In an educational management from overseas you go by deadline and expectations. Which would limits ytou ability to deliver simply because it’s not just you that will be involved in the process of delivery, but everyone who had differnt understanding of what deadline and expectation means. Almost everything is stuck in one place and slow to move. That I think is the limitations that we need to understand and learn ot accept in this part of the world.

  2. In Genesis 3, we read about the disobedience of the first humans in choosing to listen to a creature other then the creator, as a result, they were thrown out of their estate and eventually were scattered at Babel when they once again refused to obey simple instruction at God’s command.

    Everywhere man went, he took with him/her a away of life which is define as culture. It is often been said that when there is a hurricane in the sea, no matter how big the boat is, it will sink because the culture of the sea does not compromise with it’s furry whoever tries to come in it’s path, this is exactly what happens when people borrow blindly from other cultures without carefully taking into consideration the demographic varaible differences.

    Thailand, is a very unique country on its own, with an amazing culture. The WAI for an example, is a symbol for greeting, to bid farewell, to acknowledge people with respect, and to appreciate one’s good deeds. These are unique factors that can be used in educational administration to achieve optimum results.

    Schools work with people who have emotions and ego and that is what makes them human, take away these things and all hell will be broken loose. Teachers and non-teaching staff, students all need to be greeted and respected, appreciated, acknowledged and commended on their work. This then multivates them to give up thier best.

    What is more, Thai society is a very tolerant one, like a bamboo tree, having high respect for all people across the globe. This is another important factor.

    Tolerance is one key ingredient in leadership, if you do not tolerant the religious diversity that exist here in Thailand but would want to impose things, you are equated to a ship caught in a hurricane at deep sea, you will sink.

    However, not all that glitters is gold, most western ideologies and theories have created all sorts of societal violence and relationship problems, but sadly enough, the east and the rest of the developing countries have become the victims.

    Further more, western books were wriiten with western culture in mind, as much as there may be some good points to take home, its disadvantages far outweighs the merits, and for me, its not worth it.

    In conclusion, I would say, the clash of the eastern and western culture has now entered into a danger level, where anyone,including educational leaders anytime can become a victim of this new culture clash, a clash which will continue to happen unless today’s youth with the latest stuff in a contagious admiinistratve skills understand and rise to return to their faith and culture and stick a pin. The devil you know, is far better than the angel you have no idea about.

  3. Each organization has its own distinctive culture. It is a combination of the founders, past leadership, current leadership, crises, events, history and size. This results in “rites”: the routines, rituals, and the way we do things. These rites impact individual behavior on what it takes to be in good standing and directs the appropriate behavior for each circumstance.
    In Thai schools, I think the important cultural factors for leadership is to know the “attributes and framework of leadership”-BE, KNOW,DO that will guide them to achieve success.

    BE a professional. Examples: Be loyal to the organization, perform selfless service, take personal responsibility.
    BE a professional who possess good character traits. Examples: Honesty, competence, candor, commitment, integrity, courage, straightforwardness, imagination.
    KNOW the four factors of leadership – follower, leader, communication, situation.
    KNOW yourself. Examples: strengths and weakness of your character, knowledge, and skills.
    KNOW human nature. Examples: Human needs, emotions, and how people respond to stress.
    KNOW your job. Examples: be proficient and be able to train others in their tasks.
    KNOW your organization. Examples: where to go for help, its climate and culture, who the unofficial leaders are.
    DO provide direction. Examples: goal setting, problem solving, decision making, planning.
    DO implement. Examples: communicating, coordinating, supervising, evaluating.
    DO motivate. Examples: develop morale and esprit de corps in the organization, train, coach, and counsel.

  4. Another limitation that need to be taken into consideration is the fact that Thai culture is unique and different in a sense that they handle things differently. We need to embrace the tolerance and patience in our practice, as my colleague had said they are like bamboo tree they sway and bend, but don’t be fooled with it they are as competent as we are only in a different context. Bending and swaying may mean compliance to us but to Thai culture it’s not. They are exercising tolerance and patience with the system that comes along their path.

  5. We have different cultures and it affects the learning progress of the students. Since I am new here in Thailand, what I observed that Thai teachers are very strict in their students. They’re focusing on the discipline of the students and I think this is important in leading a school. Leaders are disciplinarians, so that within themselves must start changes through enabling leadership. Adopting ideas on educational management from other countries might affect the leadership of Thai leaders in the school. It should compromise to balance the factors that influencing leadership. Another one there is always smiling at work. When I was working with them, I felt happiness and contentment with my work. It is something that Thai can change mood even if they have problem. This culture can improve leaders work as our teacher said that build first the relationship with colleagues and makes the work easier. Wrong interpretation of smiling might be the problem on getting ideas from overseas. Solving serious problems is not easy, get the sympathy of the colleagues of what they feel or think of.

