Touchstones in Myanmar
“Ten years of Touchstones Discussions in Yangon is beneficial for two basic reasons. One, the Touchstones mode of learning demonstrates that Myanmar students can excel in developing their higher intellectual capacities. Two, the mode of teaching shows that Myanmar teachers can become skilled facilitators. They can transform themselves from the ‘sage on stage’ to the ‘guide by the side.”
In Myanmar, The Diplomatic School in Yangon used Touchstones materials with high school and university students from 2002 until 2014 as a central part of their efforts to create a community of active and engaged learners. Students in the Pre-Collegiate Program at the Diplomatic School were involved in weekly Touchstones classes as part of their intensive preparation for post-secondary studies in the United States. In 2014, the Pre-Collegiate Program moved to its new location at Lumbini Academy in Yangon, where it is experiencing significant growth.
Drs. Jim and Dorothy Guyot have been instrumental in introducing and implementing Touchstones’ innovative pedagogy in Myanmar. This research paper delivered by Dr. Jim Guyot (Writings 2009), describes why Touchstones is an essential and proven part of their work in helping Burmese students to succeed in their collegiate studies. You can read more of Dr. Dorothy Guyot’s comments about the role of Touchstones in transforming education in Myanmar in the Oct 2012 paper she presented at the NIU Burma Studies Conference.
With great and rapid change taking place in Myanmar, there is growing opportunity for international organizations to work with Myanmar’s leaders to build an open and civil society.