Interpreter Jira Lapratanawiboon (left), Thai principal Areerat Wattanathongpiew and Brooklyn Superintendent Raelyn Parks watch
She came to visit Metro East schools as part of an exchange program, but Thai educator Areerat Wattanathongpiew was able to take in some local culture during her 15-day stay in the U.S. - such as a 20-inning game between the Cardinals and New York Mets.
Wattanathongpiew is the principal of the Rattanakosinsompoch Bangkhen School, a 2,500-student secondary school in Bankok, Thailand.
She visited U.S. schools through a U.S. State Department exchange program. Her local host, Brooklyn School District Superintendent Raelyn Parks, will visit Thailand in July.
Wattanathongpiew's stops included the Brooklyn, Madison, Venice, East St. Louis and Granite City school districts, as well as a meeting with officials from the Madison and St. Clair county regional offices of education.
Tuesday included a stop at Frohardt Elementary School in Granite City for a character assembly and classroom tour.
While there are many similarities, Wattanathongpiew said classes in her school are bigger and more formal, with more lectures.
She said she was impressed with the American style of leadership, which included a lot of encouragement.
"I like the way teachers work together and the techniques of teaching to encourage students to ask and answer" questions, she said, sometimes speaking through an interpreter. "I like the way the teacher and student interact with each other, it's a more friendly manner, more approachable."
She noted that Thai students are quieter and ask fewer questions, partly because their culture expects children to remain quiet.
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New York Times