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Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau. Lehre Weiterbildung Forschung.

Newsletter SwiBo-Partnership 12_2012

Dear reader

One of the aims of our “North–South Partnership Project” with Bolivia is to carry its ideas and spirit out into as many Swiss and Bolivian classrooms as possible in order to make them enduring. The Swiss-Bolivian–Partnership Newsletter was therefore created with the intention of linking up all former, present and future project participants as well as all the other people who follow and support this partnership.

The SwiBoPartnership Newsletter will appear twice a year (in December and June) and will contain a short series of project updates, student reports and notes from former participants. Furthermore, at the bottom of every newsletter, you will find a section where you can update your personal and professional details in order to make sure you stay connected.

Here at PHTG, we are looking forward to the next project cycle and have just selected the 3rd cohort of Swiss students who are going to participate in 2013. Despite its short duration, this partnership has been able to knit some very close ties between the teachers and students who have participated so far and we hope that this newsletter is going to strengthen them even further!

So thank you for your interest and contributions. We look forward to staying in touch with you!

Saludos, Feliz Navidad and all the best,
Gerit Jaritz & Christina Colberg (PHTG), Editors

Newsletter Content

1. Project News and Information
This section contains news regarding the latest project activities from both partner institutions.

2. Swiss Bolivian Encounters
Here you can find a report on the latest student visit.

3. What are you up to?
This section is dedicated to reports, thoughts and reflections by former project participants who now work as teachers.

4. Notice Board
This is the place where you can share your news and questions with the readers of this newsletter.

5. Create a profile and stay connected
Here you can update your e-mail address and create a short personal profile.


Direct Links

Project News and Information
Swiss Bolivian Encounters
What are you up to?
Notice Board
Create a profile and stay connected


1. Project News and Information


Presentation of the Swiss Student Journals
Learning and Teaching in Bolivia
In October 2012, five students of PHTG accompanied by Annette Brechbühl, lecturer at PHTG, had the opportunity to travel as a part of their diploma project Global Education to Bolivia. The three-week stay was divided into three sections: (i) Introduction to the ESFMSB, including professional exchange on Global Education and Methodology of English Teaching, (ii) Teaching Practice and (iii) a guided tour through Bolivia in which different projects in the field of Global Education and Education for Sustainable Development – within the framework of vocational training – were visited.

The PHTG students summarized their impressions, experiences and adventures in their personal learning journals “Learning and Teaching in Bolivia”. The beautiful and colorful journals were presented on the occasion of a public event at December 13th, 2012 at PHTG (see photos below).

In 2013, the project will go into the next round. The Bolivian students will again visit PHTG in the early springtime, whereas the Swiss students will travel to Bolivia in October.

Christina Colberg, PHTG

Selection process at ESFMSB of the next cohort of Bolivian students
Within the project of partnership with Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau (PHTG), Kreuzlingen, Switzerland and ESCUELA SUPERIOR DE FORMACIÓN DE MAESTROS “SIMÓN BOLÍVAR” (ESFMSB), La Paz, Bolivia, with the purpose of developing the pedagogic concept of Global Education and the teaching of English as a foreign language, and pursuing the objectives stated in the agreement signed by the authorities of both institutions, has prepared a selection process of the cohort of Bolivian students who are interested in participating in the project and visit Switzerland during the spring term of 2013.

ESCUELA SUPERIOR DE FORMACIÓN DE MAESTROS “SIMÓN BOLÍVAR” has designed the selection process based on criteria to meet the project’s general and specific objectives. The process is the following:
Dec 3: Launch an open invitation to students of the Communication and Language Department.
Dec 13: English language examination. Only the students who pass the exam will qualify for the next stage.
Dec 21: Candidates submit English teaching Project with Global Education approach.
Dec 26: Presentation of the project

The selected students will be those who obtain the highest scores in the process, and the number of selected students will be the same as that of PHTG students in order to form the tandems required.

