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    Posted December 23, 2013 by
    218 Moo 2, T.Namprae, A.Hang, Thailand

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    The “Wisdom” of a ten year-old child - Learning the hardest subject in the world from One Rice Field


    We might say “wisdom is the career of farmers” because wisdom means not only knowing or reading but also learning, analyzing and practicing. Wisdom cannot be tested for. It rises naturally from following a Buddhism approach to life.

    Chiangmai Buddhist education school, Panyaden, is situated in a peaceful environment with its simple by yet modern-design building made from earth and bamboo. Students from various different countries enjoy learning and doing activities together in the spacious green environment.

    It might seem at first that Panyaden is like all the other alternative schools that have been opened in this last 3-5 years. However, Panyaden’s unique strength is in the integration of Buddhist principles and a modern bilingual curriculum, resulting in a holistic education. Self-sufficiency, self-discipline and the application of analytical skills and common sense are important attributes for a child not only in school but also in any situation.

    Primary students here learn differently from regular schools that focus mainly on examinations instead of real practice. Students are as comfortable in the rice field as the classroom, learning mathematics from counting the rice sprouts, studying science by observing the plant cycle from planting to harvesting, then cooking and serving the fruits of their labour on their own plates. This particular form of study provides a deeper result than simply learning in the classroom.

    From rice farming alone, students will learn many subjects all at the same time, like mathematics, science and physical education. More importantly, they learn to respect the work of farmers and to be grateful to nature, virtues which are some of the most difficult to teach in the world.

    Through these and other activities students learn and practice the school’s key learning goals, the 12 Wise Habits such as generosity, mindfulness, patient endurance, perseverance, concentration and wise reflection.

    We complain about how poor the Thai education system is, but we still send our children through the same system, again and again. Primary students are expected to pass examinations which filter them into a system that really underestimates human ability time and time again, ending up with a job which they can do but have no passion for.

    Alternative schools are not many people’s first choice. But we do have a choice. We can choose for our children to focus on academics or we can choose that they know how to live their life wisely. We can choose to praise them when they become a good person. Or we can compare them against something which has little use. It is our choice.

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