For over thirty years, Bonas MacFarlane has guided families along the pathways of education, securing routes that are both efficient and exploratory. Thanks to an introduction to Angie and Sik by a remarkable man, James, Lord Palumbo of Southwark, we now help families in Thailand.
Bonas MacFarlane has a one-to-one approach that identifies and helps students understand their unique cognitive make up. This is the most efficient route to becoming a truly independent learner and an effective thinker. And yet, the route is more vital than the destination. From challenging progressions are drawn clear truths and stern resolve. Brave journeys succeed, regardless of where they end. Some will fail, because achievement exists at the limits of capability, and clear pathways to discovery or resolution are rare – from a new vaccine to a revision of a ruler’s legacy. Besides, artistry and heritage allows misfortune to be accorded even gallant resolution: Shakespeare’s greatest characters are heroic failures; the finest lyrics of the Beatles describe frustrated outcomes; Cheltenham College is unashamed at having the most old boys killed by tigers. Be that as it may, Bonas MacFarlane has helped thousands of children succeed beyond expectation.
While family and cultural identity must take priority over choice of school, children learn much about their homeland from a distance. We also aspire to educational reintegration. British and Thai approaches to knowledge may share Sanskrit roots – a commonality going back five thousand years. One Thai word for knowledge that sounds like ‘witaya’ has a similar meaning to the crisp English word, ‘wit’, which is to apply learning and natural, fluid intelligence to innovation and original comment, in a clever, humorous and beneficial way. The currents of history have carried the English language far and wide to become the Lingua Franca of Liberal Arts education and research. And perhaps we may blend the wit and innovation of English with a similar culture in Thailand, where practical intelligence builds enterprises for a common good.
Education, like art is a search for resolutions that are true. Academic disciplines, from Maths and scientific method to high art, may aspire to ordered, harmonious resolutions that quell discord; or they can leave discord as a constant dissonance beyond our power to manipulate – after all, the most stubbornly prime of numbers live side by side the most factorable. That is where journeys in education may lead: to a sublimity of academic truth which, discordant or harmonious, inspires lifelong curiosity, structured creativity and constant analytical observation. And while we must equip our young to prevent the misuse of machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, by definition, cannot experience that uncontrived, human yearning for a greater understanding of the infinite, but with only finite means at our disposal.
The key message: start the preparation for these journeys early and with professional help. That way parents can discover the route that is matched to their children’s individual strengths, manage the lingual and academic preparation in good time, and nurture differentiators. Bonas MacFarlane takes the long view, guiding children all the way through their education (we now help children of our former students). As with any great journey, one cannot be over-prepared. Children should have no limit on the number of good people who are invested in securing the best outcomes for them.
And this leads us full circle back to Angie and Sik. Education comes from the Latin ‘educare’ and ‘educere’ – rich words, meaning to bring out, through leadership and academic wit, the divine qualities in the soul. Our two leaders, of vitality and high minded purpose, are also wise. For most, wisdom is a reward for surviving a lifetime of mistakes. Rarely is wisdom the travelling companion of youth.
by Charles Bonas