Quiet time on this blog (May to July 2021)
The pandemic has prevented tandem-teaching for our Lao and German project participants since March 2020, with one notable exception: Leya Hoenicke from Team XI.5 made it over to Vientiane in March 2021 (and wrote a nerve-wracking report on that experience), then did online teaching with her tandem-partner Ms Moukdala Keomixai, and held workshops on “How to organize your digital classroom” for the other staff members of the Lao-German Technical College. She will also report later on her work and lockdown experience.
In mid-late April of this year, Covid-19 infected Lao people in 4-digit numbers, following illegal border-drossings during the New Year celebrations. The subsequent severe lockdown then stopped our five new Erasmus+ Mobilities between the University of Education Karlsruhe (PH Karlsruhe) and Savannakhet University (SKU) short in their tracks. Three staff from SKU – Ms Phetsavanh Somsivilay (English), Ms Somsanouk Xayyavong (IT), and Mr Sitsanou Phouthavong (physics) – and two PH Karlsruhe doctoral candidates, Rebecca Dengler and Miaoxing Ye, were ready to go, with cases packed… and the next day they were not able to travel. The Savannakhet partners were not allowed to leave town to get to their first plane in Vientiane, and Ms Rebecca and Ms Miaoxing were stranded because our partners could not get the last official immigration stamp for them on that last Monday before their flight was due, because they could not get to the Ministry’s office anymore and the offices were closed anyway.
Apart from the disappointment (and the loss of considerable project funds and energy and time invested…), we also experienced new gains. We now communicate easily online, some partners visited each others’ online classes during the summer term, and my German students used our own (second and third) lockdown for intensive academic work, with a strong new interest and focus on “Education for Sustainable Development & Global Citizenship” as well as “Digital Teaching” in my classes “Global English(es), Global TEFL & Global Citizenship” and “Postcolonial Theory & Short Fiction”. We concentrated on our work at home and dealt with whatever new challenges digital teaching and the next lockdown held in store for us.
Ready for new posts again
Summer term is over now. After our last lockdown, infection numbers are comparatively low right now in Germany, with at least 60% of the population double-vaccined.
Reboot: (carefully) meet people again, go out to restaurants, enjoy a movie in the cinema or a visit to a museum or go to the gym or swimming-pool again. Photos from vacations abroad are arriving on Instagram, and we can recover our senses and many of our former liberties. At the same time, as Head of Department of English, I just finished planning two teaching scenarios for the winter term, one hybrid, one live with digital exceptions, and it remains to be seen which one will take place, and what the Delta variant will dictate before too long. I only hope that I will not have to write a third, fully digital teaching scenario, again.
1. Ud-Din, Shirin (2020). Emergency Remote Teaching: Challenges and Benefits […] during the Digital School Term 2020. 92 pp., Appendix with interviews 29 pp.
The Pencil Metaphor represents the different attitudes teachers can take to the new challenge of digital teaching: Are you a leader, a sharp one, part of the wood, a hanger-on, a ferrule, or an eraser?
2. Eckardt, Nico (2021). Raising Awareness for Global Citizenship. 80 pp.
Table by N. Eckardt: Comparison of “Conceptions of Global Citizenship” (Streitwieser & Light 2009, 12) and “Characteristics of citizenship” (Hirata 2016, 101 ff.)
This thesis explores the theoretical basis of why raising awareness of Global Citizenship in the classroom is something every teacher should incorporate in their teaching henceforward.
(It also happens to explain in theory what we have been doing in practice in our Lao-German tandem-teaching and research projects since 2015.)
More to come
Leona Kemmer (2021). From Intercultural differences in ESL teaching to transcultural understanding through encounters and communication: Creating an e-book with Lao teachers in tandem-teaching.
Marina Capek (2021). Developing and testing a Digital Teaching Sequence focused on decolonization in museum contexts for the primary language classroom.
Some students are preparing course papers on topics relating to our project’s areas of interest, i.e. “Intercultural Competence in Digital Teaching” and “Decolonization of English Language Teaching”.
Forthcoming conference papers:
Martin, Isabel (23.9.2021). “Bilateral decolonisation in Applied Linguistics and Research in Foreign Languages: A Case Study”. Online conference Relocating Research in Applied Linguistics: 29th Conference for Applied Linguistics. German Foreign Languages Association, University of Duisburg-Essen 22-24 September 2021.
Dengler, Rebecca (23.9.2021). “Intercultural barriers in ‘international’ English course books at Savannakhet University, Laos”. Online conference Relocating Research in Applied Linguistics: 29th Conference for Applied Linguistics. German Foreign Languages Association, University of Duisburg-Essen 22-24 September 2021.
Ye, Miaoxing (23.9.2021). “Decolonisation of foreign language teaching in China and Laos: Similarities and differences of Chinese and Lao EFL leaners’ misplacements of English stress focused on their L1 tone influence”. Online conference Relocating Research in Applied Linguistics: 29th Conference for Applied Linguistics. German Foreign Languages Association, University of Duisburg-Essen 22-24 September 2021.
Last, but not least:
Following our joint International Symposium of SKU and PH Karlsruhe of October 2019 on “Sustainable Development and Internationalization in Higher Educational Institutions”, the proceedings are going to be published later this year. This is when I will also publish several posts on the Symposium itself, as our cooperation reboots with our second project, this time on “Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship”.
Text by I. Martin
Illustration by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Table by N. Eckardt