Is the Vietnamese alphabet ugly

Vietnam and me


It really pays off that I learned braille. Braille is braille used by the blind. Each specific combination of six dots in two rows stands for a different letter or punctuation mark and is punched into paper with a stylus through a stencil. The dots can be clearly seen with the eye, so that after just three days of practice I was able to read Braille and after a few weeks I could also write. Most of the other volunteers find it difficult to write because you have to pierce the other way round because the sheet of paper in the stencil is upside down.

In the meantime I've had so much practice that I can even memorize the letters and accents from the Vietnamese alphabet and almost all punctuation marks. I still read with my eyes and can now recognize many words after a short look up. Of course, I've already practiced reading with my finger, it works with a hit rate of around 70%, but it takes an enormous amount of time and my fingertip is usually overexcited after two lines at the latest because I hit every single letter a number of times. and come here to decipher it.

I also make full use of my Braille skills in class, sometimes helping students find the right place in the book, creating guessing games where I write down terms for students, and I give them homework that I do correct

The Braille alphabet

However, since it is extremely exhausting for longer texts to write them by hand and the other volunteers usually cannot write Braille, as I said, there is also a Braille printer at the school. It even prints two-sided, which I find absolutely amazing! He punches the holes on one side, shifted by so many millimeters that there is no hole on the other side! So far, Mr. Hieu, one of the blind teachers, has always been responsible for the printer (as far as I know, former volunteers have reverently called him "the printing guy"), because it is not at all easy to translate a text on the computer into Braille and to print out. However, since Mr. Hieu has other things to do than printing that day, and often couldn't be found exactly when we needed something printed, at some point I agreed to learn how to use the printer and how to print for the volunteers to take over. So now Mr. Hieu passed his knowledge on to me, and that was a real challenge! Let a blind person who can't speak English explain something to you on the computer! He can't even show you where to click on the screen, instead he had thousands of keyboard shortcuts for various menus and submenus in his head and I memorized everything in minute detail.

Well, for me Braille has become a part of my everyday life, I think Braille also has something aesthetic about it. It is a very systematic and yet not boring font. In my imagination, paper that has already been printed in color is still suitable for writing, I have associations like "W" looks, we have an inverted "R" and under the word "pen" I no longer just think of ballpoint pens and markers, but also a small plastic thing with a metal tip. One of the teachers for the blind gave me such a Braille pen and I always proudly carry it around with me when I'm in the school for the blind.
My latest project is to have a couple of English children's books that some, well, "development workers" sent to the school for the blind translated into Vietnamese and then to print them out on Braille. There are some really great books with tactile elements, but of course they don't really help the kids until they can be read on Braille.

If you want to find out more about Braille, writing utensils and alternative braille systems, we warmly recommend the website, where there is also information on communication with the deaf and deaf-blind.

1 comment 9/5/12 3:47 p.m., comment

Second hand with my aunt

About the gap between rich and poor, and being German-Vietnamese

So my aunt wanted to take me to buy clothes. I didn't actually plan to buy a lot of things in Vietnam, in my opinion I am well looked after (especially compared to most Vietnamese I have an incredible number of possessions), and I can travel from Hanoi to Berlin and from Berlin to London anyway don't take that much with you.

But the statement that I don't need anything didn't count for my aunt. My relatives are a bit nouveau riche in my opinion. In the past there was war and poverty and hard work in the field, and now they have jobs in banks and a lot of money, and that has to be spent. When my aunts see something great, they buy it even if they don't really need it or don't even know exactly who in the family is going to use it. Perhaps that wasn't much different in post-war Germany, but for me it takes a bit of getting used to.

Well, let's go shopping then, aunt. Do you know a place where you can find second hand clothes?
I have always found the thought annoying that a lot of resources are used to produce a piece of clothing that a person wears for a few months and then throws away at some point. Since my father often goes to the flea market in Germany, even my little siblings in Germany are already familiar with the second-hand idea: If the clothes are too small for us, we sell them, and with the money we get something new, something that is different Have already carried children.
For my aunt in Vietnam, however, it was a bit difficult to understand at first. When you have money, you buy something new, something beautiful, something better so that you can forget the old. Because you get old clothes from your siblings, you don't spend any money on that!