  6. Being a neophyte in Thailand, it didn’t become a hindrance for me to study how Thai people live their lives (and of course, I sought help from my Thai boss…). Thai people are very polite and they obey unresistingly, they really look up to their superiors. What bothers me is on how they are so scared to be honest and complain. I mean, they’re too hesitant to talk about things which give them a hard time. They also wouldn’t want to be blamed, they want to always be submissive. Lastly, they love rushing things out, they don’t plan ahead, they’re abrupt and they just let it be. I see that as a problem in terms of embracing ideas educationally from other parts of the world, since they refuse to share what they know and just accept whatever it is to be fed to them, even if it’ll cause them failure and loss, they will accept. They will not try to think for themselves and they’ll just nod POLITELY and OBEDIENTLY. If they’ll not do away with this kind of attitude, they’ll fade away…just a comment…

  7. The purpose of education and the goals of education in a given society are ultimately the main factors to be considered when determining cultural factors necessary for any given society. It goes without saying that Thai society is not exempted from this. I find Thai culture rather dynamic and easy-going thus able to accept a wide platform for cultural activities from the west. However, these vary depending on several reasons.

    The Thai society is a rather tolerant society. Western practices are common in Thai schools. For instance, at my school you’d find students running over to me to shake my hand. Well, we all know that in Thailand, learners are meant to ‘wai’ their teachers. I tend to look at a simple handshake as an opening to young learners to the outside world, where a handshake is a way of saying hello. This is however limited. Of course I wouldn’t shake a student’s hand on our first meeting. It would be more of a casual gesture than a greeting.

    In Thailand, religion plays a major role in educational institutions. My school is a catholic school and is run following religious laws. Please note that Christianity made its way to Thailand from the west. However, majority of Thai students are Buddhists, Now however big a role Christianity plays in education in Thailand, Buddhism as a religion is still the outstanding practice. My school for instance recognizes all Buddhism holidays and functions.

    In most Thai schools; and this is from my interaction with teachers from public institutions, the teacher is seen as mostly the sole source of information for the learner. Learning is carried out in a way where learners sit and wait for their teacher to relay information to them. Now I know there are some institutions here that use the Dewey Method of teaching (which is by the way according to me, the best approach to learning) and it would do Thailand good to adapt this kind of education. This is where education is learner-centered and the teacher is merely an instructor or a moderator to acquiring information.

    Limitations to applying western practices in Thai schools vary from religious practices to economical hindrances. Now embracing change is good, but it would call for sensible embrace. It is more than common knowledge that some Western practices are not suitable for Thai students. Thus when choosing what to apply in a Thai educational institution, one should take note of the religious practices and culture of the Thai people. After all, Thailand is known as one of the Asian communities who have so far preserved their culture despite strong and diverse interaction with other cultures from the west.

  8. There are lots of cultural factors which are important for leadership in Thai schools. First, is being too submissive and too respectful. Oftentimes, being like that, the teachers who considered to be the all-know-how professionals because of their direct connections with the students know what to do and how to maximize learning, however, because of being too submissive; teachers could not be able to contribute their opinions on how to make the students learn better, instead they would be like a puppet who will just say ‘yes,’ but of course, not all schools.
    Thai culture teaches learners to be a passive learner not an active one but ideas borrowed from overseas are oppose to that. And so I felt awkward when my students were very noisy for wanting to answer my questions unlike when they attend their subjects with Thai teachers wherein they just listen. So these teaching strategies, are sometimes could be consider as limitation-another issue in leadership.
    The way students here learn is very different than other students in other parts of the world. And so using ways or ideas of teaching-learning from other countries should be carefully reviewed first so that it will fit in the culture and values of the students’ nature of learning.

