TESOL Talks 5 Call for Proposals

tesol talks logo


Formative feedback: tips for guiding students’ ongoing development

Learning is a process of trial and error, and feedback is the key to improvement. As subtle as a facial expression, as striking as a final grade, feedback gives learners information about their success—and ideally, how to increase it. Helpful feedback is formative: it provides actionable information that learners can use to develop their knowledge, texts, and skills. This feedback can come from anyone: a teacher, a peer—even a stranger. It can take many shapes and be delivered in a variety of ways: the possibilities are endless!

For this TESOL Talks event, we invite teachers of all backgrounds to share ideas about providing and/or facilitating formative feedback. To accommodate multiple speakers and encourage first-time presenters to participate, all presentations will be Pecha Kucha style: six minutes long, with 20 simple slides of 20 seconds each. Each presentation should focus on a single idea related to formative feedback. You could articulate a philosophy (“Why I prioritize peer feedback”), share a strategy (“Three tips for providing constructive criticism”), contrast two approaches (“Peer editing vs. peer response”), and more!

All ideas are welcome and appreciated.

To propose a presentation, please email hcmctesoltalks@gmail.com with the following information no later than 5:00pm on Monday 19th October:

  1. Your name and institution
  2. The title of your presentation (no more than 12 words, please)
  3. A short description of your presentation: 50-100 words outlining what you will talk about, why it’s important, and what presenters may take away from your talk.

For guides and examples for designing Pecha Kucha style presentations, check out:

How to make a PechaKucha

A PechaKucha about PechaKucha

Scott Thornbury’s PechaKucha

Please contact your local TESOL Talks representative or hcmctesoltalks@gmail.com with any questions. We hope to see you on Saturday 14th November at the TESOL Talks event in Ho Chi Minh City!

(Source: TESOL Talks Facebook Page)


Mobile phones help teach English better, HCM City university study finds


Dr Nguyen Ngoc Vu, dean of English department at the HCM City University of Education, speaks at Viet Nam-USA Society English Centers (VUS)’ annual Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages conference. — Photo Courtersy of VUS

HCM CITY (VNS) — Mobile-assisted language learning is helping the English department at the HCM City University of Education improve its students’ proficiency, Dr Nguyen Ngoc Vu, the department’s dean, said.

Speaking at the Viet Nam-USA Society English Centers (VUS)’ annual Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages conference on Friday, he said the increased availability and falling cost of mobile devices in recent years see many students come to language classrooms with smart phones or iPads.

But many use them to listen to music, watch films or access social media instead of for learning, possibly because they have not had the opportunity to use them for learning, he said.

In 2011 he and his colleagues took the existing e-learning system on desk computers and redesigned it for use on mobiles, he said.

The mobile devices are now used to receive text/multimedia messages from teachers with course content and administrative information about courses, schedules, tests, and assignments; look up online dictionaries; take photos of notes; and record lectures to listen to later, he said.

Students using smart phones can also join discussion forums, watch tutorial movies, provide feedback, submit assignments online, and download study materials, he said.

Mobile-assisted language learning is now part of the curriculum at his department, he said.

A study of the efficiency of mobile-assisted learning in which 132 students aged 20 to 22 were rated last year showed their level of proficiency to be upper intermediate, he said.

Most students are ready for mobile learning, which gives them a choice of learning materials, schedules and styles and prepares them for the 21st century work environment, he added.

The challenges facing mobile learning, Vu told Viet Nam News, include slow internet connection and the fact that reading too much on a laptop or mobile device is tiring.

To get over the former problem, the university has helped by providing the department a dedicated server, he said.

It also poses difficulties for students and teaches with poor computer skills, he said, stating an obvious problem.

The conference, which this year had the theme “Celebrating Diversity in English Language Teaching in Asia,” attracted nearly 2,000 foreign and local English teachers and managers.

It discussed current teaching practices and issues in Việt Nam and other Asian countries to explore various ways of making English language teaching more interesting and effective.

Stephen Thomas, VUS’s academic advisor, said making teaching more interesting, productive and creative is crucial to facilitating students’ English language learning process.

Deputy Minister of Education and Training Phạm Mạnh Hung said his ministry wants to have close co-operation with the private sector in English language teaching to speed up the implementation of the National Project for Foreign Language Development 2020 and achieve comprehensive and fundamental reform of education.

English centres are encouraged to expand and diversify co-operation with countries having the languages needed by Vietnamese students, he added. — VNS

(Source: http://vietnamnews.vn/society/273629/mobile-phones-help-teach-english-better-hcm-city-university-study-finds.html)

TESOL’s Executive Director chats with TESOL HCMC

Dr. Rosa Aronson (middle) with TESOL HCMC members
Dr. Rosa Aronson (middle) with TESOL HCMC’s members

A warm and enlightening conversation with Dr. Rosa Aronson, Executive Director, TESOL International Association (TESOL).