I have now understood that there is a relatively large discrepancy between rich and poor in Vietnam. Now I understand, however, that my relatives on one end of the scissors and everyone else I deal with (my students, my host family, my friends, etc.) seem to be on the other end. Not that I have the feeling of living in abject poverty here, but my daily environment is rather very modest, at least compared to the Hanoi average. This is mainly due to the fact that the blind and the second home children do not come from Hanoi families, but in most cases come from poor farming families in the countryside. They only came to Hanoi because of their handicap / family situation, they don't have a lot of money and are not satisfied with the least.

So my aunt will come to pick me up. She is a successful bank woman, has an iPod and a smartphone, sends her 5-year-old child to the English center, wears Gucci and Louis Vuitton (maybe fake, maybe not). She comes to pick me up at the second home, where the children play with stones on the floor and the 14-year-old girls cook food in cheap plastic slippers in front of the house. I'm not there right now, I'm buying milk tea with some of the children. The children had their day off and were bored all day at home and of course Aunt Dao forbade them to go anywhere alone. So I went out with them to buy a little snack so that the day would at least offer a little variety. And I thought that when my aunt comes, she can wait a bit in the second home and chat with the children, the door is always open. It is actually completely normal in Vietnam to come into people's houses and chat with them. And I actually wanted my aunts to get to know the children in the second home for a long time, so that in the future they would no longer speak so suspiciously of the "poor orphans". But my aunt doesn't do that, she parks 20 meters from the second home, as if she were keeping a safe distance from the children. Her posture says: Hurry up Laura, get out of here quickly.

We drive to the street where there are second hand shops. Like everything in Vietnam, shops of the same type are always close together within a city, so that we could stroll from one shop to another if my aunt didn't think we had to cover the 10 meters between each shop by motorcycle - as Magnus said so often at the intermediate seminar: "In Vietnam you drive any distance that is longer than a motorcycle."

Second hand stores in Vietnam are really a bit different from normal stores. First, the goods are not as similar as they always are. There are really unusual, individual pieces, not the Vietnamese / Chinese off-the-shelf goods, which are usually the same in almost every shop. Second, the sellers aren't that disinterested in their products. They must have assigned each piece somewhere individually, so they know exactly what is out there and even do something like advice.
Unfortunately I had to find out that I am quite fat compared to the average Vietnamese woman. My aunt piled tons of pants for me that she thought were wide enough, but on average I had to try on 10 pieces to get one that I wasn't too fat for.
I noticed how much I got used to life in Vietnam from the fact that I used completely different criteria when making a purchase decision than I would have done in Germany. Above all, it was important to me whether you can sit comfortably on the floor in your pants, whether you can easily see sweat on the top, and whether it can be easily hand-washed.

I was pleased how my aunt's initial shyness slowly gave way. In the fifth shop, which resembled a huge rummaging table (you had to step on the mountains of clothing swelling on the floor to move forward), she began to look around a little while I was trying on my pants and probably realized that used clothes don't always have to be ugly and old . In the end, she even bought something for herself.
When we finished, she had half an hour before she had to pick up her son from the English Center. That's why she wanted to show me a shop where she likes to go shopping. So we parked in front of the Vincom Center. I had already driven past this colossal shopping palace many times, but never went inside and it quickly became clear to me why: chic-micki, shiny, sterile, lifeless, air-conditioned, donated, with European goods at European prices (so, how in KaDeWe) is just somehow not my thing. My aunt was hoping I would like it because it's so European.