Jorge Bárcena, ESFMSB


2. Swiss Bolivian Encounters


This year’s trip to Bolivia…
This year’s trip to Bolivia was a comforting mix of familiar and new. The flight was pleasantly different – fewer connections and less bureaucratic hassle – and our arrival at La Paz International Airport very pleasantly familiar …. warm and welcoming.

The accommodation was, as in the previous year, with the PHTG students in a hostel and me in a small hotel about ten minutes‘ walk away. Pancakes for breakfast and coca tea, which apparently may not be imported into Switzerland but is, in my opinion, a very good daily hot drink.

The school was surprisingly different to last year; the parts I remembered were being renovated, and all the furniture, equipment and so on from this building was being stored wherever space could be found, in other classrooms, outside with a plastic cover, wherever … but still there was room for the Swiss delegation, and in fact we ended up commuting between two sites.

Familiar and – if possible – even more dramatic than in the previous year was the cultural presentation of their country by the students of our partner school. This took place in the outside courtyard this year; so much space was needed for the flurry of the colourful costumes and the dancing, as each region of the country presented itself. Here and there we Swiss found ourselves being pulled up by the hand and swept across the concrete yard to join in the dancing and singing. Of course, what the local people forget is that we lowlanders have enough difficulty just breathing at this high altitude, let alone being energetic!

The first week flew by with a busy programme of visits … getting to know the school, being driven around the city as tourists, meeting the “Man from the Ministry (of Education)”, who was interested to know more about the partnership, and so on.

The intervening weekend was spent, as in the previous year, in Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Familiar inasmuch as this is an unforgettable place, with its huge cathedral, the very special Black Madonna, the new cars that their owners bring to be blessed by the church, “hippie” tourists from all corners of the world selling cheap jewellery, local people selling their wares on the streets till late at night, and much much more …. so small and yet with an atmosphere of life and energy. We visited Sun Island too, a small dot in the huge lake, and – new for this year, a small village a few kilometres away which is trying to establish eco-tourism as a way a earning money for its small community. Can you imagine the perfect peace and quiet of being rowed out to visit the small-scale trout farm and the floating island where there is a project to re-establish the population of a local giant toad?

The second week, as last year, was devoted to teaching practice, one of the main components of the trip. The sometimes deafening noise of classes with thirty or more primary-aged pupils was suddenly very familiar again! We carried out the teaching practice in the Instituto Americano and also in a second school close to the new campus. How do you keep thirty six extremely lively Bolivian first graders usefully occupied for a full double lesson? One of our Bolivian partner students came up to me after the lesson and was very clear that this was the reason why he’s chosen to finally teach at secondary level …. teenagers, he felt, would be much easier!

And so the second week also came slowly to a close. One evening was spent enjoying the hospitality offered by the PHTG; all participants of the project met in a restaurant to enjoy  a meal together. It really was a very enjoyable evening, where we could eat and drink very well – for a price that we can only dream of here in Switzerland! – and exchange of thoughts and experiences from the previous two weeks.

For me that was then the end of my second trip to Bolivia; the student group carried on for another week travelling around the country, which I hope I will also some time be able to do. I think of Bolivia and to my mind comes immediately a huge array of bright colours, talk, spontaneity and friendship … and I remember with gratitude the warm reception and endless good humour of the people I have met there. What a privilege!

Annette Brechbühl, PHTG


3. What are you up to?


Non scholae, sed vitae discimus…
…is a Latin phrase, meaning: We do not learn for school, but for life, meaning that one should not gain knowledge and skill to please a teacher, but because of the benefits they will gain in their life.

I am 23 years old and finished my studies at the PHTG in summer 2012. Now I’m teaching 24 4th grade pupils as a class teacher. I’ve been working now for four months. One could think that this is a short time and that I am still a beginner. In relation to these four months, I have to agree.

