We are Team IX – Introduction

Hello everybody, we are Team IX!

We are very glad to finally be able to introduce ourselves to all of you out there!

“We”, that includes Laura Jakob, Annabell Kosalla, Yvonne-Jacqueline Muss, Phi Ha Nguyen, and David Trendl. All of us are or were until recently students of teaching degrees at the University of Education Karlsruhe. When you read this, every one of our team members is either in the middle of a semester abroad, finishing their Bachelor thesis, or preparing for the oral First State Exams besides preparating for our departures to Laos. Because of this it was quite difficult to find dates for our preparatory team workshops when everybody would be available. At times, it felt like forever until our journeys would begin. In the months between our applications and actual departures we had three preparation workshops with Mr Johannes Zeck and Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin, we also kept getting updates on the new project partner in Vientiane, the “VEDI” (Vocational Education Development Institute), and then there were changes in the the numbers of volunteers and constellation of the team as well as the exact periods of our stays.

For most of us, the journey with this project already started long before the application deadline in May 2019 for Team IX. Some of us have been following the project’s progress for quite some time now. I, Jacqueline, for example, first read about the project back in 2015 when I applied for my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Education Karlsruhe – and I certainly never dreamed I would once be a part of it! One of our team members, Laura, has even already been part of the project before when she was a member of Team IV.

In July and August our team could finally be united for three preparatory workshops, during which we got to know each other and learned a great deal about Laos and the project from project returnees and project leaders Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin and Johannes Zeck.

This is us:

Team IX.A at the Lao-German Technical College (LGTC), Vientiane

David Trendl (Team IX)

Hello, my name is David Trendl (actually, it is David Konstantin Stefan Trendl). I do not know why my mother gave me such a long name. Either she was indecisive or just needed a long name to call me by in my teenage years when I did something foolish.
I am 29 years old and currently in my 6th semester on my way to becoming a teacher for the secondary classroom. My subjects are German and English and I am finishing my Bachelor’s thesis about German literature these days. I will go to the Lao-German Technical College in Vientiane to work together with my tandem-partners Ms Viengkhom Phyathep and Ms Moukdala Keomixai. Our tandem-goal is to professionalize ourselves and each other by bi-directional learning and teaching. The goal in my student classes is raising their current English proficiency level.  The “Special Task” I have chosen is to care of the Didactics Room/Lending Library, where I have to make sure that all items are put in the right place, kept in order, and that their lending process is documented correctly. We will bring a lot of new items with us (e.g. books, notebooks, pencils, rulers, etc.)  that will be added to the equipment already available and can then be borrowed, too.
Additionally, I will engage with some of the students at the LGTC (e.g. Mr Outh Sinminah) to work on the “Technical Dictionary[1]“, which the former team developed together in cooperation with the pupils and staff of the college. It already contains over 250 technical words (and some verb phrases) that are important for the education and work of the students here. I am very excited and grateful to be able to continue this work.

One of my hobbies is writing stories and poems, so I hope you will enjoy my monthly blog entries (I already have something in mind…). Certainly, I will give my best to not only supply interesting information about the development of the Laos project, but to also entertain our readers with a selection of poems that my time in Laos will inspire me to write.

 

Yvonne-Jacqueline Muss (Team IX)

Hello, my name is Yvonne-Jacqueline Muss, but my friends and family call me Jacqui or Jacqueline. I am 24 years old and a student in my 9th semester of my primary school teacher’s degree at the PH Karlsruhe. The subjects I study and will teach later on are English, protestant theology, German, and mathematics. Like David, I just recently finished my Bachelor’s thesis.

From the 15th of October 2019 until the 15th of January 2020 David and I will be working at the LGTC together. My tandem partners at the LGTC will be Ms Akina Yadsadahuk and Ms Ketsana Siphonephath. I am already looking forward to getting to know them very much! I will be (co-)teaching the LGTC teacher class “Technical Elementary” (which is a mixed group of the former Technical English and Elementary group) as well as the BHS beginner classes 1 + 2 and the BHS GM3-17 & ET3-17 English preparation Intermediate course. Furthermore, David and I are very excited about the new fact that we will each be teaching one to two hours of German lessons to one of the BHS apprentices at the LGTC. There will also be a  shared conversation class with both of these students which David and I plan on teaching together.
My “Special Tasks” are being the blog mistress as well as organising team meetings and writing minutes. I am already very excited about my stay in Laos because I have been following the project for a few years now, and because my participation in it will be my very first trip to another continent.
In my free time I like to sing and do “Bullet Journalling“. My Bullet Journal is a blank DINA5 paper notebook which I fill with a  mixture of a calendar, notes, photos, to-do-lists, and much more. It helps me to increase my productivity, my level of organisation, and it also allows me to let my creativity run free.

