Challenged to prove his mettle as a young school director of the family-owned Sunmanan School in Samutprakan Educational Service Area 1, Bangkok, Thailand, Ekapon was motivated to join ICeXCELS Thailand Class 2 (Module 1 and Module 2 for the Instructional and Curricular Excellence in School Leadership for Southeast Asia (ICeXCELS), under flexible learning tutor Dr. Ophelia P. Veniegas.
Through his readings, Ekapon was both fascinated and challenged to transform Sunmanan School into a learning organization. His plan called for the strengthening of the following organizational sub-systems: organization, people, knowledge, and technology.
To do this, Ekapon conducted a school-wide, three-round participatory action research (PAR,) from June 2009 to March 2010. This was brought down to classroom level as classroom action researches (CAR) conducted by individual teachers at the classroom level. It was done with the purposive involvement of the primary stakeholders—the teachers, the students, the parents, and Ekapon himself.
The first round of PAR was the ICT training which involved teaching the mentors on the use of the computer and the internet. In addition, cognizant of the vital role that teachers play in achieving organizational goals, Ekapon offered scholarships to those who needed to finish their education course and improve their competencies. The second round called for the actual web search by the teachers for more interesting and creative content and methodologies to enrich the teaching style. The technology-driven teaching-learning milieu, coupled with field exposures, proved to be effective in encouraging more active participation of students in the learning process. The parents too were engaged as observers during classroom visitations. The third round entailed sharing, through e-mail and blogs, of novel teaching technologies and strategies which the teachers haveformulated, implemented and tested through the classroom action research (CAR) they conducted during the second round of the PAR.
Ekapon carried out his functions as school head beyond the boundaries of ‘office work’. He involved himself in the operationalization of teaching-learning concepts for better student understanding and appreciation.
Ekapon successfully transformed their school into a learning organization where the knowledge and information generated, the utilization of information and communication technologies, the empowerment of teachers, parents and students, and the wise use of organizational resources were all geared towards the attainment of a ‘learning culture’.
Oliver Serrate. “Building a Learning Organization”, Knowledge Solutions, Asian Development Bank. May 2009. www.adb.org/knowledgesolutions/default.asp