Patti Goodman's blog
The dreaded question periodThe presentation was successfully given on the second Sunday, to about 140 teachers!
I was dreading question period, as I was worried about understanding the intrepretation of the question, however all worked out well, as the WUSC coordinator, who came to the presentation facilitated the question period.
PresentationSo I am heading back to Hanoi and will give the same presentation to a different college (smaller group) on the final Friday. In the interim I will be taking a few days to visit Hoi An in Central Vietnam.
From Hai Phong I did manage to get to Ha Long Bay for a weekend - it is spectacular. Vietnam is a very beautiful country.
Ha Long Bay area
The WUSC staff and long term volunteers in Vietnam are incredibly helpful and supportive. I have needed their support as there have been some challenges with the project. The Director's concept of capacity building is for me to do a workshop for ~ 100 teachers on best practices in Canada in needs assessments. It is a command performance for the teachers, whether they have any role in conducting a needs assessment or not. After asking lots of questions of my one colleague, from the relatively new department dealing with industrial relations, we decided that perhaps we would start with the basics: "Conducting needs assessments; why and how.
The real challenge was making the presentation as relevant (interesting) as possible - knowing the audience. My colleague's English rapidly improved the more we talked, but I found It pretty challenging having to pre-write all the script, knowing that you will not be able to 'ad-lib' while presenting. At this particular college, the management structure is extremely hierarchical and very little happens that doesn't first go through the Director. Good news was the draft workshop agenda was approved.
This college has 6000 students with two student campuses and one administrative campus. I had fun on the Tuesday of the second week, and went over to the closest student campus (this entailed riding on the back of a scooter for about 20 minutes). The students were great, and the curriculum most interesting. As Clive mentioned, there is a compulsory course for all students on the "thoughts of Ho Chi Min" and I must admit, I wonder if it would not be a good idea for Canadian students to have a compulsory first year course on Canada's political system and democracy! Accounting (3 year diploma) is one of the programs in which the college has a very good reputation - women predominantly take this program, while the men tend to take IT training.
A few pictures from my campus visit.
Students at HPCC
An update on my cycling....a video of me cycling in Hai Phong traffic!
I know, I cannot believe it has taken me so long to post! Vietnam really is incredible. It is so Asia. The food, the noise, the heat (and it actually not that hot compared to when the others were here). I had a great first day in Hanoi on Saturday (6th). I should of been jet lagged, but I seemed to just 'keep going'. 20 hours of straight travel, plus trying to figure out what day it is with the time change was simply beyond jet lag! Also, no luggage for the first 2 days - luckily I had packed a few supplies in my carry on. Everything Clive and Verne said about the traffic and crossing the road is so true. The first day, every time I stepped off the curb, I thought of Clive's techniques for crossing the road. Needless to say I attached myself to locals (especially the frail elderly) and tagged along beside them for the first while.
So, you may be surprised to learn that I am riding a bicycle to school each day! Everyday is an adventure. Hai Phong roads are busy, but compared to Hanoi the car traffic is less - scooters and bicycles rule the road. I watched the locals for the first couple of days and decided I could do it. It gives me a sense of freedom not being tied to taxis to get back and forth. The key is to keep a steady pace, totally ignore the honking behind you and make no sudden moves!
Having read the blog posts of those who have gone before me, and chatting to Verne upon his return from Vietnam, I feel almost ready to go. I say almost, because I still have a week before departure and of course am scrambling to get things organized at work and home, so I can get on that plane without looking back.
There is a definite advantage to being almost the last to depart. It seems to me that whatever challenges I may experience with the marathon flying journey, the traffic (everyone talks about the traffic) and the heat in Vietnam – will clearly be offset by the incredibly helpful and very organized WUSC staff and volunteers in Hanoi. I have already received my first correspondence from the Hanoi office. Both Verne and Clive have painted such interesting pictures of their experiences that I am fighting to stay focussed on tasks here, and not let my mind keep leaping forward. So…time to get back to work! Until next week - stay tuned.