Shortly before our departure, our second workshop took place. It targeted the problem of the limited number of methods used in the Lao English classroom. The aim was to show the teachers more creative and effective ways to plan their lessons in addition to the (mandatory) book. The need for a diversity of methods became very clear to us, right from the beginning of our stay. Besides the typical “I say, you repeat!” drill pattern there were almost no methods noticeable.
Due to our experiences on-site and through our talks with the Lao teachers, we were able to target some of the problematic issues we had observed such as noisy classes and monotonous lessons. Hence we presented methods for calming down the students, rituals for starting and ending lessons, activating the pupils’ previous knowledge and increasing the pupils’ level of participation, in short, the tricks of the trade.
About 20 teachers from Sikeud and Phang Heng attented the workshop at Sikeud Secondary School and were very interested in the topic. By giving examples for every method and using them together with the teachers, we were able to see straight away where there were problems. This way we were able to clarify all the guidelines and things to know straightaway.
The feedback about the workshop was very positive and we are glad that we were able to support the teachers in becoming aware of the benefits that a variety of methods can have for their lessons, their professional growth, and their pupils.
Text by: J. Reissig, I. Stryj, J. Brecht
Photos by: I. Stryj