Ooooh, topical! This week, Greg and Ed discuss the unique role of teachers in Thai society, where educators occupy a uniquely reverential role, often in stark contrast to western countries, where it is ‘just another job.’ Ed notes that the issue of how teachers are treated is near and dear to his heart, given that he has spent the last twenty years teaching Thai students.
But Ed makes clear that (in his opinion) there’s a contradiction between the type of independent-minded graduates that Thailand would like to create and a traditional education system that requires this level of reverence for teachers. It’s almost as if critical thinking and independent thought actually depend on disobedience (at least a little anyway).
Greg reads an interesting passage on the history of Thai education that notes that monks originally worked as teachers, which leads to his theory that some of the extreme respect afforded monks was transferred to the concept of “a teacher” as they split off into their own profession. Ed concurs and adds that Chinese culture is steeped in Confucianism’s reverence for social hierarchies, and Thailand likely was affected by the spread of Chinese culture across Asia.
Either way, there’s no need to listen to us – the Thai students protesting now are pretty much saying the same thing!
We also take a listener voicemail all about the best pizza in Bangkok! We’re not experts, but our friends at BK Magazine have something to add.
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