Celebrating
a centenary
of Learning

  • 2
  • by Paradee Minchainant
  • graduated 2010
  • studied MEd in Educational Leadership, Policy & Development (ELPD)
  • from Thailand

I have applied the experience and knowledge I gained at the Graduate School of Education to my career, my hobbies and my daily life.

Growing up in a business-oriented family led me to pursue my studies in International Business Management at Chulalongkorn University, the leading university in Thailand. During my BA, I always seized opportunities to lead and be involved in various types of extra-curricular activities, knowing it would strengthen both my knowledge and personality. My most valuable experience was getting involved with Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE). SIFE is an international non-profit organization encouraging students to develop their skills and knowledge of business and apply them in a community setting to increase society’s welfare and become socially responsible business leaders in the future. This was achieved by creating and implementing educational outreach projects.

Since I had long been interested in the area of education and child development, I created SIFE projects based on children and youth. Doing these projects confirmed my educational interest in the formative years of children and youth education. We helped children and orphans in slum areas to create their own businesses as an alternative to illegal businesses such as drug trafficking. This project inspired me to start thinking about how my education knowledge could result in a better society. In 2006, after putting in a lot of effort as a project leader the previous year, I had an opportunity to be a senior project manager. I was responsible for two projects and three subprojects which covered a wide range of ages between five and 18.

My experience with SIFE helped me to develop as a person and as a leader, changing my perspectives and helping me to understand even more about the current affairs of my country and the world. These projects gave me hope by confirming that I could make a difference and enhance the quality of life of people in Thailand through better education.

As a result of working with many schools, interviewing parents and doing research about the learning process, I realised that Thailand was facing severe educational problems, including poor quality schools and a lack of viable educational alternatives. Thai parents have growing concerns about their children’s education; more capital has been invested into education and demands for alternatives are very high, but the result of investment is, as yet, unsure. As a result of all the successful activities I have done, I believe that I have the potential to be a part of the answer to the problem. I believe that in order to make effective education practical and sustainable, knowledge of business, leadership, communication and organization are needed alongside an awareness of the core concepts of Education as a field of study. Therefore, I applied for the MEd in Educational Leadership, Policy & Development at the University of Bristol.

As well as the in-depth knowledge I gained from the classroom, the diversity of multi-national students at the Graduate School of Education opened up my eyes to different points of view. I enjoyed sharing experiences, ideas and knowledge with peers from a wide spectrum of education systems and cultures. My classmates were from various backgrounds and job positions, from policy makers and implementers to recent graduates and experienced schoolteachers. I was also impressed by classroom activities such as role-play in the Managing People in Education unit. I enjoyed getting to know my own learning power in Transformative Learning and the “flamingo dance” in Effective Learning class.

After graduation, I returned to Thailand to help out with the family business selling cranes and machineries. I have applied the experience and knowledge I gained at the Graduate School of Education to my career, my hobbies and my daily life. As a marketing and sales executive, I focus on educating customers about the product features and safety aspects of working with machines. I also try to promote a learning atmosphere to drive my company to be a learning organization.

Moreover, I enjoy writing storybooks for children as my hobby. I also produce materials for Junior Achievement projects and give advice to educational outreach projects as I still believe that the power of education can make a positive change in society. Most importantly, I always seize any opportunities to learn more. I want to be an effective and lifelong learner so that I can contribute to Thailand’s education system and society as a whole.