Saturday, January 21, 2012

GVI returns to some old friends

Last week GVI happily sent volunteers back to classes we haven’t been at for several months.  First was heading back into classes at Xayadeth College with the excellent Lao teachers at that school.  GVI volunteers teach 3 classes, twice daily, five times a week to students studying their Diploma of English at this school.  It’s a terrific opportunity for volunteers to have direct and clear impact on the learning of young adults.  Due to a scheduling change for this academic year however GVI haven’t been working in the classrooms with Lao teachers.  One teacher recently commented how he missed the interaction and sharing of skills and teaching techniques with a native or fluent English speaker, so we took the opportunity to place a volunteer in as many of their classes as possible.  It’s a highly positive experience for the volunteers because of the interaction, skill building, relationships and shared teaching workload with excellent teachers with high level English. 
On the other end of the spectrum was our happy return after extra long holidays to Phaasa School – a rustic and sometimes chaotic extra curricular English school offering classes to younger students across 7 classes with teachers and students ranging in ability.  Phaasa is new to working with foreign volunteers at all and are immensely grateful for the opportunity to work with English speakers and provide this exposure to their students.  Always a surprise (is the teacher going to actually have a lesson planned or am I going to be thrown in boots and all to take the class?) and sometimes a challenge (poor resources, inexperienced teachers, low English comprehension etc).  GVI love to be able to offer this authentic and clearly worthwhile teaching site to our volunteers and arm them with training, guidance and resources to help tackle the task.  It is schools like this where obvious need exists and GVI volunteers have the chance to have positive and genuine impact on the education and futures of young Lao people. 
So we say ‘Sabaidee’ again to both schools and look forward to working with our Lao teaching partners and friends of GVI. 

We are also due to recommence with the Technical and Vocational School, assisting Hospitality and Tourism students with the English components of their studies and giving them the best chance of success in their future. 
And finally, an exciting start in a wonderful, well-maintained, proud little village school out of Luang Prabang.  GVI will work with primary school children across 5 year levels, as well as pre-school kids, providing the government’s prescribed hours of English tuition that in a village with no English teachers goes untaught!  A very exciting chance for volunteers to get out of the ‘big smoke’ and sample a real Lao village in this warm and welcoming country.