Editor’s note: In the university cooperation between the University of Education Karlsruhe (PH KA), Germany, and Savannakhet University (SKU), Laos, Mr David Schrep was our first German volunteer to spend the academic year 2018/19 at Savannekhet University, together with his fiancée Ms Veronika Kissel, who did volunteer work at a local kindergarten.
In the post “A new partnership: Lao university delegation visits University of Education Karlsruhe – the German perspective” (20 March 2019), I introduced the goals of this cooperation:
“This programme has three goals and is piloted in the academic year 2018/19:
- It provides the linguistic and organisational basis of our joint grant applications and research projects in English, natural sciences, and food science;
- it gives the German returnee-volunteers the opportunity to go back to Laos when they are fully qualified teachers to tandem-work at a higher level and for longer together with Lao SKU staff;
- it supports Lao SKU staff in teaching methodology and general professionalisation and thus helps to improve the quality of education in Laos.
1-2 volunteers are invited by SKU to spend an academic year at the university, receive a Lao intensive language course, and are also subsequently supported. In return, the volunteer(s) teach 20 hours in English (5 English, 2×5 tandem, 5 for students or special purposes).”
David had been a member of Team III in Ban Sikeud back in 2016/17 and went back for another “Laos Experience” as a fully qualified teacher after having completed his studies at the PH as an English and sports teacher for secondary schools as well as the ensuing 18-month practical pre-service training phase in the summer of 2018.
Besides assisting the Lao-German partners in the administration of their second cooperation, the Erasmus+ Mobility programme, David taught his own “English & teaching methodology” class to 30 SKU staff and also worked with four tandem-partners, two in each term. Our thanks go to David for his pioneering work – no easy job by any means. Here come two appraisals of his work by two of the staff who took his class, Mr Napha Khothphouthone (who was also his tandem-partner) and Ms Viengvilaiphone Botthoulath. They both also since participated in the Erasmus+ Mobility programme and already published several articles about their “German Experience” on this blog.
One good thing leads to another.
Napha Khothphoutone: “Learning English With David”
I am very proud and honor that I was a part of English intensive with Mr. David Schrep, the great teacher from Germany and he is my first foreigner teacher. His class was very exciting I learned a lot of English teaching skills from him, while I was studying in the class I always expected for the surprise teaching method and I was not disappointed. I wonder he is from Germany but he speaks English like his own native language. I was very impressive with his way of speaking. Moreover, I was very lucky that I was in the group of Tandem teacher that more value with my job. He observed my classes and reflected after the classes. To be honest, in the first class of mine that foreigner sat at the back of class watching I taught is very nerves and I lost control, but my feeling was better class by class. At the end of class, before we started the reflection I said “David please be honest with me I would not get mad, your honesty will help me a lot please tell me what you saw that I need to improve on, I really want to develop” and he was always honest with me. He is like my mirror.
Viengvilaiphone Botthoulath: “First meet Erasmus+ Mobility Programme and German volunteer”
Hello, I am Viengvilaiphone Botthoulath, or you can call me” Vieng”. I have been working as a lecturer for almost 4 years at the Faculty of Food Science, Savannakhet University (SKU). I am 26 years old. In the middle of September 2018, SKU had an announcement on English skill level testing for teachers who are interested in upgrading their English skills. This project is called University cooperation between SKU and University of Education at Karlsruhe, Germany, volunteer teacher David Schrep and Dr. Martin, Professor at the English Department of the University of Education at Karlsruhe, took on the academic side of the project and its development. Dr. Phetsamone KHATTIYAVONG, the Dean of Faculty of Linguistics and liberal arts at Savannakhat University, who is the leader of the project from Laos side in this project.
Actually, I applied to test my English level, to attend the English course. Unfortunately, the day of examination conflicted with the day of my examination for training in the Indian Embassy for a different stay abroad, so I could not join this examination. At the time, I thought that there was no chance for me at all, and to be honest, I felt a bit sad. However, I am thankful that Dr. Martin and David still give me a chance to have an interview regarding selection for exchange of staff and doctoral candidates under the project of Erasmus+ Mobility Programme on Dr. Martin’s last day at SKU. I was really excited and nervous during the first 5 minutes of the interview, since it was the first time for me to meet Dr. Martin and David. The interview took almost 15 minutes, and Dr. Martin commented, “Ms Vieng, I truly appreciate your commitment”. Her words and warm smiling face really attracted and impressed me. She is the kind of woman I must try to emulate in my career. Near the end of the interview, there was a question from David, “Ms Vieng, would you like to refresh your English?” I didn’t hesitate to response him, “Yes!” It will be an honor to learn with such experts and have the chance to be a part of this English language intensive course training.
Refreshing English from David’s intensive course to new training experience in India
On October, 24th 2018 at 9:00 am, with sunshine and nice weather. It was the first time and the first day of my training in the Center Institution Fisheries Technology, Cochi, Kerala, India, India, in which the courses were conducted in English. Now it was time for me to apply the English that I had learned from David’s course. There were only 4 participants in this training course, one representative each from Buthan, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Laos. I felt honored to join the training. I felt really excited to meet those participants, since it was the first time for me to meet Mr Jigdrel Dorji, Mr Hafttom, and Dr. Soffo Valentine from Buthan , Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, respectively. The English accents from Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire and of the Indian lecturers from Southern India were a bit unfamiliar for me. At the beginning, I did not understand clearly what they were saying during the discussions in the class. However, after a few days passed, I could adapt to pronunciation. I was truly thankful to David’s course, it really helped me feel more confident and more relaxed to talk with them.
Text by N. Khotphouthone & V. Botthoulath, with editor’s notes by I Martin
Photos by I. Martin & V. Botthoulath