English language educators from many locations met today at RMIT International University Vietnam to hear about latest international developments in English language teaching and learning.
Around 150 people from education and industry were given news of a major renewal of English language teaching curriculum for RMIT around the world - with the benefit of important contributions made by academic staff and students from Vietnam.
RMIT Vietnam staged the event in association with RMIT's international English teaching division, known as RMIT English Worldwide, to ensure that Vietnamese educators and industry would be among the first to hear about the latest revisions.
Invited guests included industry experts in human resources (HR), English teachers from international and Vietnamese high schools, and officials and teachers from Vietnamese universities.
"We're delighted to be able to unveil these latest developments in our English teaching curriculum that are to be applied not just in Vietnam but in Australia and other locations," RMIT Vietnam President Professor Merilyn Liddell said today.
"We're particularly proud that teachers and students here in Vietnam have contributed in important ways to this international development work, by offering their ideas and feedback along the way."
The English curriculum taught at RMIT Vietnam comes from RMIT English Worldwide, a division of RMIT Training, which is the international English teaching and publishing arm of the university operating in a number of countries.
Guests at today's seminar were told that a major focus of the new curriculum was on "keeping it real" for students, through what is known as "task based learning" – exercises which allow students to improve their speaking, listening, reading and writing through realistic real-life scenarios able to be readily transferred to the international worlds of business and study.
The Chief Executive of RMIT Training, Ms Rachel Holthouse, came to Vietnam from Australia for today's seminar to tell guests of the improved results experienced by learners using the latest curriculum and methods.
"We are finding students are getting increased language proficiency, better readiness to enter tertiary studies, more confidence in expressing themselves, a more critical level of literacy, and greater independence," she said.
"One of the most pleasing aspects of the new curriculum is that students and staff here in Vietnam have offered the benefit of their valuable experience to help us shape these latest materials and methods – and they will be able to enjoy some of the earliest benefits."
RMIT Vietnam currently has more than 7,000 students on campuses in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and many of these learn English language at RMIT prior to embarking on degree and diploma programs taught in English.
Internationally, RMIT University has more than 25,000 students coming from non-English speaking countries, with around 10,000 of these being at the Melbourne campus. RMIT English Worldwide teaches around 2,000 students each year, drawn from 60 different countries.
RMIT Vietnam's Director of English language programs, Mr Rod Gillett, told guests at today's seminar that it was exciting to participate in improvements to English learning and teaching in a way that ensured Vietnamese learners' perspectives were being included.
RMIT was happy to share information on the new approaches with other institutions, he said.
RMIT this year celebrates its 10th year of accepting students in Vietnam. Today's English seminar is one of a series of activities being undertaken by the University to make an additional community contribution in its 10th anniversary year.