Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane tends to be hot and humid throughout the course of the year, though temperatures in the city tend to be somewhat cooler during the dry season than in the wet season. Although still a small city, the capital experiences a major influx of tourists. The city contains many temples and Buddhist monuments. Vientiane is the driving force behind economic change in Laos. In recent years, the city has experienced rapid economic growth from foreign investment. Vientiane is served by Wattay International Airport with international connections to other Asian countries.
Host Institution: American Center ThatDam
The Vientiane American Center is an important English language lending library and resource center for information about American culture, government, history, and U.S. government exchange programs. Introducing American-style teaching methods to students, as well as holding English-teaching MOOCs and workshops at the American Center, it has enabled and will continue to enable the U.S. Embassy to build English-language capacity in Laos. The Fellow program at the American Center will play a critical role in supporting this goal. This support aims to help Laos achieve its educational goals and infuse U.S.-style learner-centered education into the Lao system to build shared values between the 2 societies. The American Center is located in downtown Vientiane. It has a computer section open to the public, and a lending library as well as several well-equipped training spaces. Fulbright English Teaching Assistants help the American Center staff and organize regular informal English programs.
- The Fellow will organize and conduct English language classes and teacher-training workshops on teaching methods for English language teachers from local universities and high schools. The English classes will be open to the general public.
- The Fellow will help place the students into different classes, select appropriate materials, and teach classes.
- The Fellow will solicit input from practicing teachers as to the specific workshop topics that are needed. Topics may include formative assessment practices, integrating the four skills and critical thinking skills into English language classrooms, action research and reflective practice, and teaching pronunciation and writing skills. The teacher training workshop series will be organized on a bi-monthly basis and will be aimed at the needs of current in-service English language teachers.
- The Fellow will facilitate the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) designed by the U.S. government for in-service English language teachers, such as the American English MOOC.
- The Fellow will facilitate MOOCs on topics such as academic and business writing skills for university students and young professionals.
- The Fellow will organize and host information sessions for students who want access to online resources for learning English or assistance studying for standardized exams such as the TOEFL test.
The Fellow may be asked to:
- Conduct workshops on English language teaching methodologies and techniques for current in-service teachers on-site at different universities or teacher training colleges in Laos.
- Travel to regional institutions to conduct intensive teacher training workshops, on similar topics to those listed above, for in-service university and high school teachers.
- Participate in and present at regional conferences and visit Access classes in the region to give presentations on American culture.
- Conduct teacher-training workshops for Access teachers on student-centered, project-based learning.