Daily updates from the EdNet Conference in Laos Dec 7 - 9
Les Millard Director of Curriculum Programming
Impressions of Luang Prabang and the conference authored by Andrew Field, Duke Kunshan University and Shanghai American School Board member, participant at the conference .... click here
Day 1 Friday 7 December
The educators all arrived safe and well in Luang Prabang. Some are staying at a guest house about 10 minutes drive from the Mekong river side Rustic Pathways base.
After an excellent lunch we were welcomed by Les followed by a round of introductions. Schools from Dubai, Bahrain, Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea plus Rustic Pathways international and local staff were present to give the conference a wide perspective.
|Looking towards the Sala where the conference is held. The Mekong River is in the background.|
The first session was a brief overview of Experiential Learning theory and research that was lead by Les. This looked at models of experiential learning including work by David Kolb, Elisapeth Barrat Hacking et al research into International Mindedness and the 'Les Millard 'How we learn experientially' model.
The Laos team took participants on a Laos cultural, language and historical journey. Educators wrote their names in Laos script which was checked by the Laos team. I have to say the educators all passed with flying colours!!
Rebecca Gillman from Saint Josephs Institute International, Singapore, lead an excellent session on service learning. Her passion, knowledge and experience captured the full attention of all present. There are many takeaways from this session.
The Laos team took the group on an orientation of the base leading into vigorous discussions with Laos live music being played in the background.
After dinner a Laos dance troupe entertained the group with traditional Laos dance, which conference attendees were invited to participate in. Hmmm..... not sure how successful the dancing was but everyone enjoyed themselves all the same.
Today was a full programme beginning at 8.00am driving 40 mins to our service project. The road was bumpy but the service wasn't. We all enjoyed the physical work and collaboration with the local villagers. Half of the group were rendering the walls of the community hall and the other half were building boxing to create concrete fence posts. It was an excellent experience that will leave a lasting impression on us.
After lunch Brian Murphy led a session that gave participants the opportunity to discuss their specific school contexts then share through a 'speed dating' activity.
The final session of the day was an extremely thought provoking session with Lauren Fine on strategies and processes in her school. Every participant was able to take away relevant thoughts and ideas applicable to their schools, no matter what stage they are at in experiential learning trips.
The evening was rounded off with a tasty Laos meal at a local restaurant in the city.
Day 3 Sunday 9 December
Today we revealed the takeaways from the conference that each participant had. The interesting thing was the diversity of the takeaways.
After being presented with PD certificates of participation we had a group photo taken with the local staff.
Finally, the educators left for the airport tired but in good humour.
To a person, the feedback was positive and excited about what impact this conference can have on their school trips programmes.
A huge thanks to the local Rustic base staff and Keegan for their work to make this a very successful conference.
|Oo and Keegan|
We are all looking forward to hosting you again the next conferences in May (Europe/Middle East) or December (Asia Pacific) 2019.