180 replies to this topic
Posted 2010-08-01 16:55:26
I have read many comments about Kajon. school. I was strongly impelled to reply.
I have been teaching in the school for almost a year and I have made many relevant observations. These observations and comments may give a more genuine picture of the school for both parents who are searching for a school for their children and for foreigners who are looking to work there.
The comments made on this page are primarily focused on ESC programme. Although much of it does apply to EP students also.
For the parents:
You may read on the forum that children are smacked, or caned. Yes, this is true in some cases. The younger children particularly in the ESC program may be smacked on the hand with a ruler. This of course is done for one main reason only, and by the Thai teachers.
The reason for the smacking is usually caused by the pressure imposed on the Thai teachers (by the owners of the school), to have children not only complete a wide range of books but also to ensure that the work done in the books by the children are of a very high standard. Children of course who have difficulty fulfilling this requirement will be smacked. However, the Thai teachers I have known and observed do love the children and do provide for them a loving environment.
Secondly, your child has very little time for exploration. All work is book work with repetition and copying. Sometimes the teacher has to complete a child's work to avoid problems and confrontations with the child. All work is focused on the quantiy and quality. Very little, if any emphasis is placed on knowledge or understanding. So yes, your child may come out of school with perfect handwriting and understanding of the written functions of the Thai language, but I will be safe to say that your child will know very little if anything outside of the books they have spent years copying out of. They are not encouraged to ask relevant questions and there is maybe a 5% input of any kind by the children. This of course is not conducive to an inquiring child and this does not prepare them for an ever changing world. With new technologies arriving all the time, copying ones way out of school is not going to prepare them for the changing world. In English speaking countries enquiry based learning is promoted and encouraged, and is the curriculum's foundation. The Thai curriculum at present is at least 30 years behind the rest of the world.
The same is true for the English teaching. However, foreigners are not allowed to smack the children at any time but the work in the books must be completed. Very little time for conversational English or sequential learning takes place. The English in the books is not consistent and therefore the children cannot develop a good understanding of the language, yet alone be able to speak it. Those who are advantaged by having a Thai parent and an English speaking parent usually benefit to a greater extent, but are still short changed as far as developing the language.
As for hygene, I have seen one teaspoon go in and out of the mouths of all the kids in the class sharing a birthday cake. Children eating food placed on the floor, and when the child is sick they are laying on the cold floor in the back of the class. The washing of hands is constantly encouraged. Frequently due to problems with the generator and power we have had no water for flushing toilets or washing hands on the third and fourth floors of our building. However, toothbrushes are neatly placed and allocated a pocket for each child. Although this has not been consistent throughout the school. During my whole time at the school I have never seen one child lying on the bed in the sick bay, but rather on the floor in the classroom. Whenever I have wanted to send a child down to sick bay with a high fever, I have been told it is not allowed, because it doesn't look good for the teachers. Figure that one out.
In summary for the parent. I would not place my child at any such school for both the educational reasons and health reasons. If you want a quality education you need to really shop around as you would if buying a house or business. It is after all the future of your child and they get one go of it. There are far better schools whose staff are treated far better and with more respect. The teachers are not the problem in this school, it's the people at the top who consider only the business side of it at the expense of your child. It is NOT student focused but money focused. It is a school that fines its already underpaid teachers for having the airconditioner on before or after a certain time during the day, and this includes times when your child is in the classroom. The Thai teachers are placed under huge amounts of pressure to perform for the sake of the school to look good when in fact if you go digging not very deep you will understand that the books are there to make the school look good. Do not be persuaded by how well a child coming out of such school can write. Ask a child relevant questions, provide them with problem solving situations and you will soon discover how such schools fail these kids and their parents.