What I also noticed today is that my aunt, although she speaks English much better than I do Vietnamese, speaks Vietnamese with me consistently in the presence of others. But as soon as nobody else is listening, she explains everything to me in English. I think that even she noticed the sometimes unpleasant reactions it causes when it is revealed that I am a foreigner. When she speaks English to me in the store or anywhere else, not only I get stared at, but also at her. When she went to pay for the clothes in the second hand shop, my aunt also did it consciously without calling me over first. I was standing in the other corner of the shop when my aunt negotiated the price with the saleswoman, probably in the hope that the saleswoman would not remember that the foreigner belonged to her, which inevitably drives up the price . It's a stupid feeling to be such a block on your leg. When I'm out and about with my relatives, it usually never works without them having to counter stupid people in English or tell the seller / taxi driver / waiter my life story.
My oldest aunt therefore tried to simply hide the fact that I am German. Seconds after we sat down in the soup restaurant, the question came: "What country is that little girl from, Auntie?" and my aunt tried to say coolly: "She's Vietnamese! She's my niece." The whole thing actually had the success that the eternal boom of questions was left out (how-long-have-you-been-in-Vietnam, why-do-you-speak-so-well-Vietnamese, do-you-want-to-have Vietnamese-husband-pick etc). For that we had to endure five unbelieving inquiries, because that wouldn't work at all, I would have a nose much too long for a Vietnamese woman!

4 comments 7.5.12 09:26, comment

a couple of big things

A couple of scenes from the past few months in which my lower jaw partially fell away.

I talk to Quynh and Viet from the Massage Center about family matters
Quynh: How old is your grandma?
me: 77.
Quynh (to Viet): Oh man, already 77, and she only had 10 grandchildren in her life ... But that's not a great achievement ...
Me: I beg your pardon?
Quynh: You mean you have 9 cousins, right?
Me: Yes, but that's ... a lot!
Quynh: Oh Qautsch! I have more than 100 cousins. Me: That doesn't work at all!
Viet: Yes! Quynh's grandpa has three wives.
I what?!
Viet: He belongs to the Tày ethnic minority, so that's ... allowed.

A distant relative meets me for the first time and examines me:
"Let me take a look, you are pretty. Vietnamese eyes, but a long nose, and you have pimples, they are really very ugly. But you are pretty, very pretty."

My aunt has just been chatting with a friend in Vietnamese, then she turns to me, amused, and speaks in English so indistinctly that I only understood what she had said afterwards.
Aunt: "Laura, since last time I saw you, you gain weight."
Laura: What? Can you repeat?
Aunt: You gain weight.
Laura: I still don't understand.
Aunt (now in a no longer amused, but deadly serious tone): You are fat.

My grandma explains my eating habits to a distant relative:
"My granddaughter here eats vegan, she does not eat meat, fish and eggs. She does this because she is afraid of getting fat; fat like her mother."

My uncle gives one of the many New Year's visitors information about me, at least what he thinks he knows about me:
"Yes, she's already studying at university. But in Europe, before being allowed to study, everyone has to do social work abroad for a year. That's why she's here now and works with poor children."

A Vietnamese volunteer invited me to her home:
"This is Luong, my brother. But his nickname is Bin. My dad picked the nickname because he likes so many famous people called Bin. You know, Mr. Bean, Bin Laden and so ..."


And a couple of explanations:

Being fat is a sign of wealth in Vietnamese society. Instead of "You eat a lot!" you say "You are eating healthy!". I don't mean to say fat is an ideal of beauty, but it's not outlawed in the same way as it is in beauty-seeking Western culture. In general, the word "ugly" is used much more loosely here. You hear it all the time as a funny comment about something or someone, without making it look like a slap in the face, as it would in Europe.

Volunteering is difficult to convey in Vietnam. Many do not understand why I do not go straight to university voluntarily, but rather work for a year without pay. Because of this, I have found out, some of my relatives have prepared the explanation that I must be forced from the German side to do this voluntary service. It is also a nicer story to tell to acquaintances.

And after asking some questions, my fellow volunteer admitted that neither she nor her father knew exactly who Bin Laden was, she only knew that the name was famous.

