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Vol 40  No 3
September 20, 2007



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Education students intern in Phuket
by Heidi Wicks

From left, Stephanie Hodder, Dr. George Hickman, Danielle Pollard, Ashley Kinsella and Ryan White. (Photo Submitted)

The British International School in Phuket, Thailand, is providing another global opportunity for students in Memorial’s Faculty of Education to gain teaching experience in other parts of the world.

The school has developed its own curriculum based on the best practices in England and Wales, as well as other international curricula. Some 43 per cent of the school’s students are native Thai children and adolescents, and 57 per cent are from more than 40 different countries around the world, and the curriculum Memorial interns follow is according to the program here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Parents send their children to this school because of its high academic standards and highly-regarded status as a top private school.

Dr. George Hickman, a former professor and director of Human Resources at Memorial, is now headmaster of the British International School. He is thrilled with this year’s interns.

“There are four tremendous young people from our province in my school this semester completing their teacher internship program through the Faculty of Education at Memorial,” he said. “These four have already displayed the excellence of their teacher training at Memorial and are working alongside four teacher mentors in our school. They have the opportunity to learn from some of the best teachers in the world, and this cannot help but open some doors for them in the future.”

The interns are equally as excited about the adventure they face. They are keeping a photo diary of their experience in Phuket, and are enthusiastically anticipating this learning opportunity.

Ashley Kinsella, one of the interns, is busy but excited, enjoying every moment of her experience.

Students from the British International School in Thailand. (Photo Submitted)

“I love my class. I am in Y3, which is equivalent to Grade 2. There are only 15 students in my class, which provides for a lot of time available to each student. My co-operating teacher has been at this school for four years and was previously teaching in Bangkok. He’s a fantastic teacher and I’ve already learned a lot from him.”

Clearly, the interns are kept active, however, this doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying teaching in what many say is the world’s most naturally beautiful country.

“Living in Thailand has been fun, and has seemed like a vacation up until the past week once school started,” Ms. Kinsella admitted, and played it ever-so-slightly blasé discussing their free time.

“Hitting the beaches on the weekends is a nice way to relax away from the campus and outside of school. Waking up to palm trees and 30 plus temperatures every morning is something else we cannot complain about. We’ve met a lot of different people from all over the world. It’s been a learning experience for sure and we are only a quarter of the way through it.”

Jealous yet?

As in any travel situation, there are some kinks to work out, namely when it comes to language barriers. The program follows the British school curriculum, and in the Queen’s Country a bag of chips is a packet of crisps, a roll of toilet paper is a loo roll, and an intern is…well, there is no equivalent terminology for an intern. Hence, “it was a little confusing at first for people to understand our role in the school,” Ms. Kinsella said.

The kinks to be massaged are small potatoes, compared to the mountainous experience these interns are absorbing.

“All and all it has definitely been an experience to remember thus far and hopefully just will continue to get better and better. It’s a lot of hard work, but will be worth it all in the end,” Ms. Kinsella concluded.


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