For the teacher:
If you want a stepping stone then Kajonkietsuksa is good for that. Be prepared to have very little say and input in anything that goes on. If you are a foreigner you will be told very little of what actually goes on in the school, but if you are there long enough it will be very clear. It is a place to meet some wonderful people from all sides of the world. A place that will make you fall in love with the beautiful children who are forever smiling and cute. Yes you have to put up with some people who don't have a clue but at least are trying. There is no teacher training or preparation, so if you haven't taught before be prepared for anything. You should read up on behaviour management techniques, learn something about the Thal culture and its values. For the rest, you have the books which will guide you and the kids. No use complaining and if you can't deal with it then move on. As for the qualified teachers don't waste your time applying as you have better opportunites and more schools are opening up. If not in Phuket then in other parts of the country. Use your teaching experience and values in schools that actually will be happy to hear and implement ideas.
Good luck and best wishes.
Posted 2010-08-01 17:59:27
Thank you for your inside report on Kajonkietsuksa School Phuket. It is your first post and for some people this might signify a lower credibility of your account.
I read your entire post carefully and I find it seems authentic.
Since you include some negative observations it is understandable that you want to use a new forum username, especially if you are still working at the school.
It is very important for parents to know all this.
How often on average would you estimate are children smacked with a ruler?
What are the hours the air-conditioning is allowed to be on?
Do I understand correctly, if a child is sick with a fever, they don't call the guardians immediately to pick up the child, they have to stay in class? Until the end of the lesson, or the end of the school day?
Posted 2010-08-01 20:37:59
Thanks for the post. You mention there are better schools, which ones would that be and how are their prices compared to kajon.?
Posted 2010-08-01 23:31:36
Hi there. I started a new post as the previous ones didn't seem to highlight some of the most significant and real issues of the school. Many comments did not reflect the true nature of what is going on. I have only put some of the issues that may be of interest to parents and ones I know are true to my personal observations and experiences in the school.
The amount of times any young child is smacked, really depends on the stress level of the teacher at the time. This again is usually due to what the people up top are emphasising as being important for that week. Please understand that the children's books are checked by staff in the office on a regular basis. Any work from a class that is not consistent with the school's policy is recorded and the teacher then called to the office for a "telling off". This then creates that friction between the teacher and her students. The children usually have two writing books. One they practise in and the other is done only when the teacher believes the student has mastered their work. So the child has to double up on the work. Any mistakes made by the children in example their maths book, must be immediately corrected. NO errors are to be found in the books. Please remember this applies to the Thai teachers.
I witnessed a line of boys in the upper primary wacked on the backside with a ruler. I don't know what they had done but they were all lined up as soon as they entered the room and wacked repeatedly on the backside. There were about 8 boys. Of course at that age it's a power game for the boys and they were completely in control of their emotions. I think the only lesson learnt for them was who was the toughest kid that showed the least amount of pained expression. They all did pretty good.
Regarding sickness. The child's guardians are notified but of course many parents cannot leave work or may need a couple of hours before they can come to the school to collect the sick child. Many times the child is left in the class until the parents/guardians can collect them. They are not sent to the sick bay but again I emphasise they are left to sleep in the back of the class on the floor. A teacher had to buy rugs for her classes just to keep the kids off the floor during their illness.
The times for the air-conditioning fluctuate but at the moment the times are from 9am and switched off at 4.30pm. Classes run until 6pm and the rooms heat up very quickly. Also the rooms are already very hot before the children enter them, especially the rooms facing the sun and that are on the two top floors. It's not so bad this time of the year but in the hotter season the rooms get very hot.
I have no interest in defaming the school and yes there may be other similar schools. Of course I can only respond in regards to what my personal observations and experiences have been. I must emphasise that the staff (both Thai and foreign teachers) have the child's best interest at heart and many of the negative events which occur at the school are generated by the demands of those who run the show.
Hope this is of help.