2 comments 1.5.12 14:40, comment

An analysis of Vietnamese television

How spoiled are we Germans from perfectly synchronized American series and also one or the other good German program?
Although there are no significantly fewer native Vietnamese speakers than German speakers, it is not considered necessary in this country to adequately translate series into Vietnamese. When Vietnamese television buys Korean and Japanese series, and occasionally bad Hollywood, these are often simply provided with Vietnamese subtitles very cheaply, so the films are also shown in the cinema, by the way. Sometimes you also make the effort to "dub" the film, that is, there is a female speaker (usually a woman) who simply speaks the texts in Vietnamese in addition to the original sound, all roles in a totally unchanged, often emotionless voice .You can't tell from their voice which character in the film should have just said the sentence, you have to see who is moving their mouth or, if the person is not in the picture, which voice in the original sound is saying something at the same time .
Of course there are also quite a few Vietnamese productions, but in those cases the acting is usually not really amazing. Also, most Vietnamese actors are South Vietnamese, and the South Vietnamese dialect can get on your nerves after a while. :]

The news in Vietnam always comes at 7 p.m. and lasts an hour. The first quarter of an hour is reserved for the activities of the Vietnamese President. It seems like he is making a different state visit or traveling to a different country every day. At first I even suspected that television would stage a few of these state receptions or dig out old archives to make the president's life seem more important. After a while it became clear to me that the Vietnamese President may indeed have to make more state visits than Ms. Merkel, since he does not have an EU that settles many bilateral matters for him, he has to go to the country in question for every little thing clarify that personally. Of course, after a while, you can see through the ways in which television is stretching Mr. Nguyen Dung's activities to 15 minutes, while Merkel may get half a minute in the news on good days. A one-day state visit is reported on the next day and the day after, according to the motto: "Yesterday the President visited this and that", whereby the information content always remains the same. In addition, there are mostly short sequences from the moment the flag was raised and the two national anthems were played, and longer excerpts from the speeches of the two presidents are shown than one is used to as a daily spectator.
The second quarter of an hour deals with domestic matters, during the rainy season usually a whole quarter of an hour is reported on the flood situation in the country.
The third quarter of an hour is my favorite, it's about foreign and international, and in my opinion Vietnamese television does a more interesting job than most German news programs. As a rule, I hardly understand what is being said, but I have gained insights into plenary sessions of all UN bodies and other international associations.
In the last quarter of an hour miscellaneous things come up, such as an uncovered chicken claw export scandal, by which time most Vietnamese have already switched to a feature film.

One show that initially surprised me, which is why it is so popular, is the Wheel of Fortune. I mean, that's something in Germany that runs at lunchtime when only bored housewives are watching, but in Vietnam it runs at prime time and all sections of the population are watching. The reason: Each word in Vietnamese can have six different accent marks, which can lead to six different accents of the word. However, these stress marks are not displayed when the letters are uncovered. This means that even if all letters have been guessed, it is still not clear which word it is. I've seen a wheel of fortune show once in which all the letters were exposed, but none of the candidates could read the solution with the correct emphasis (it was the name of a small town that apparently nobody knew). A spectator from the audience then had to dissolve. That of course makes the show a lot more exciting than it is in Germany.

The accumulation of advertising for medicine is very noticeable. Since the Vietnamese very rarely go to the doctor and medication is less often subject to prescription than in Germany, advertising has a greater influence on medication intake than the doctor. Even so, drug advertisements are never really creative. Basically, they always follow the same scheme: First, pictures of suffering people are shown, i.e. people with stomach ache, toothache, potency problems, etc. Then there is a very detailed graphic representation of the affected internal organ. It takes getting used to watching images of a blocked small intestine or inflamed esophagus while watching TV at prime time. Sometimes you zoom in until you can see the tissue and blood vessels so that it can be shown exactly where the drug is working. Then it is always shown in close-up how the affected person swallows the corresponding pill, very slowly and demonstratively, with a large glass of water and a happy expression on his face. Finally, the satisfied, happy person with no complaints. It's really not very resourceful.
What is missing, of course, is the "The-risks-and-side-effects-to-which-we-are-obliged-to-point-they-are-too-long-for-this-commercial-so-read-it-about -or-involve-your-pharmacist-in-a-long-conversation "note.

