Thuan An Center was buzzing this morning as 24 children aged 4-6 years arrived en masse on their parents’ motorbikes to take part in our summer training program. Little girls in dresses filed into the classrooms alongside young boys looking handsome in their pressed, clean shirts. You could feel the positive energy and anticipation radiating from the parents and teachers as they readied to take part in the day’s events.

For the past two days, the teachers enrolled in our Level 3 classroom/therapy program have been learning about assessment and lesson planning for children with hearing loss. The teachers are paired up and have been assigned to work with specific children across three classrooms. They spent the first days reviewing medical and educational case history of the children. They identified developmental goals, strategies, and specific activities to help the children progress in their auditory and language development in both classroom and therapy settings. Our team of professionals guided them throughout the process of designing lesson plans.

Today was the day to start executing on these plans. The teachers rolled out the activities they had designed for the children in each classroom. The children were also pulled out in pairs to attend 45 minute therapy sessions with their parents and the teacher assigned to them. They moved through 3 classrooms and 6 therapy rooms over the course of the morning, making this a complicated operation, and yet, it worked.

The classroom activities were fun and the kids were having a blast right along with their teachers. They were learning, listening and speaking. The parents engaged enthusiastically in the therapy sessions with their children. Everyone was feeling empowered. It was exciting to watch it all unfold.

The concepts of assessment and developing action plans to achieve developmental goals are unfamiliar to Vietnamese teachers. working with our team of professionals in this stimulated classroom/therapy format will help crystallize the process and it will be easier for them to implement similar steps with their own students at home.

The afternoon was spent reviewing the activities of the morning and discussing what worked and what could be improved. The teachers then started the planning process for tomorrow morning’s classroom and therapy sessions with the support of our professionals. They will go through this model of morning stimulated classroom/therapy sessions and afternoon review/planning for the duration of this workshop.

As I witnessed the energy and excitement of the parents and teachers today, I was warmed by the thought that we are making a real difference. Through our training efforts, we are helping to improve the lives of children with hearing loss in this tiny corner of our big world.