Walk into King’s College International School Bangkok and you’ll be greeted with a soft and polite “sah wah dee khrap/khaa.” This will be accompanied by a wai, or the traditional Thai greeting in which a person’s places their palms together in front of their chest with a slight bow of the head.
As this suggests, at King’s Bangkok, a well-rounded education isn’t just about academics, arts and athletics; it’s also about culture, community and character development. The school’s pedagogy combines kindness with pastoral care. It’s a huge part of the school’s culture and what it stands for.
“Our pedagogy is to place focus on addressing the needs of the student at the right time,” says Headmaster Thomas Banyard. “If I was teaching a class and noticed that someone was upset, my priority is to find out what’s wrong with that child and support them.”
The school’s motto, “A great heart takes you further”, means several things to the schools’ faculty. For Banyard, it represents not just embedding knowledge and teaching into their students’ minds. “It’s about instilling good character such as kindness and mannerisms through their daily activities, and in everything they do,” he says.
He adds: “It’s not always about focusing on the outcome — or students’ results in their exams — but rather emphasising on their journey with us and developing their heart through friendships and activities that make them happy.”
Last year, the school held a pop up festival encircling the school’s values and to promote anti-bullying. Students were encouraged to foster relationships with their peers through a variety of activities. “I think values are really important to a whole education and person,” says Helen Searle, Head of Primary School.
Developing well-rounded pupils
Underpinning King’s Bangkok curriculum is its value of moulding students with great hearts and great minds. Their staff model values that the school holds dearly: good manners, kindness and wisdom. Here, pupils have the platform and tools to help them achieve academic excellence. They also have ample opportunities to pursue their passions through the school’s co-curricular programme.
Head of Science William James Byfield has always loved the subject, and his passion is reflected in his teaching. Byfield has held both pastoral and academic roles throughout his time at King’s Bangkok. He understands that, unlike him, not all students enjoy science as much as he does; some might even find difficulty in understanding the subject.
“If a student is underperforming, it could be due to an academic or pastoral issue,” he says. “There’s a lot we can do in the classroom in terms of tailoring the lesson such as scaffolding, incorporating sports, and collaborating with our sister school at Wimbledon for academic mentoring to make it easier for students to learn and understand.” This is just one example of the lengths the teachers at King’s Bangkok would go to accommodate their students.
Learning is equally interactive outside the classroom. Students get to figure out the mechanics of physics and design their own experiments to put theory into practice. Since classes have been conducted online due to the pandemic, students were sent packs of little equipment to conduct their own experiments at home.
To prepare students for the future, King’s Bangkok uses the inquiry approach where students solve problems, think for themselves and ask questions. “If I go into lessons, I want to see children thinking and learning. And if they’re just copying something off a board or filling in a worksheet, they’re not necessarily doing that,” says Searle.
This is complemented by an environment that develops self-reliant and effective team players as students are trained to work in groups, preparing them for life after school. They are guided to communicate authentically and to develop the necessary strategies to become competent, confident and compassionate leaders in a global environment — all of which are critical 21st century skills that can help students succeed in their careers.
A parent survey reflects that King’s Bangkok is on the right track. A total of 97% of parents surveyed agreed that the school encourages their children to treat others with kindness and respect; 94% of Primary School parents agree that their children are appropriately challenged in the classroom; while 96% of the Primary School parents agree that the school prepares their children well for moving on to the next stage of their education or employment.
Equally appreciative are the school’s parents. “My kids are very happy with the school. I’m equally happy with the school too. King’s Bangkok did the best job,” says one parent. Another notes: “My family loves King’s Bangkok, and it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We love the teachers here.”