The second most popular product group is milk. Milk makes you strong, milk is healthy. Milk contains many things the body needs, especially children as they grow. and the cows are happy too. I've already shown one or the other spot in which it is pulled into the grotesque because apparently the intelligence of the children concerned increases by drinking milk. Yes, although historically over 90% of Asians have a lactose intolerance, milk is propagated to the point of no-more. And that is having an effect. "Laura, if you don't eat meat, you have to drink milk, otherwise you have no energy," almost every adult here propagated to me once and tried to offer me a milk pack, which the adults never drink themselves because they almost all are lactose intolerant but buy en masse for their children in the hope that it will make them smarter. Once I tried to defend myself verbally: "Aunt, there isn't really anything in milk that gives me energy or helps me think. Yes, there is calcium in milk, but that's good for the bones, not as a source of energy. There is it better if I eat fruit. " My aunt denied everything. "Laura, it's a common fact that children need milk. I can't tell you exactly what's in it right now, but that's the way it is."
Dear Vietnamese. To be smart, thinking helps, not drinking milk!

4 comments 4/28/12 4:40 AM, comment

Who you love?

There is one question that any Vietnamese child is likely to dread.

Usually children here are told at every turn what to do and say in order to be polite. It is not assumed, as in Germany, that it is enough to preach to the child a few times, that it is polite to greet people. Instead, you whisper what the child has to say in every situation:
"Have you already greeted Uncle Hung?" Is a completely normal question that can be asked of the child not only by mother and father, but also by Uncle Hung himself.
I, too, are a child in the eyes of my relatives and since my arrival here I have been whispered: "Has the child invited grandma to eat watermelon?". The questions are always formulated in such a way that as a child you only have to rearrange one or two words and then parrot the sentence: "Child invites grandma to eat watermelon!" In this way, children can rest assured that someone is almost always there to lovingly help them through the jungle of Vietnamese politeness phrases. "Has niece already answered yes to mother's request?" etc. pp.

However, there is one question that no one helps the child with. This one question must be the child's achievement, with it he pays back all that love and care that he receives from his relatives. According to my observation, every Vietnamese child of a certain age is confronted with this question every few months. Today my 4 year old cousin Bong got it.

"Who do you love, Bong?"
my grandma asks in a casual moment, in a lovely, yet firm voice that underscores the importance of the answer.
Bong stays rooted to the spot on the landing and slowly turns to face the assembled relatives. She hesitates.
"Child loves whom, a?" my grandmother purrs again.
Bong struggles for words. She looks around for a little help. She thinks through her answer well. When her gaze meets Grandma's raised eyebrows, she finally replies: "Child loves Mama Ha, Papa Ngoc, and Grandma."
"Very nice!" Aunt Binh claps her hands, but Grandma is obviously not satisfied: "Oh, that's it? Mom, Dad and Grandma love you. And Grandma is only in third place, yes? Well, Grandma understands ..."
Again there is silence in the room and panic is written on Bong's face. She takes a deep breath and reformulates: "Child loves grandma, mom and dad."
Grandma smiles contentedly, but is not finished yet: "Who else does a child love?"
Bong looks around the room and replies obediently: "The child loves Aunt Binh and Uncle Hung, and Aunt Van on the mother's side."
"Does Bong love big sister Laura too?" Asks Grandma sternly. "Yeah," breathes Bong, and I try to convey with a loving smile that I wouldn't have blamed her if she hadn't responded according to the rules.

"Well, that's very good." praises Grandma, and with that, Bong is dismissed. She paces up the stairs, relieved.

