Teachers gain knowledge of Vietnam

Published 11:00 pm Friday, June 22, 2012

Written by Tyler Spivey

Most people in Alabama only know of Vietnam through stories of war from their fathers and grandfathers, but an educational program held in Troy this week was geared toward encouraging different discussions about the country.

“We’re hoping that with new information about the new Vietnam, teachers can get the students of today out of the time-warp of the war era that has kind of held back interest and knowledge of Vietnam as it has progressed,” said Dr. Noel Kaylor Jr. of the Alabama Humanities Foundation SUPER Teachers Institute.

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Kaylor said the week-long program hosted speakers and fostered open communication about Vietnam. One of the presenters, Dr. Quan Ha, a Vietnamese-American who obtained his Master’s degree from Troy University in 2003, gave a speech about Vietnamese-American literature.

“A lot of presentations [this week] added more to even my knowledge,” Ha said.

Ha, who is now a professor at the University of Montana, said he would like for there to be more discussion on Vietnam beyond the Vietnam War. He’d like the focus to shift to cultural aspects of the country.

And after the institute this week, Ha’s hope is a possibility.

“It’s given us a wide overview of Vietnam,” said Ann Dalton, a participant in the event.

Thomas “Woody” Green, a teacher at St. Clair County High School in Odenville, said the event has been great and that he thinks his newly-acquired knowledge of Vietnam will benefit his students.

The institute is sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the National Endowment Foundation, and Troy University. Kaylor said 13 educators took part in this week’s institute.