Academically resilient children of a highland Lisu community of Thailand

Year: 2019


Type of paper: Abstract refereed

An educational gap exists between students from the ethnic and linguistic minority groups and children from the majority population in many countries. Children in highland communities in Thailand have the similar issues. Highland people have their own language and culture. As Thai language is, however, used and Thai teachers are assigned in the government schools in the highland, they learn subjects in Thai which is not their mother tongue. As a result, it is said that learning achievement of the highland children is likely to be lower than majority Thai speaking lowland children as they have to learn Thai and subjects at the same time.

This ongoing preliminary study on academic resilience of ethnic minority children from the highland in the northern Thailand explores influential factors to foster them to be academically successful to complete the compulsory education of Grade 9 or study further while others drop out or stop studying.

Interviews on primary and secondary school days were taken place from 2 female siblings, Ami and Alema in their 30’s, and their mother of one Lisu family from the highland in Chiang Rai to find out their attitudes to learning, environments and opportunities.

This is a part of the further research project of a case study at a Lisu village in Chiang Rai to find out more comprehensive outlook of academically resilient children at school and spot out a positive learning environment in the highland community where economic and social status have been also historically marginalized. The findings could provide some implication for a better education approaches to children in highland communities as well as at schools where an unfamiliar medium of instruction is mainly used in general.

The interview has found that Thai medium wasn’t considered as a burden by Ami and Alema themselves during their school days. They think the language was not an issue. Acquisition of Thai is understood in general as an essential factor for children to complete compulsory level of study or take further study. The finding, however, suggests, that they were more stimulated to learn by the interaction and relationship in the multiple environments around them such as family, friends, school, community and society as well as their personality and academic competence.