The role of a teacher must go beyond lecturing in an era where advanced technology alienates people from one another and online information is a mix of truth and lies, Royal Society member Prof Emeritus Sumon Amornvivat said at a recent summit.
Teachers must arrange a learning process for students' physical and mental development for a well-rounded well-being, she said at the 11th Annual Congress for Teacher Professional Development at the IMPACT Muangthong Thani on October 17-19.
With calls for equity, rights and liberty as the country becomes more of a democratic society, education emphasising life and social development becomes more varied and teachers' roles expand from being a lecturer of knowledge to also managing the learning process to develop the youths' brains, hearts and minds.
Teachers should also be students' friends to help keep them on the path for good as children spend four to seven hours a day at school. This is enough time to forge a loving bond, she said, that will lead to endless learning opportunities and lasting friendships, the 86-year-old Sumon said, adding that she has stayed in contact with former students and younger generations.
Education is a human development process that eradicates ignorance and promotes knowledge and wisdom, she said.
An independent committee for education reform member, Prof Emeritus Charas Suwanwela, said teachers were important for the country to overcome poverty and become more competitive.
The Thailand 4.0 policy for education did not limit learning to only computer and technology system development, but also to innovative management of education and gave more freedom to restore faith to teachers, students and schools.
"The role of Faculty of Education does not end when students graduate and get their degree, but also serves as life-long education. They must become the Transformative Education as there is the need for flexibility and constant self-improvement," Charas said.
Transformative Education allows learners to engage in appropriate and challenging ways of learning and to critically assess and develop their beliefs, values and habits of thinking that they will have learnt uncritically when younger.
Charas also urged school administrators to have an open mind and be more supportive to changes in digital and social transformation.
The Digital Learning Platform should be applied to boost education quality, reduce inequity and create the community of learning, he said. The education reform needed co-operation from all sides, he added.
The EDUCA 2018 was held with the theme promoting the Value of Teachers in response to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)'s report published earlier this year that cited a crisis where teachers were suffering from stress and burnout and another study that found fewer than a third of teachers believe that teaching is a valued profession.