ASB Blogs

From diapers to diphthongs, early years’ education at The American School of Bangkok means a world of enthusiastic learners taught by dedicated, caring educators. “Worldwide” is probably a better word when describing ASB’s program which is offered at each campus. In total, in sections N-1 to K-2 there are 133 students, 10 teachers and 13 aides who come from 25 different countries.  These diverse global guys and gals blend smoothly to provide a firm foundation for learning that lasts a lifetime. No one knows the challenges and pleasures of these baby-to-beyond footsteps better than Green Valley principal Ryan Barnick.   He oversees the program and speaks as a parent of two early years’ students.   “The early years program has helped my children evolve in regards to their independence as the program is for more than academics.  In addition to becoming more independent, both my son and daughter have grown both academically and socially, and thoroughly enjoy coming to school each day. In fact, during extended breaks, without fail they each complain that they want to go back to school. The teachers in the program do a nice job balancing being supportive yet encouraging independence.”  That balance is crucial as the teachers are tasked with helping students from their first steps to their first compositions.  And a lot, lot more. These ASB’s teachers, whether just beginning their careers or having been in the classrooms long enough to greet former students returning from college, stress patience, planning and communication as key to educating in the early years. Such patience was on display as N-1 teacher Ms. Mandy DeBilzan talked about her role as the educator of the tiniest of the tiny.   She guides the wee ones’ first halting steps, and those steps are likely to go in any direction at any time. Now in her fifth year teaching she says, “The most challenging part of my job is meeting each and every one of my students’ needs. I have students that are coming into a school environment for the first time of their lives and my role is to lay a solid foundation for their futures. That means that I need to make sure to differentiate my lessons to accommodate every young learner. Making sure that each student is part of the lesson helps them to develop and grow into an individual. Finding the time to balance out all the necessities is the biggest challenge.” Ms. Mandy’s challenge as the in-the-beginning teacher, leads to N-2, then to K – 1 and then to a K-2 classroom where within two or three years students have learned to sight read and pronounce words like “differentiate.” Just ask one of the best, Ms. Yazmine Razack.                               The K -2 teacher has nearly two decades teaching, a college-aged son who graduated from ASB, and impressively Ms. Yazi’s students have reading scores that surpass grade-level norms and expectations. With an infectious, gentle smile that is reflected by her students, she attributes her students’ success to several factors.  “I think my students learn best when you teach with patience, consistency, and of course you have to work hard, too.” Not a little of that work involves communication where the ASB teachers have regular contact with parents to create an effective home-school partnership including phone apps, social media pages and newsletters.                                                      This communication is a welcome feature of early years’ education.  Ms. Mandy who daily chats with parents as they hand over their children, says, “The parents' major concerns at the N1 level is socialization and acclimating to a new academic environment that has structure and routine.”  Ms. Namoi Spingler, a parent who began her twin sons’ education at the Sukhumvit Nursery school agrees.  As her sons Cody and Jake, now in second grade, have advanced through school, Ms. Spingler says that the nursery school experience was critical.  “The teachers’ messages helped create an open environment where our sons told us, ‘I can really explore who I am.”  It was a fun-filled environment that nurtures little, curious minds. Nurturing and developing these young minds in a family-friendly environment is not without its concerns.  One teacher spoke of the need to maintain privacy and security in the social media communications, and others mentioned how hard it is to tell parents, well-intentioned though they are, that individual nannies can’t stay with children inside the classrooms. Still the teachers give their job 10 happy faces even on days when lunch is a passing thought that was left on the intersection of lost crayons and runny noses.  Ms. Yazi talks of reunions with adults who tell her decades after they left her room, that they recall all the fun they had and how they still apply life’s lessons learned in her classroom. Ms. Mandy, who is young enough to be one of Ms. Yazi’s grad students, sums it well and happily, “The most rewarding part of being an early years’ teacher is seeing how in the end of the year the toddlers that started the class are now kids ready for the next step in learning. They come in without any experience in academics and leave with a solid foundation. Knowing that I am helping in a small way to prepare each child for the next generation is the greatest reward.” 
The American School of Bangkok (ASB) is the first international school in Asia to integrate mindfulness techniques and skills into its existing standards of academic excellence. Based on current scientific findings of how the brain learns, The American School of Bangkok curriculum fosters vital skills for 21st century academic and career success. Our goal is to prepare all students with the capacities for creative thinking, mental agility and emotional balance. Mindful education is a variety of techniques applied in schools, universities and colleges to help children, students and teachers to improve their capacities for concentration, attention, conflict resolution and empathy often resulting in improved student performance and classroom environments. The Mindful Curriculum consists of three components: 1.  Self-awareness: Self-awareness practice is designed for an individual to gain greater knowledge of his or her own character traits, personal tendencies regarding their conscious and unconscious feelings, motives and desires. 2.   Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence training is designed to increase one’s emotional awareness and management thereby improving one’s capacities for skillful expression of emotion, communication within interpersonal relationships in ways that are more thoughtful and empathetic. 