Lao Primary School Teachers’
Perceptions of the Developmental Stages of Youth in UXO-Impacted Communities
Department of Family & Child Ecology
Youth Development Program
Michigan State University
Since 1999, volunteers from Thailand and the United States have worked in partnership with the Lao Ministry of Education and Consortium Lao to facilitate workshops in child-centered, multi-sensory learning. The volunteers believed that teachers attempt to meet the developmental needs of their students based upon their assumptions about youth development stages. These are the common physical, cognitive, social, and emotional characteristics of each age group with whom an educator works. The challenge for the facilitators was to determine whether perceptions about these developmental stages of youth are consistent across cultures (U.S., Thai and Lao), or influenced by environmental factors (i.e. the presence of unexploded ordinance in the community). This paper explores the similarities and differences in these perceptions, revealed through small-group discussions among Lao participants in the workshops.