Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Staff Emeritus Expands IMSA's Worldwide Influence

IMSA Staff Emeritus Dr. David Workman continues to expand IMSA’s influence worldwide, even after retiring in 2007, and students at IMSA and in Thailand reap the benefits.

IMSA Staff Emeritus Dr. David Workman with teachers from Mahidol Wittayanusorn School in Thailand.

In March and April, former IMSA physics teacher and Staff Emeritus Dr. David Workman will host three teachers from Thailand at IMSA and will help them design an inquiry course that will prepare students at the Mahidol Wittayanusorn School (MWITS) to conduct individual projects in research and inquiry.  The course will be taught to all incoming 10th grade students at MWITS, and Dr. Workman will be the lead teacher for the first half of the course this year at the Thailand school.

This culminating project came as a result of his work for six months in 2008 at MWITS, the premier mathematics and science school in Thailand, where he demonstrated IMSA’s inquiry and problem-based methods to students at the school.  

“I’ve benefitted by learning that students are the same the world over,” Dr. Workman said.  “There are gregarious ones, quiet ones, confident ones and apprehensive ones; but all will respond if challenged to excel.”

During his time in Thailand, Workman conducted professional development workshops with eight Thai science teachers and taught the demonstration class Scientific Inquiries and the Nature of Science to 23 students.  Evaluations of the class showed that the students showed a significant increase in confidence and positive attitudes toward learning science when compared with students in the standard core science courses.  

The results were so positive that Workman was invited to extend his work with the school in the joint collaboration between IMSA and MWITS.  The collaboration is expected to have national implications for education in Thailand, where the methods could be extended to the 12 sister schools of MWITS and then to schools throughout Thailand.

“If we’ve learned anything from the current economic troubles, it’s that the world is one and what happens in one place affects people everywhere,” Workman said.  “Thailand is a small country that knows it will become an economic backwater if it doesn’t learn to compete worldwide.”

Contributions by Dr. David Workman, IMSA Staff Emeritus and former IMSA Physics teacher.