  9. Life in a Thai school in some ways is quite similar to other schools around the world. However, the fascinating Thai culture helps contribute to some differences. Thailand has its nice culture wherein people are being thought to be a good person and to be respectful from the things around them. Thai students at my school are very polite and very kind which is I guessed they have learned this things from their parents and their teachers. On the other side teachers are also friendly, cheerful, and funny in the sense that they will make jokes of you and talk about funny things that I think is a good way of building better relationship from one to another. In behalf of these factors, I also noticed that Thai teachers are very strict in terms of disciplining their students and with their teaching. In my observations, it is really nice to know that students are behaving well if their Thai teachers are having a lesson whereas for me, well that is my big problem, that’s why I made a research for this in which it awakes my interest to know the kind of leadership that Thai teachers have in having an effective classroom management. Thai teachers in my school are hard working even though they just get paid for low salaries but with this fact they seems to be satisfied from what they get and that’s amazed me to know about this things. Last week, I was able to have a chance to talk with the principal in our school, he is a priest and everybody loves him aside from being great but as well as the kind of leadership he has for his teachers and the school. Our conversation reach to some extent that we even talk about some concerns regarding about the salaries of the teachers, he was explaining that he really wants that his teachers can get the enough money or salaries but sadly he cannot do things right away about that, which is in fact there are some things need to be consider first just like economy nowadays is very difficult, so he just talk to his teachers about this one and he tries to find ways that his teachers will somewhat happy or contented from what they have now. I was glad knowing that leaders like this who have care and vision for his teachers and school or specially his students and the community would really be a great cultural factor that Thai school should have and developed. I may not explained this deeper but I guess you know what I want to point out and extend about this things.

  10. The term ‘culture’ can be defined in many viewpoints, but there are two particularly relevant to education, one anthropological and other biological. A culture in the anthropological sense is a shared way of life. In the biological sense, it refers to a medium for growing things. (Eisner, 2000) With this frame of definition, a culture can be viewed as the pattern of living among a given group of people. In addition, the pattern of living is developed by the group’s shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and opinions on acceptable behavior of people from a common heritage. (McFee, 1998)
    Nationalism designates people with a shared history and a shared identity with the essence of cultural memory, continuity and integrity. It plays a vital role not just here in this country but as well as all countries around the globe. The feel of nationalism then entails strength, firmness of character/principle and honesty that can be trusted. It must be laid in leadership for the Thai schools to strengthen leaders in their battle to educational challenges. They must lead as good examples through having a good identity by walking their talk as well as being straight-forward in all terms of decision making, judging and planning.
    Modernization is another factor that goes with culture. Though it undeniably alienated culture, it must still be embodied in the educational arena for we are living in the technology advanced society. Leaders must be acquainted with the benefits and convenience it can give. It gives better access and lightens jobs.
    Holding the sense of Thainess or “Thai-ism”, one adorable trait I’ve picked out from Thais is having a cool heart. It implies a psychological quality of not being anxious when confronting problems. I guess this is very important in leadership for Thai schools since undertaking leadership is not a very easy task. Emotional control is often tested especially if one is at the peak of boiling up due to unavoidable circumstances that are naturally faced once you’re a leader. Having a cool-heart is not getting angry easily, when; in general, one would be expected to be.
    Though all these factors matters for leadership, it designates certain limitations at hand. Modern nation-states in the West and in Asia have from time to time cloaked themselves in the mantle of national cultural identity at the very moment they were destroying genuine traditional culture. In this sense modern nationalism has often been more an enemy to a genuine cultural identity than an expression of it. The culture can set the end and modernization itself might to be brought under control.
    Internationalism is an important and widely discussed phenomenon in higher education, since Thailand adopted the educational system from the west, still it entails flexibility as to what extent it will be influenced without undermining its cultural heritage while boosting improvement and success in the educational system.

  11. Thailand is a very unique country with culture of its own. Their culture is vastly affecting how schools are led and how leadership is viewed as part of their social life.

    For the number of years working in a Thai school (1 year and 6 months in a Thai government school and about 3 months in a Thai private school), I have observed several cultural factors which I deem important in leading a Thai school. First of all, the so called “Kreng Jai” which means wholeheartedly complying someone’s request. An understanding on this uniquely Thai Psychology social concept will help us understand as to why most of the Thais don’t say bad words or comments towards their bosses and employers. Another one is the so called “Hai Kiat” which means giving respect. This one is true especially for those who are in authority. Thai people are so respectful when they talk to someone in authority. They show it in the calmness of their voice and action.

    Religion is also very important cultural factors for leadership in Thai schools. More than 95 % of Thais are Buddhists and leading a Thai school where almost 100 % of the teachers and students are Buddhists, it’s very important to consider their belief. Language is also a very important factor.

    If you are a foreign educational leader leading a Thai school, those factors should be considered before borrowing or bringing ideas on educational management from overseas. It is very wise to examine if those ideas are not against their religion or not undermining their linguistic ability.

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