3. Mental Development: Mental Development practices are comprised of several types of breathing and physical movement techniques that can empower student learning. It results in improved attention, regulation, mental clarity and agility, which are important and effective academic performance. But in addition, these practices can assist each student in developing their own mental culture of serenity and compassion. Each ASB student will benefit from realizing how he or she learns best through body and mind awareness, and how this can enhance emotional and social intellect, character, and leadership skills. These competencies are essential in a global marketplace that focuses on performance, information assimilation and cross-cultural teamwork. Utilizing the most cutting-edge research in mindfulness education from around the world, ASB strives to bring the human development of our students to their highest calling. The resulting achievements of this initiative will be measured in conjunction with ASB’s standardized tests as well as the cognitive and affective mindfulness scale to evaluate curriculum impact. Our commitment at ASB remains to provide our students with an American oriented educational experience in an environment of academic achievement, English language proficiency, and the support of community values. Our curriculum is continuously developed and refined through state of the art research benefiting from the mindfulness curriculum and best practices of other K-12 schools in USA and Europe. These curriculums have reported improved student achievements in academic performance, attention enhancement, new dimensions of emotional resiliency and the ability to manage stress. Our curriculum innovations are led by a faculty skilled in K-12 education as well as contemporary mindfulness techniques.
Here’s a quick hands-on experiment.  Check the clothing labels in your closet.  Chances are you’ll find the articles come from nearly as many countries as there are garments, and most likely the labels will be printed in English.  Might even be some saying, “Made in Thailand.” For many families results like these suggest the benefits of an international education with an English-langue curriculum.   Schools, particularly those with established reputations of excellence, can prepare students for a seamless transition into an increasingly competitive and connected world. For leading students and student leaders who welcome challenges, schools such as The American School of Bangkok  provide ideal settings for young people to maximize their skills and potential in a global microcosm. In short, a truly authentic international school affords students from many countries an opportunity to excel in a global village with global learners.  These diverse learners, separated on paper by nationality are united in person in schools that promote common values as they master English a common language.   ASB, for example, is a highly regarded international school that propels students to excellence in an American curriculum with an international perspective.  Each of the two campuses features rigorous academic programs that have created educational pathways to academic success for more than 35 years.  In that time, each of the graduates has attended college and many have already distinguished themselves in professions and businesses.  Currently ASB is home to students from approximately 45 countries.    The graduates have been accepted in prestigious schools including the University of California Berkeley, Purdue, Ohio State, University of British Columbia, the University of Chicago and the University of Washington.  The groundwork for these international citizens and global ambassadors has been laid by an accomplished ASB faculty.   Currently there is a staff of over 100 certified and professional teachers, many with advanced or master certifications in their teaching field. The majority of the faculty is recruited directly from the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The educators have an abundance of experience, not only in education but also in other areas of expertise, such as fine and performing arts, business studies, information technology and foreign languages. Accordingly, this faculty diversity allows students to excel in and out of the classroom.  Academically, ASB has been acknowledged by College Board as the only school in Thailand authorized to offer the elite Capstone Diploma.  As of School Year 2016/17 students can join a cohort pursuing the rigorous program that requires a minimum of five successful advanced placement classes.  In offering this opportunity ASB stands alongside other leading regional international schools such as The American School in Japan, Singapore American and Hong Kong International. Beyond the classroom ASB is also alone in providing students an in-house golf program. The Green Valley campus neighbors a 7000 yard, Bobby Jones-designed golf course, and striking while the irons and woods were hot, the founder incorporated these serendipitous surroundings into the curriculum with the International Preparatory Golf Academy.  Students enrolled in this program combine class work with golf sessions enhanced by technology and electronic driving ranges inside the school, putting greens outside by the main gate and a minimum of 36 holes a week on the adjacent course.  This IPGA curriculum is unique to ASB in Asia and has helped senior Panat Bodhidatta earn a golf scholarship to the University of Washington.  He says, “The (ASB) program with the new facilities has helped me win 10 tourneys, earn a scholarship and prepare me to join the PGA.”   To date nine students have earned golf scholarships. Moreover, the scholarship program is expanding.  The school’s vigorous performing arts program which this year has featured major musical productions at each campus has just announced a scholarship program for Thai students who will compete in a nationally broadcast quiz show, “The Learning Curve.”   The top 100 applicants will compete for the honor becoming one of the nine finalists, each of whom will be eligible for scholarship consideration.  Beyond the Thai television scholarship, ASB offers scholarships to international students based on academic merit and leadership potential.  Information about these programs is available at www.asb.ac.th. When browsing that web site please pause to look at the expressions of the students and educators who thrive in the environment.  The school founder, Lakhana Tavedikul, characterizes these surroundings noting, “We  are  proud  of  the  fact  that  we  have,  and  are  continually  creating successful,  kind  and  caring  young professionals with strong values who are able to contribute to a better world of tomorrow. “ This thought captures the qualities of the school. Like the finest of international labels found in our closets, we like to think the brand, “ASB made in Thailand, for over 30 years, especially for our students ” stands apart from the others.  

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02 May 2018

The American School of Bangkok proudly...

02 May 2018

Dear ASB Sukhumvit Parents,

I would...

23 Mar 2018

On March 18 – 22 the WASC Accreditation Team...

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ASB Blogs

  • Here’s a quick hands-on experiment.  Check the clothing labels in your closet. ...

  • The American School of Bangkok (ASB) is the first international school in Asia to integrate...

  • From diapers to diphthongs, early years’ education at The American School of Bangkok means a...

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