4 comments 4/25/12 7:51 am, comment


Two women’s days are celebrated in Vietnam, the international one on March 8th and a Vietnamese one on October 10th. Back then, on Vietnamese Women's Day, there was a small meeting of teachers at the school for the blind in the morning. We ate and talked, a male teacher sang a funny song, and the headmaster gave a speech: "The women in Vietnam are great women, they are smart and work independently" blabla.
It is of course interesting that the headmaster, his deputy and all important supervisory teachers are male, while all "normal" teachers are female. But that is probably no different at some German schools.

The other day on International Women's Day the morning began with a discussion about women's emancipation in the English Discussion Club at the school for the blind. We sat down in a cafe for the special day because there was nothing going on at the school for the blind, all the teachers had been invited by the headmaster to take a boat trip on the red river.
For this purpose, one of the blind participants in the English Club had prepared a text about the history of Women's Day. The two men present emphasized that they thought it was important that men lend a hand in the household (still rather unusual in Vietnam). Then we philosophized about whether the world would be a better place if it were run by women, because the money would go not into the military and business, but into education and environmental protection. In Vietnam it is customary in many families for women to manage the money, because it is common knowledge (and it is also so spread by men themselves) that men would only spend the money on drinking and gambling.
At the end of the discussion club one of the men stood up, wished us a happy women's day in a puffy tone and then said that it was an honor and a duty for him to take the bill. Then he forced the other man to give him half back, after all, they wanted to invite the women together.
Later I went and met Ben, a fellow volunteer, and his Vietnamese cousin at the Women's Museum. Yes, there is a women's museum in Hanoi. In fact, it's pretty well presented. It shows wedding and childbirth customs in various ethnic minorities of Vietnam. Then there are interesting exhibitions about women in the family, the world of work and in history. The latter are mainly war heroines or veteran mothers.

At my weltwärts intermediate seminar there was a lecturer who explained that the original Vietnamese society was actually matriarchal (= the woman was in charge). It was only through the Chinese and Confucianism that it became a partriarchal society. I asked him if there was such a thing as an emancipation movement for women in Vietnam, and he simply said that women in Vietnam don't need such a thing because change is already taking place. Women have a career AND a family (whether it is so emancipated ... In any case, it is not normal for men to have a family and a career). Then the lecturer concluded that in a relationship women and men both have the say, just in different places: the man is the "foreign minister", the woman the "interior minister". Because outwardly, the man represents the family, makes the impression that he is telling his wife where to go, acts big, and celebrates drinking bouts while the woman does the dishes. Inwardly, however, the woman actually has her pants on, manages the money, determines the schedule and sometimes orders the man back and forth.

3 Comments 4/23/12 6:25 AM, comment

What about the inclusion?

When I was still active in the Green Youth in Germany, I remember a sensational newspaper article which, after the Federal Green Youth Congress, was entitled: "Green Youth: Integration, No Thanks!". At this federal congress, the "integration" of all different people into society was rejected as part of the fundamental debate and replaced by the word "inclusion".
What's the difference?

"Integration" means that foreigners, for example, are forced to adapt to the majority society and to fit into it, and something like that stands in the way of the Green Youth's notion of plurality. "Inclusion", on the other hand, means that people can remain as they are and that they can be included in the pluralistic society in exactly the same way.

So much for theory. In practice, it was mainly a deaf member who advocated inclusion within the Green Youth, who due to his physical impairment could not act in all situations like most of the others, but of course should still take part in joint activities. In this case the word "integration" would mean that he has to adapt, that is, that he should read lips and somehow become part of the listening culture. The "inclusion" practiced in his case at Green Youth events meant that he was accepted as deaf and that communication with him was made possible through an interpreter.

"This is how it has to work in schools too!" was discussed again and again in the Green Youth during the course of the year at numerous events, the catchphrase "inclusive school" became commonplace. It must be possible to teach students with any kind of immigration background or any kind of disability in one class with all other students. This is the only way to achieve the inclusion of such people in society. At some point I also let myself be led to the idea why not all schools simply have a few handicapped people in every class ...