Posted 2010-08-02 00:04:58
I know there are three new schools that have opened up recently and are growing. I have heard of one in Rawaii and I will get more information about the actual location of the school. The other one is called Headstart but of course the fees are much higher. I have spoken with parents whose children go to the school and are very happy with the results so far. The education there is in line with British standards and there is a lot of enquiry learning happening. I have visited the school and there are many good things in place. There is NO perfect school and all have their politics. I aim to visit more schools and provide a clearer picture for parents shopping around. The catholic school near Central also has a good reputation and I know of at least 4 parents who moved their children to that school and agree it's a much better school. Religious education there is optional but undoubtedly they will influence the children in some way or another. However, I have seen that happen at Kajonkiet with christian teachers who have taken Christmas as an opportunity to introduce their beliefs. It is not necessarily a bad thing as the parents are usually the primary influence to a child's religious beliefs.
I have also taught children who have attended regular Thai schools and their level of English was high. They had a very good understanding of English grammar and also had very good reading and comprehension skills. What they lacked was the ability to speak as they have very little opportunity to speak in an all Thai school. Still it left me wondering if the Thai public system isn't just as good. Even in the western countries parents are bombarded with incorrect information about public schools verses the private schools. Having taught in both systems I can guarantee that many times public schools have better outcomes than private schools. We shouldn't be fooled into believing that just because you are paying more, you are actually getting better educational value.
Posted 2010-08-02 00:22:00
It actually helps me a lot...it confirms to me what I have noticed there over the last 2 school terms...has a high reputation amongst a lot of people but it actually does not have the substance to be a good school...I was rather dissappointed to find out that most of the so called english teachers are people with whom english is a second language...their grammer and syntax and general understanding of the language leaves a lot to be desired...as several parents have said to me they do not want their children speaking english with an european accent....your remarks re the sickness and treatment of the children is quite alarming....I would like to find another school for our child here in Phuket but the choices are quite limited...as a good education is the best thing you can give a child we may have to consider shifting....could you send me a private message if you consider any other schools (excluding the over priced international school) would be a better choice
Posted 2010-08-02 06:40:56
Thanks for the good info. I'd like to hear more about the school in Rawai. The "new" Kajonkiet (building now) is not in a convenient location from where we live and your comments make me want to find an alternative.
Posted 2010-08-02 07:17:27
The new school in rawai is being started by abc nurdery, in a seperate building, past rawai hardware left. Things are looking good, but it will also be more expensive than kajon. The way i see it there are 3 types of schooks: thai public schools, kajon. Dawroong etc is the second tier and the expensive private international schools are the 3rd group.
Posted 2010-08-02 09:31:23
Thanks OP, great inside info. Very similar to my experience having 2 kids there for a few years.
If violence from thai teachers would be limited to smacking with a ruler, it would be close to legal and acceptable. Unfortunately its worse.
Sickbay was in general only used for kids with bleeding wounds, some of them as a result of teacher violence. Lying on a tiled aircon floor with a fever was and is unacceptable. It can take parents hours to pickup a child in Phuket with no transportation available for unscheduled needs
We experienced moving kids to another school, made them more curious, daring to ask questions, and daring to speak more english at home (thai-thai kids) since they would not be corrected if grammar not perfect.
Another aspect of this school is the load of homework. Living in Kata, Kajon schoolbus would leave 0615 in the morning and come home around 6 in afternoon. 2 hours of homework was the norm. Pretty long day for a 6 year old. We found it unacceptable, and told teachers and admin homework would end at 1900, finished or not. An additional car was purchased to make schoolday/transportation shorter, giving kids some afternoon time on the beach.
As for aircon, there where constant signs everywhere asking to save on aircon and each months electricity bill was announced. How about insulating an aircon building and have doors close automaticly? No way, blame it on the teachers.
Kajon is great business for the owners though
Posted 2010-08-02 10:55:11
I will be finding more information about the school in Rawaii as I know the people who helped the school get started. The new Kajon building looks marvelous on the floor plan but of course the fees will be adjusted. To what exactly, I don't know but do expect to pay more, possibly a lot more than you may have been told.
There are always better alternatives and it's a matter of informing yourself and asking all the right questions. What questions would you feel you would need to ask the next school? Speak to parents and other students and visit some classrooms. You are permitted to do that and if not then you need to question why. Also visit forums as these will give you a feel about the schools in the area.
