As a crowning moment of the third phase of “Teaching English in Laos”, the project leaders received a high-ranking visit in January 2017: The Lao Minister for Education and Sports, H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune, visited the three schools supported by Angels for Children and the project activities in these schools.
After the visit of her colleague, the Vice-Minister Prof. Dr. Kongsy Sengmany in January 2016, an informal meeting with Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin and her then new Team III had been arranged in September very soon after their arrival, to pick up the threads and continue the talks.
Prof. Martin hands over a fruit basket to H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane Lachantaboune
Johannes Zeck hands over a flower bouquet
… and some gifts from BHS, marking the start of the new vocational training programme at the Lao-German Technical College
Saturday, 17 September 2016
… conducting informal talks (Johannes Zeck, Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin, Mme Gerlinde Engel, Mrs Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune, Mr Sivath Sonethavy, Mr Khamsing Nanthavongdoungsy)
… and with the first volunteers of the new team (David Schrep, Kerstin Petter, Pauline Kern), and Bouangeun “Linda” Hanthavong
After this meeting, H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane wanted to see the project for herself.
She came to visit on 10 January 2017, with staff from her Departments. Prof. Martin had also invited Mr Michael Heller along, Deputy Head of Mission from the German Embassy in Vientiane, and Mme Engel took the chance before the Minister’s arrival to show Mr Heller around the primary school Sikeud herself.
Mr Khamsing Nanthavongdounagsy and Madame Gerlinde Engel welcome Mr Michael Heller from the German Embassy
Mme Engel shows Mr Heller around
Bouangeun “Linda” Hanthavong looks forward to the visit
Flowers for the visitors from the pupils
Mr Heller receives a garland
… continued tour of the school
… and a peek into the classrooms
Mittaphone Sichampa teaches preschoolers to speak English
… and out
Daily tooth-brushing in the primary school Sikeud
… not finished: Mme has visions of more yet to come!
Project leaders Prof. Martin, Johannes Zeck, Gerlinde Engel, with Michael Heller (Chancellor of the German Embassy in Laos) during the visit of Minister Ms Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune
At 11 a.m., there was quite a delegation to lead from the primary school Ban Sikeud to the secondary school and then to the primary school Ban Phang Heng. Mrs Sengdeuane honoured the engagement of Angels for Children, mainly carried out and represented by Madame Gerlinde Engel, especially the investment into the three schools’ infrastructure, the new physics and chemistry laboratory and the computer room in the secondary school, the general education support, and last, but not least, the daily tooth-brushing programme. Her staff had brought donations with them and handed over many books and other education material to the secondary school. There was animated conversation the whole time with the school manager Mr Khamsing, with individual teachers, with AfC assistant Bouangeun (“Linda”), and the school children were asked questions, too. Once more one wished one could understand the Lao language!
Prof. Martin showed the work of Team III – which builds on the work of former teams – for instance the new techniques in foreign language teaching taught to the Lao English teachers, the use of modern didactic material in the lessons, the set-up of English Lending Libraries in all three schools, Workshops and Activities offered by the volunteers, the installation of the new Didactics Room in the secondary school, and the training of Lao teachers in didactics and in the English language by the volunteers – there was something new going on in every classroom that deserved to be pointed out and explained.
In the ensueing consultation, Prof. Martin and Johannes Zeck offered opening up the “Teaching English in Laos project” to H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane and her Ministry and Departments. A cooperation could be started with the help of grants and funding from third parties or the German Government. Our expertise and experience in English teacher training as well as curriculum and materials development, our strong interest in research in TESOL, and our practical experience in this project in three Laotian schools and one Technical College could form the basis for helping to develop English education in general countrywide, on behalf of the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports.
Staff members of the Ministry arrive
Mrs Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune arrives
Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin welcomes the Minister in the primary school Ban Sikeud
Director of the primary school, Ms Souphaphone Vongphachan, welcomes the Minister
Mme Gerlinde Engel shows her around
Meeting directors of other schools, who attended a meeting in the primary school Ban Sikeud
Prof. Martin shows the English Lending Library
Prof. Martin explains some of the teaching material
… and picture books (“Princess Smartypants”)
… language games material
… and flashcards
The Minister’s civil servant team in the AfC office
Prof. Martin explains communicative language teaching methodology
Mittaphone “Mit” Sichampa uses communicative teaching techniques with her preschool class: the colours in English
… and Mittaphone in action
… and the Minister catches a glimpse of communicative L2-teaching
“Do you “like”?”
Mrs Hanthavong and Mr Heller watch
Johannes Zeck shows the tooth-brushing station…
… to our curious guests
H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane and her staff receive garlands from the pupils
… in a traditional ceremony
And now to the new Didactics Room in the secondary school
Mr Bounleud Sengsavang explains the tandem work with the German volunteers
Ms Souksakhone Sidavan shares some self-made worksheets
Anika Broghammer of Team III proudly presents new teaching material produced in her tandems
Bounleud, David, Anika
And now, to the new chemistry and physics laboratory!
Mr Khamsing explains the foundation’s interest in the natural sciences
Book donations from the Ministry of Education and Sports
The computer room
Mr Souvanh Navong in action
H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane is now welcomed in the primary school Ban Phang Heng
In the teachers’ room, Mrs Bounpheng Singhalat shows a poster she uses in her Activities
In front of the secondary school
Book donations are lined up
Book donations are handed over
A gift card from Mme Engel, painted by one of the pupils
Linda with a pupil in the secondary school
That was a great visit!
Mme Engel shows the vocational training activities of the foundation and BHS Corrugated at the secondary school
Mme Engel says goodbye and come and visit us again!
The three directors of the secondary school, Mr Khampheng Bounthalavong, Mr Soukan Keosiththivong, and Ms Khanfeuan Luangxai
Lao – German joint effort
Another successful day, it seems!
We want to thank H.E. Mrs Sengdeuane for her visit and we are looking forward to our next meeting(s)!
In the meantime, we have secured new contacts and new funds and developed new research questions, which will be followed up in new pockets of time later this year – and the next visit is just around the corner.
Text by J. Zeck & I. Martin
Photos by I. Martin & S. Stöhrer