How do you prepare students to be leaders?
It’s all about giving students the skills to be good leaders, and providing them with experience to practise leadership. So, at DBS we concentrate on our ‘Four Pillars’: an Enhanced British Curriculum, Academic Excellence for All, Entrepreneurship and Creative Thinking, and Community and Global Perspectives.
How does an ‘Enhanced British Curriculum’ result in ensuring good leadership?
There are many schools that deliver a British curriculum, but few enhance it. We have a much longer school day than other schools, so that we can deliver that enriched curriculum, and allows time for projects, educational visits, societies, sport, music and drama. A fulfilling and diverse co-curriculum ensures that students acquire the ‘soft skills’ that are so important to be effective leaders, such as independence, initiative and resilience.
How does ‘Academic Excellence for All’ help in acquiring leadership skills?
Students are encouraged to embrace a challenging academic curriculum, and to be fully engaged in their learning. All students should be able to reach, and indeed exceed, their potential. This is done through motivational teaching, rewarding student achievement, curriculum design and investing in educational resources. Students who work hard academically are constantly adding to their lexicon of experiences to make them outstanding leaders of the future.
What about ‘Entrepreneurship’?
As educators, we have a responsibility to prepare young people to be truly global leaders, with an entrepreneurial outlook. We give students opportunities to be team players, and to gain leadership experience. An innovative, problem solving approach is encouraged in class, and critical thinking is promoted, too. Every day, teachers urge students to step outside their comfort zone, and to take risks.
And Preserving Thainess?
Thai values are placed at the heart of the DBS ethos. We teach our students the importance of respect, thoughtfulness, kindness, generosity, mindfulness, service and charity. All of these attributes help the student to become a leader with a vital moral compass. DBS provides effective pastoral support for individual students in order for them to reach their potential. My wife, Lisa, is the Well-being Manager at DBS, and the Well-being programme provides an opportunity to practise self-control, decision-making and management of stress: in other words, promotion of emotional intelligence. We encourage students to develop the life skills that they will need to be happy and fulfilled leaders of the future.
So how are you making the DBS vision a reality?
The teaching body is the driving force for implementing the vision. Our teaching team is mostly from the UK, so they are very experienced with the British curriculum. They engage fully with the students. They have a real passion for their subject area, and the ability to explain it. They are committed to delivering first-rate pastoral care and a wide variety of co-curricular activities. As Well-being Manager at DBS, Lisa’s responsibility is not only to the students, but also to the staff. A happy staff has a hugely positive impact on the students.
Your wife seems to be quite a high profile presence at DBS. Is this deliberate?
Yes, indeed. Lisa is always around the school, engaging in conversation with students and staff. These informal exchanges are very important to build trust, so that more serious discussions may be facilitated. Lisa is also an important link to the parents.
How do you engage parents to help with the nurturing of future leaders?
We build successful parental engagement by establishing a personal link with DBS for each set of parents. We warmly welcome parents to school events, coffee mornings, educational talks, etc. Communication with parents is key; about what the curriculum means and about their child’s progress. This includes formal written reporting and parent-teacher meetings; informal meetings at pick up and drop off; parental visits to classrooms; and regular updates via social media and weekly newsletters. By pulling together in the same direction, at school and at home, we can ensure that the students develop into well-adjusted, skilled-up future leaders.
Some have said that the DBS location is too far for many expats
At first glance, DBS may seem quite a way from the central area of Bangkok, but for those travelling to and from DBS, where the air is cleaner, much of the journey is against the traffic. Indeed, DBS is not far from the expat community in Nichada Thani. The location means that we have the space to provide an inspirational teaching and learning environment. The campus is one of the largest in Bangkok, and the facilities here are excellent.
Any final comments?
Our vision for DBS is to firmly establish it as one of the best schools in Thailand, delivering first class education and developing as a beacon school, enriched by effective collaboration with all stakeholders. I hope that the Expat Life readers will consider joining the DBS community, to share in our unique and ambitious vision. If you would like to see the school in action, you would be most welcome at one of our Open Days!