The honor belongs to us, TESOL HCMC (HCMC)’s committee members to welcome Dr. Rosa Aronson, to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She’s in Vietnam for the TESOL Symposium in Danang – (TESOL partners with the National Foreign Language 2020 Project and the University of Foreign Language Studies, the University of Danang – See more at: http://bit.ly/1MxOm9q

Although the aim of the meeting for us was to learn about each other’s past, present and future, HCMC expressed a strong wish to become one of TESOL’s affiliates. In light of that, we were clearly briefed on the benefits of joining a network of 100-odd affiliates of the thriving TESOL. In fact there will be tangible benefits once HCMC joins that network.

  • We don’t have to pay fees for annual membership (other US-based affiliates do!) as Vietnam is in the global reach zone.
  • We will have one free member registration at TESOL’s annual conference.
  • We might receive one speaker from TESOL to present at our local conference thanks to their funding.

On the other hand, the membership of HCMC will certainly add diversity to the highly multilingual landscape on TESOL affiliates’ map. HCMC’s contributing voice will be small, but unique enough to be shared with other teaching contexts.

Then Dr. Aronson shed light on the five goals of TESOL regarding advocacy, professional learning, governance, research and standards.

For a young association like TESOL HCCM, the alignment with such goals will take time and efforts, and might even go through unexpected trial and error phases. But this eye-opening conversation with Dr. Aronson has really encouraged us to keep moving forward. We’re fully aware of the obvious obstacles: lack of funding, overwhelming work and sometimes even personal conflicts that voluntary committee members are experiencing; however, we believe that the TESOL’s global reach scheme will play a significant role in HCMC’s achieving international standards.

The most interesting part of this informal exchange is learning about the diverse, non-native backgrounds of devoted TESOL’s presidents. One was born in China. One was born in Egypt. One was born in Guyana… and Dr. Aronson, our beloved guest, she herself a non-native speaker of English who is now also strongly advocating for TEFL equity!

HCMC’s ready to file an affiliate application to TESOL. Let’s all hope it goes successfully before TESOL’s 50 anniversary in Baltimore, the U.S in 2016.

Thank you Dr. Rosa Aronson for your short but valuable visit!


HCM, Vietnam

TESOL HCMC Assembly, Flipping Classroom, and Bringing Classroom to Life.

TESOL HCMC Assembly, Flipping Classroom, and Bringing Classroom to Life.

Highlights from Carolina Nabors’ Flipping classroom, David Persey’s Bring classroom to life and TESOL HCMC Assembly Meeting on 15 May 2015 Place: Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Part 1: Flipping classroom

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCWnkZIoSDM

There’s no doubt that flipping classroom is not a new tech trend but it’s always useful to learn implementations from real practitioners. This time the topic was interestingly addressed by Ms. Carolina Nabors, an English Language Fellow who shared her experience working at HCMC University of Education. A very approachable talk indeed! IMG_20150515_085813 The key thing is teachers should flip the order of Bloom’s taxonomy. While the traditional classroom sequence would be Remember activities on the bottom line, Flipping classroom contested that order: flippedpyramid She suggest that Flipping should be considered on one of these four conditions:

  1. When the topics are confusing.
  2. When key knowledge points need covering.
  3. When topics are boring.
  4. When teachers want to adopt an authentic approach.

Useful websites like Youtube, Purdue Owl, TedEd and Saylor.org were also highly recommended. In my opinion, the most interesting part of her talks was when she described her previous teaching experience in Nicaragua. Since there was limited internet connection, teachers there had good reasons to laugh at the idea of flipping. She then challenged their thinking by using available tech tools – USB. She copied files to students’ USB, asking the public Internet owners to let students use the computer for some free hours. It simply worked. Back to Vietnam’s context, she was very glad it looked like an Internet heaven here so Flipping could be carried out with no organization hurdles. And she affirmed that social media (Facebook) works better than other forms (email) when it comes to classroom communications. It makes sense: Facebook users now reach the billion-user milestone. Again and again the ‘start small’ reminder resonates other speakers on technology integration: teachers can introduce flipping lessons at some points in the course and on selected topics rather than putting all eggs into one basket. My conclusion is that Vietnamese learners of English are ready to be flipped. It’s how and what we flip that matters. And Carolina’ talk successfully presented a strong case.

