English language teachers from across Ho Chi Minh City have gathered to share knowledge and ideas at an inaugural event hosted by RMIT Vietnam’s Centre of English Language.
More than 75 local English language teaching professionals attended the TESOL Talks event on Saturday 26 July, the first event of a new quarterly speaker series for practitioners in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
The event was a collaboration between RMIT Vietnam, ACET and HCMC TESOL Association.
Event activities focused on the theme of 'Student Engagement,' with a workshop on promoting engagement through 'Gamification,' and a panel session that explored the theoretical and practical issues involved in student engagement efforts.
RMIT Vietnam's Travis Henry and ACET's Anna Mendoza presented the workshop on 'Sowing the Seeds for Deeper Learning through Gamification'.
Presenter Travis Henry said gamification is the application of principles of good game design to classroom teaching practice.
"It's not merely adding games to classroom teaching, but noticing characteristics common to both good game design and good teaching practice," Mr Henry said.
"For example, the competitive characteristic of many games can be seen to increase users' motivation, and this is often true in the classroom as well."
The panel session on student engagement was moderated by RMIT English-Language Educator Heather Swenddal and included five panelists: Nguyen Ngoc Vu from the HCMC University of Education, Jason Bednarz from the Australian Centre for Education and Training, Dr. Tran Thi Minh Phuong from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, as well as Paul Williams and Nicholas Maxwell from RMIT Vietnam.
Moderator Heather Swenddal said 'student engagement' is a prominent buzzword in education, yet its precise meaning and the best practices associated with it are widely debated.
"Panelists and audience members enjoyed a lively discussion on key issues around the topic of student engagement - including the ambiguity of the term itself," Ms Swenddal said.
"The group parsed and compared related theoretical frameworks, considered the roles and responsibilities of educators and institutions, and shared practical, real-world tips for building engagement with English-language learners in Vietnam."
The success of the first TESOL Talks event demonstrates the interest by English language teaching professionals across the city to share ideas on teaching and learning.
The next TESOL Talks event, which will be on innovative teaching methodologies, is planned for Saturday 11 October at RMIT Vietnam Saigon South.
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View photos from July's TESOL Talks event on the RMIT Vietnam Professional Learning Facebook.