All the best to you.
Posted 2010-08-02 11:01:19
I am also a teacher in a school in Phuket town. It is a government school. It has not been mentioned in either of the two topics as yet. I feel from competitions i have seen and some private tutoring with students from other schools that Satree is the best school (non-international) in Phuket. I am not sure if it is unique to my school but students in EP are spoilt and are fully aware that they can do no work and treat the school as a playground and pass (possibly after a retest). The science programme kids are much nicer and eager to learn. If an EP student likes to learn there is no problem but some students in EP make it very hard to teach everyone else in the class.
There is also an attitude that if students fail that you are not a good teacher, not that the students have done no work.
Edited by flukieireland, 2010-08-02 11:03:40.
Posted 2010-08-02 11:07:38
Yes you are correct and it's the parents responsibility to find out as much relevant information as they can about the school they will place their child in. Don't just accept things at face value. Dig a little, but remember you will always find something wrong. Just weigh up all the pros and cons. But the most important thing is the type of education handed to your child. How does their curriculum compare to the leading countries in education? What type of teachers does the school employ? Do they have a qualification for teaching in general? Do they speak English as a native speaker or as close to a native speaker as possible? You need to ask the questions that would satisfy you and your child as the clients. Not an easy task, but it can be achieved.
I know it's a difficult task for schools to find teachers with a teaching degree. If this is not possible then what professional development does the school provide first time teachers or even those who have taught in Asian countries before? Kajonkiet provides no professional development at this stage and any information provided to the teachers are by unqualified personnel. I sat through information been given about children with learning disabilities by a teacher who is apparently studying in the area of Special Needs. Yet having worked in that field for a number of years I can honestly say her information was taken from the internet and just related to the staff. Who by the way are now believing to be qualified to diagnose children with ADHD and the likes. A dangerous field and very sad indeed.
Posted 2010-08-02 12:18:05
Chozen1, could you add some info about class size, student / teacher ratio?
Some people mentioned in other threads that there is not much sport, how many hours per week of sports and what kinds of sports are taught?
If you have time maybe you could list all the subjects that are taught and how many hours per week, for people without kids in the school. Are there many choices where students can select their subjects?
Thank you katabeachbum for confirming the issues. The time these young kids spend away from home is sad, especially the young ones.
Posted 2010-08-02 13:33:38
does anyone else have more info about Satree. they don't seem to have an English website but the auto translation looks good
is it private? is there a fee? if so does anyone know how much?
also, is this the class size
is it really up to 50 kids per class?
update: my wife says yes, that is kids in each class and the number of the class indicates the smartness of the kid, so
Secondary year 1 / 1. has 46 kids and is the highest level all the way down to Grade year, 1 / 13. with 27 kids which is for dummies
apparently its normal for all Thai schools for low class room number for smart kids, high numbers for dummies.
Edited by stevehaigh, 2010-08-02 13:41:30.
Posted 2010-08-02 14:12:03
Just a suggestion, maybe keep this thread for info about Kajonkietsuksa as per topic title, start a new one about Satree with questions and flukieireland could contribute. Later at some stage we make an index post with links to discussions for each school?
It becomes very difficult to research a certain school, because all school threads are mixed and one has to read them all even if just looking for info about a certain school.
Posted 2010-08-02 16:56:01
Yes you have mentioned an important aspect of the situation with homework. Children as young as 4 spend much of their school time writing and writing and writing. If they are not writing, then they are constantly chanting. When all this is finished (with very short breaks) they continue on with extra English and extra Thai. Where more writing and chanting is required. Then follows the dreaded homework which is overwhelming not just for the kids, but also for the parents and the teachers. We are told that this is expected and demanded by the parents. Yes, this may be true in some cases, but that is only because the parents are not fully aware of the amount of work their children are actually doing in school time. Many parents think the value of learning is in the child's ability to write. But is it a problem when older children cannot mention cities around the world apart from Bangkok? I found this to be true in many cases with older children. So yes, homework is definitely a problem. Again you have to wonder what it's all about?
