Recently more than 40 local language educators attended RMIT Vietnam’s Teacher Talks in Danang, where the focus of the professional development sessions was on creating more collaborative and engaging classrooms.
Teacher Talks is the first professional development series for the English teaching community in Vietnam organised by RMIT Vietnam, and builds on the success of TESOL Talks first launched in 2014. This year’s theme is entitled Innovation in Teaching and Learning.
Technology in the classroom
The use of technology has become second nature and is deeply ingrained in our day-to-day lives. This is especially so for Generation Z, commonly referred to as Gen Z, the generation born after Millennials and who have grown up in the social media age.
In one of the event’s workshops, teacher development specialist and presenter Anna Hasper demonstrated how teachers can better engage Gen Z learners in their classrooms using technology.
“To enhance effective teaching and learning in the classroom, we can use visuals and technology tools, create collaborative learning opportunities, actively co-construct meanings, and develop relevant materials involving real life tasks,” said Ms Hasper.
Ms Bui Thi Thu Huyen, an English lecturer from the University of Quang Nam who attended the session, said she was very excited about a presentation related to the use of technology in enhancing teaching performance.
“The presentation has helped me discover more useful applications in teaching, such as Padlet – a free internet application that allows people to express their thoughts on a virtual wall,” Ms Huyen said.
“It also provided a variety of practical, new methods that English teachers can use to enhance their teaching performance.”
While acknowledging the potential of technology in improving learning and teaching, most participants at the workshop in fact expressed concern in relation to introducing technology into high school classrooms. Participants noted that students are not allowed to use smart devices in class for fear of being distracted from their studies.
Professional networking for English teachers
Karen Benson, RMIT Danang Centre Manager, said that the Teacher Talks series creates opportunities for language educators – especially those in Danang – to share, learn and collaborate beyond the geographical boundaries of their college or city, through the use of internet technology.
Ms Benson presented on The Networked Teacher – Professional Learning, and highlighted the importance of a teacher learning network that can be built in Vietnam.
“Vietnam has a large committed community of English language teachers who cannot always interact easily across regions. Let’s build an online community where we can interact easily to share materials and ideas, ask questions and support each other, without having to wait for the next workshop or conference,” said Ms Benson.
“In Australia, we have built a social network where 1200 teachers from different parts of Australia interact very regularly on the Facebook group or other social platforms.”
In addition to Ms Hasper and Ms Benson’s presentations, four other sessions were run through the day, each focused on sharing ways to utilise new approaches to enhance teaching and the student experience. Most sessions were led by RMIT Vietnam English Language Educators.
The Teacher Talks series was run in HCMC, Danang and Hanoi. Two additional Teacher Talks series will be held at these locations later in the year.
Story: Thuy Le