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Australia Helps Improve English Skills For Lao Army Officers

(KPL) The Australian Department of Defence works closely with the Lao People’s Army (LPA) to improve English capability of local armed force officers.

English is the language of ASEAN and Australia has been a long-term supporter for the LPA’s English language training programme.

Every year Australia grants scholarships to over 80 LPA officers to study English at Vientiane College and sends 5-10 officers to Australia for additional English training.

To assist the LPA develop their English teacher capacity the Australian Department of Defence has sponsored a two-week teacher training course, over the period 13-24 May, for a group of Lao People’s Army officers.

Two staff members from the Defence International Training Centre (DITC), Australia, Captain Ogilvie and Mr Dickson mentored and developed the English skills of 33 course participants.

The Lao People’s Army officers who attended the course are responsible for teaching English at a number of the military academies in Laos, or are students undertaking English language development courses at military establishments.

During the two-week course, the students participated in a series of theory-based lessons and practical workshops designed to enhance their ability to teach English. On completion, they gained a variety of teaching skills they can apply in their classrooms, including how to effectively give instructions and teach phonology and vocabulary.

The DITC staff were assisted by recent graduates of the Centre’s English Teaching Development Course, who provided guidance and support to course members.

Having these DITC graduates on the course was invaluable, said Captain Ogilvie.

Not only were they able to assist with Laos-English translation, but they enhanced the learning of their colleagues and peers through their leadership and example.

Mr Dickson added that watching them implement the skills and knowledge learned during their time at the Defence International Training Centre was truly inspirational and motivating.

Captain Alounsavath Phounsavath, one of three Lao military officers who recently graduated from the English Teacher Development Course at DITC, assisted with the delivery of the course.

The officers attending were really active and into the course. They were learning a lot of new techniques that they can take back to their academies and use to teach English to their students, says Captain Phounsavath.

As a result of their participation on the course, many students expressed a keen interest to continue to develop their English language and teaching techniques. Major Bounmy Thammavong indicated that she would love to attend DITC to improve these skills as they are very important for her job.

DITC looks forward to welcoming students like Major Thammavong from the Laos People’s Armed Forces in the future and helping them develop their English language and teaching abilities.

The Australian Deputy Head of Mission Jane Chandler addressed the closing ceremony of the course and said that Australia was proud to sponsor courses such as this, to assist Lao build its capacity and enable them to more easily work with regional neighbours to bring peace and stability to the region. The course students were enthusiastic and professional and a testament to the LPA.

Source: Lao News Agency