Posted 2010-08-02 17:03:00
I'm sorry but I'm a little confused. Are you referring to the EP at Kajonkiet? It does sound very similar and yes the students here (if they fail) will be retested and more than once. A fail is not an option! It may be a difficult topic to digest for many parents because they would like to think their child passed of their own ability. Many children do pass because they deserve to, but many others are also helped along by the school. You then need to ask yourself why these children are passed instead of provided with help in their area of weakness? What happens to these students when they haven't understood a concept but moved along anyway? The gaps in their learning will only get wider.
Posted 2010-08-02 17:37:54
The school is divided into 3 programs. There is the Thai Program which I have very little knowledge of but some of their class sizes are up to 43 per class. I actually taught in one of these classes a couple of times to help their teacher out due to behavior problems in the classroom. The Thai program is considered the least important and currently the school has placed an 11 or 12 year old boy in K2 with 3 and 4 year old children. The reason is unclear, but rumor says that it's because he has no Thai. I cannot believe the school cannot provide this pre-teen with better options.
The ESC program is a little more expensive and they have foreign teachers teaching English. English is taught 7 hours a week in each class + 2 Maths classes. They do not have a sport time, but 1x 1 hour Physical Education class per week. The number of students in some of these classes are up to 30. Some have less. The stated number says (25 students) but of course that is not happening. In the English Program I have heard the numbers are up to 25 in some classes, but I am sure in others I have managed to count more. As many as 28. However, this is not necessarily accurate as there may have been extra students from other classes at my time of counting. I know that in EP they do have science, maths, English. I do not think at this stage they teach history or geography and certainly not in ESC. Although more books have been added for students to complete in Thai. I think an extra 4 books have been added on top of their current number being 12. That will bring up the number of books to be completed by the students to 16.
The most common complaint among the foreign teachers is that the books are way above the ability of the children in both ESC and EP. It becomes a copying experience and no thinking is required by the students. This is the main problem, as I have mentioned before. We are living in a constant changing world where the future is for those who are able to creatively problem solve. There are many effective ways to foster in children the ability to question and to find answers to their questions. Not just about their community, but the world. Isn't this important? Especially where globalization is real and active?
The subjects include; Art, music, computer, Physical Education, dance and drama (up to K3). EP also has science. There is no real organised sport, however, there have been foreign teachers who have in the past committed to help children develop some skills as in basketball, football.
Electives may take place in the Matium level, but I don't have information regarding this level at this stage.
Posted 2010-08-02 22:11:10
i think its fair to say that any further discussions on kajon is worthless at this point.. With all that has been said, you would have to be a disciple of Charles Manson to send your kids there.
let's get to other schools?
Posted 2010-08-02 22:48:16
Lol...I agree!! I thnk all that needs to be said was said. As I've mentioned before. Shop around, be careful with your decision. When you want to buy a home you check it for termites, foundational layout, building materials used etc., Your child is worth a lot more than that. Don't be afraid to ask questions and more questions.
Posted 2010-08-03 07:54:13
OP, where else have you taught and how long have you been teaching to make these observations? Do you plan to stay at Kajon or do you have something else already lined up?
Edited by steelepulse, 2010-08-03 07:55:23.
Posted 2010-08-03 09:07:01
Well, its not that bad
The thing with Kajon is that they pretend to be a upper class high quality "international" school, including their pricing, but in reality is on par or below some thai public schools in the way they teache and treat kids.
Only aircon, english speaking teachers and pricing makes them "better" than some of the public thai schools. Location is also attractive for most parents.
In public schools kids are allowed to fail, if they lack knowledge.
Posted 2010-08-03 11:49:36
Re: Satree School... just checked with my Thai staff and they claim that you need to live (or be registered) in the Phuket City area (on Tabien Baan) to be able to send your kids to that school. Not sure if this is correct !?
Posted 2010-08-03 13:27:56
I have had private lessons with 3 or four students from Rawai who are atttending Satree. Having money probably helps.