The Lao People`s Democratic Republic, one of the worlds poorest countries in terms of GDP per capita, is rich in terms of natural resources and in the hearts and the culture of its people. Since 2010, Chris Ruddenklau has coordinated a program of short-term visits to Laos by English language teachers from Japan and other countries. By March 2015 over 100 teachers will have visited Laos. The program aims to create dialogues between Lao teachers and teachers from abroad so that they can work together within a framework of valuing each others’ strengths and so they can mutually reflect on each others teaching practice. The heart of this program rests in being able to establish meaningful cross-cultural discourses between the teachers. The program has created a great deal of interest both here in Japan and in Laos.
The first part of this workshop will examine general trends in Lao society and education before looking at the current Lao program. In the second half we will explore some of the actual difficulties both visiting teachers and Lao teachers have faced in order to create discourses which are meaningful and of value to both parties. The workshop will explore these difficulties by looking at a variety of interpersonal challenges that participants have had. What we may perceive as common sense thoughts and actions may not be common sense to others. Questions about how the program can effectively develop in the future will be asked and by addressing these, participants will be directly contributing to the development of this worthwhile and exciting program.
Chris Ruddenklau teaches at Kinki University and is a long-time member of Osaka JALT. He established the Lao program in 2010 through JALT's Teachers Helping Teachers (THT) SIG http://tht-japan.org/ , and as the Lao Program Coordinator he has worked with various Lao universities and secondary schools to allow teachers from Japan to get involved with teacher training as well as working directly in classrooms. He is a Committee member of Lao TESOL, and is the Program Chair of the Pragmatics SIG of JALT.
This event is co-sponsored by Kansai Sietar. http://www.sietar-kansai.com/en/20141207132841.html