And there I stand now, all alone, every Tuesday, in the middle of Hanoi, in front of a sixth class with 40 sighted and one blind pupil and think to myself desperately: "What about the inclusion?"
The whole thing is called "Mixed Class" and is part of my project to support the blind students at the school for the blind (which is actually not a school for the blind but, as we have just learned, an inclusive school for the blind). Usually I teach courses in which the blind are among themselves to catch up on the material they have missed in learning in the "normal" (inclusive) classes. But it is not the purpose of a school for the blind to isolate the blind from the sighted society. That is why I took over this class a few months ago, the task of which is to give English lessons in which the blind pupil can participate fully on an equal footing and without restrictions.

Problem number 1: The class is big. 45 students. Or so. In all honesty, if I spent time running the count every time, half the time would be up. That's why I never notice who or how many are missing. But that's not important either. To be honest, each student is less of a relief to me ...

Problem number 2: I have no teacher authority. It's not as if Vietnamese students are not fundamentally good, but I don't threaten, I can't give grades, and I can't shit them together. Sometimes, when it gets really loud, I complain a bit, but that doesn't work for most of the people because I complain in English and the little ones don't understand that much yet.

Well, in the course of time I've always got along better with the class, at some point I had them put up name tags, that brought a lot.Then I worked to get a Vietnamese volunteer by my side, who translates and mostly helps to keep things calm. I now always force the actual teacher of the class to be present during my lesson, then the students are easier to handle. In the beginning, the teacher liked to use my presence to run away and treat herself to a free afternoon ...

So what do I do now to integrate, uh, include the blind youth?
Right at the beginning I noticed that in order not to exclude Minh, simply not every topic is suitable. Some things, even with the best of goodwill, cannot be felt or heard in the classroom, but can only be conveyed through pictures. So I concentrate on topics that can somehow be implemented in a blind manner. Before my very first lesson, I went to the market and bought a piece of each type of fruit. Then Minh got to feel it, everyone else to see. Another time I had 3D puzzles of the Eiffel Tower and other famous buildings and talked to the children about it. I'm actually already used to which topics can be implemented in a blind-appropriate way, the only problem is that I now have to entertain 40 sighted students at the same time, who are of course somehow used to having visual stimuli in class, and not always those Be patient, wait for Minh to feel everything. I think the students can cope with the fact that we don't play gallows or activity, which requires all seeing activities. Our games primarily focus on spelling and "explain-the-term" games. On the subject of animals, however, I had to point out three times that they really are only allowed to make the sound of the animal and not jump up and down.
Whenever I introduce new vowels, I always have to spell them out loud so Minh can write them down. Everything I write on the board I have to read out loud and I have to keep forbidding myself to simply paint a picture to explain what it is about. So there are always very verbose hours, everything has to be explained verbally, I cannot work with arrows or point or gestures. I can't put it another way, it's a huge challenge and I'm completely exhausted every time after the lesson.
This mixed class is actually something that I think is beyond my capacity. Of course, in the course of time I have doubted whether inclusion is really such a good idea, because I realize that it is of course easier if the blind only learn from one another because they know each other's circumstances. Nevertheless, I still consider inclusive school to be the goal of what needs to be headed for, but I have recognized that there has to be a much larger range of suitable framework conditions (class size, trained specialist, aids) than there is in Vietnam, and I do mine even in Germany, is still the case.

By the way, my volunteer colleague, who is teaching the parallel class at the same time, was sick once. What happened? Half of the students just walked over to me, then about 65 students sat with me. I didn't really notice the difference, at some point you just lose the pain threshold for something like that.

Still, they love me somehow, the students. It only occurred to me to take this photo when the majority of the students (including Minh) had left the classroom.

2 comments 4/18/12 7:03 AM, comment