With reference to 23 years of my life, I have to emphasise that I am not a beginner, but I am still a learner. We are all lifelong learners.  Every day we learn, see, observe, experience and meet new things, people, feelings and facts.

For me, being a teacher is an adventure, a pleasure and an honor. As a teacher I may take part in a time period of a children’s life and I have the chance, but also the challenge to attend this person in its way as a learner, as a discoverer, as a separate individual.

I cannot regulate a children’s ambition and I cannot force a pupil to learn something. I can try to inspire the young learners. I can show them the world and its fascinating cultures, facts, difficulties and challenges. As a teacher I am not only a broadcaster of knowledge but also a discoverer, who takes the pupils into the different parts of life and of our world.

The Diplomproject “Global Education, Interculturalality and Sustainable Development“ opened my mind and let me know, that global learning and discovering our world is as important as maths and sports. I got the chance to see another culture, to work with foreign humans and other materials, to open my eyes and to realize how important it is to be and to stay a learner – and to keep my mind open! Learning is not just for school, but for life.

In my life and in my learning process I’ve had many chances to broaden my horizon, to meet new and fascinating people and to see other countries and cultures. My desire to learn was fulfilled. The Bolivia-project only took about one year. Nevertheless, these three weeks, I could spend in Bolivia, enriched my life, my mind and my view on the teaching profession. I had the opportunity to teach 54 pupils - and yes, it was chaos, but I loved it! Bolivia is not comparable to Switzerland.

The Bolivian life and especially the circumstances the people have to deal with are totally different to the European way of life. The Bolivian people are open minded, respectful and very friendly, willing to learn and interested in getting information. They appreciate the time of learning as a privilege and are interested in discovering tools and instruments to improve their modest life. At the same time they are trying to deal carefully with the resources of our earth. People there live in consciousness, that all things are standing in relation to each other and humans have to take care on the fragile balance. Good idea, perhaps a duty we should seriously think more about.

I love to learn, I love to broaden my horizon and this experience definitely enriched my life, my learning process and my attitude about not only being a broadcaster of knowledge but also a discoverer, who takes the pupils into the different parts of life and of our world.

Lena Zollikofer, 4th grade teacher in Berg/TG

On sharing knowledge, thoughts and ideas…
The experience that I had with the project on climate change in the world and in Bolivia was very interesting. The reason I enter this project was because the idea of sharing thoughts with another student from another country with a different culture and belief is very important to me, because when I decided to learn a new language I thought it would be wise to also accept other new ideas, customs and beliefs.

Talking about climate change with another person that lives in a technologically advanced country, which has several factories, helped me understand that while in my country we do not have many opportunities on the technology, we have a spectacular and changeable climate.

This project also motivated me to seek out and inform me more about the earth and what humans are doing with it. I thought I knew a lot about what is happening on earth, the ozone layer, the greenhouse effect etc. But seeing these situations from the point of view of another person who is in a different reference point from my country showed me that the realities are different from what I thought or saw on television.

The cast are also teachers who helped them much like working in the environmental cross with the children (sic), when I met my project partner I loved the willingness and kindness she had with us, especially that she put all of herself to teach Bolivian children.

When talking to them I realized that some of the stereotypes that you have about us are not true, it was very difficult to explain why, in some situations, but the exchange of ideas was worth all the effort of a semester and wonderful.

Claudia Choque, El Alto, La Paz


4. Notice Board


Do you have any news or questions of interest to all readers of this newsletter?
E-mail them to newsletter@phtg.ch and they will be posted here in the next edition of this newsletter.


5. Create a profile and stay connected


We hope that you liked our first newsletter and would like to continue receiving it. Please don't forget to inform us whenever you change your e-mail address in order to make sure you stay connected with the project. You can update your address here.

If you are a Swiss or Bolivian project alumni, we would appreciate if you use the link below to create a short personal profile and let us know about where and what you teach. Link

Thank you for your time and interest!