 

Team IX.B at the Vocational Education Development Institute (VEDI), Vientiane

Annabell Kosalla (Team IX)
Annabell Kosalla (Team IX)

Hello, my name is Annabell Kosalla, I am 27 years old and in the 12th semester of my primary school teacher’s degree with a bilingual profile. My main subjects are English and geography and I also studied German and mathematics as minor subjects.  Currently I am in the middle of completing my First State Exams, my final “act” at the PH Karlsruhe. When I am not busy educating my mind, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family or going to the gym.

After finishing high-school I travelled through Australia, and during my studies I did a semester abroad in Vancouver, Canada – both journeys were very valuable experiences that shaped me. Therefore, I am really looking forward to our time in Laos and to being part of the new project at the VEDI, where I will be working with one of my best friends, Phi Ha. A little later in December Laura will join and support us, too, to which I am looking forward to as well. I will be teaching English and working closely together with my tandem-partner Ms Sompalang Ngonphetsy, who I cannot wait to meet soon. My “Special Task” is organising team meetings and writing the minutes, to make sure that everything is documented so that everyone can follow our progress and is up-to-date.

 

Phi Ha Nguyen (Team IX)

Hello everyone, my name is Phi Ha Nguyen and I am 25 years old. I am in the 10th semester of my primary school teacher’s degree with a bilingual profile[2] at the University of Education Karlsruhe. My main subjects are English as well as geography and my minor subjects are German as well as mathematics. If all goes well, this will be my last semester at the university because I am currently doing my First State Exam. So, hopefully only one more month to go until I finally graduate! This is why the library became my “second home” in the last months, not leaving me with much time to do anything else except studying at the moment. However, when I am not in the midst of my State Exam, I really enjoy reading, dancing, especially Lindy Hop, and everything that involves coffee and/or food.

During a 10-day trip to Laos in 2014 I was able to get a glimpse of the incredibly open and warm-hearted Lao people and culture. Back then, I knew I would want to return one day, so when I heard about the project “Bi-directional teaching and learning in Laos”, I was very eager to apply.
Now I cannot wait to finish my studies to finally go back to Laos for a longer stay and fully dive into Lao everyday life! Together with Annabell and Laura, I will be working at the VEDI and there, we will be cooperating closely with the teachers, for example by observing and planning their lessons together with them. This also involves working with my tandem-partner Mr Khonkhame Phi Tak Soun Thone, whom I cannot wait to meet. My “Special Task” will be “media manager”, meaning that I will take care of digitalising and organising all the files we will collect during our stay so that the following teams can build on our work.
I am also very excited to start this adventure with my team and to learn a lot about our new home!

 

Laura Jakob (Team IX)

Hello everyone, my name is Laura Jakob, and I am 26 years old. Currently I am in my third Master term studying English and home economics. Some of our readers might remember me because I worked in Team IV at Ban Phan Heng secondary school. My first impressions of Laos and personal highlight are some of the memories that remain. I will be joining the project again to work at the VEDI this time. 

I am very excited to work in Laos again as the last time was an unforgettable experience for me. I enjoyed teaching and living in Laos because I was able to contribute to such an important cause and also develop as a human being as well. I hope to learn and teach and help as much as possible this time as well. Personally and professionally, I have a great interest in English education in Asia, as I have travelled the continent from a very young age. This is why I am also planning to do some academic research in my free time in Laos.
My other interests include learning languages such as Japanese, Korean, and recently Lao, as well as reading, cooking, and photography. I will be joining a little later in December due to my ongoing exchange term in South Korea, where I am studying at the Seoul National University of Education. After my term is finished, I will directly fly over to Laos to spend my semester holidays working as part of this meaningful project, this time in a new place and with a new partner!
(Editor’s note: The VEDI will be introduced in a separate post soon – the preparational 2-day visit by the project leader only just ended.)
My tasks will include working with my Lao tandem-partner Ms Vangkham Sisoulath, co-teaching and co-designing classes, and teaching English to students during “Activity Time”. Each of us three will also prepare and conduct a special workshop on a topic which is relevant to the institution or staff at that time.
Because I arrive later than my team-mates, my “Special Task” has not been decided yet – I will simply do whatever needs special attention at the VEDI then. I am really looking forward to being in Laos again soon enough and sharing this new experience with my new team!
You will hear from us again before too long!

 

Text by L. Jakob, A. Kosalla, Y.-J. Muss, P.H. Nguyen & D. Trendl
Photos by Y.-J. Muss, I. Martin, A. Kosalla & L. Jakob

 

Notes

[1]

The “Technical Dictionary” is an Excel document with many technical terms, e.g. terms for machines and tools that are used at the LGTC. BHS students worked on it to construct an overview of items they use for their work. The “Technical Dictionary” consists of the English term, the Lao term, the German term, a picture of the item, and an example sentence of how the item can be used.


[2]

The bilingual profile means that you are trained to teach a subject (e. g. science) in a foreign language (e. g. English or French).

 

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