Part 2: Bringing classroom to life

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOpKpUtmHcE

David Persey on Bringing Classroom to Life (promoting the coursebook series Life by National Geographic and Cengage Learning) Following Caroline’s talk, David, more than once, surprised me and Carolina herself (from her facial expressions J) by referring to the concept of ‘Teachers as Facilitators’ mentioned earlier in Carolina’s talk. He had been listening to Caroline very attentively, taking notes and adding new slides to his presentation. Such an encouraging listener! The other two practical things I’ve learned are how teachers can make learners SCAN the image and use their own personal films to activate classroom engagement. Image should be shown first with guiding questions. Students then had a quick discussion and predictions before teachers revealing answers. Guess who this person is. In order to use effective videos in the classroom, teachers can play the sound first, with the visuals being covered, students then guess the 5W content of the film: Who/What/Where/When/Why. And he went further by showing how personal family films can be motivating. Overall David has proven to be a truly professional presenter: he listened, he shared and he activated participation.

Part 3: TESOL HCMC Assembly On commenting the new term of TESOL HCMC(2015-2017), a new board of TESOL HCMC was elected. Here is the full list:

  1. Dr. Doan Hue Dung
  2. Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Vu
  3. Dr. Le Hoang Dung
  4. Dr. Do Huu Nguyen Loc
  5. Pham Tan, M.A
  6. Tran Quang Minh, M.A
  7. Mai Minh Tien, M.A
  8. Nguyen Thi Thuy Duong, M.A
  9. Le Thanh Ngan, M.A
  10. Nguyen Thi Thu Ngan, M.A
  11. Nguyen Nhu Tung, M.A
  12. Bui Thuc Quyen, M.A
  13. Tran Dinh Nguyen Lu, M.A
  14. Bui Duc Tien, M.A
  15. Tran Quoc Viet, M.A

Honorary Member: Dr. Tran Thi Minh Phuong Thank you Carolina, David and University of Social Sciences and Humanities for hosting this useful event. TESOL HCMC Association will surely return with more valuable professional development activities for teachers in Ho Chi Minh City!


TESOL Talks 2: Renowned English language expert presents at TESOL Talks

More than 220 English language teaching professionals from across Ho Chi Minh City recently heard from Professor Scott Thornbury from the New School New York on the ‘Secret History of Methods’ and ‘Discourse Practices’ in English language education at the second TESOL Talks event.

Professor Thornbury is well-known in the English language teaching community for his expertise as a curriculum designer and teacher educator.

His writing credits include several award-winning books for teachers on language and methodology, such as ‘About Language’ (Cambridge University Press).

The audience, representing 15 local universities and five private language colleges, gathered for the plenary presentations at RMIT Vietnam Saigon South in mid-October as part of the quarterly seminar series for practitioners in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

RMIT Vietnam Coordinator Professional Learning Fiona Wiebusch said Professor Thornbury is one of the most prominent figures in the English language teaching profession today.

“We’re thrilled to have Professor Thornbury in Vietnam to share his expertise and experience with the English language teaching community,” Ms Wiebusch said.

“Professor Thornbury will now be able to share the context of English language teaching in Vietnam with his global audience.”

RMIT Vietnam English Language Instructors Juliet Markis and Eric Asato joined four English language practitioners from the Australian Centre for Education (ACET), The University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and Vietnam National University, to host discussion forums on ‘task-based learning’ and ‘blended language learning’.

This second event represented the growing interest from TESOL professionals in Vietnam to engage in a collaborative approach to sharing ideas about practice.

The first event was held earlier this year at RMIT Vietnam, with 75 industry professionals joining discussions focused on the theme of student engagement and motivation.

TESOL Talks was established by RMIT Vietnam’s Centre of English Language, in collaboration with ACET and HCMC TESOL Association.

The next event will be hosted by ACET in early 2015.

Professor Scott Thornbury



(Source: http://www.rmit.edu.vn/news/renowned-english-language-expert-presents-tesol-talks)

TESOL Talks 1: Forum for HCMC’s TESOL Community

Forum for HCMC’s TESOL Community

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.


tesoltalks 1

(Source: http://www.rmit.edu.vn/news/forum-hcmcs-tesol-community)

4th Annual International Conference on TESOL: “English Language Learning: A Focus on the Learner

4th Annual International Conference on TESOL: “English Language Learning: A Focus on the Learner”

 On August 29-30, 2013, the 4th Annual International Conference on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) “English Language Learning: a Focus on the Learner” was held at the Center’s premises by SEAMEO RETRAC in cooperation with TESOL-HCMC and Curtin University, Australia.

More than 200 participants attended 29 presentations and 5 workshops presented at the conference by eminent researchers, lecturers and scholars with such a variety of topics as: learner differences, motivation in language learning, learner autonomy, language aspect and skill development, English for young learners, English learners and ICT use, and other related issues.

The conference was a forum for professionals in the field of English language education to share and discuss research findings, experiences, and practical and theoretical issues related to the teaching of English to learners of different backgrounds, levels, interests and motives. This was a valuable opportunity for English teachers to engage themselves in continued professional development, networking and cooperation activities with their colleagues coming from different parts of the world.

Moreover, this international conference aimed at contributing to the professional development for English teachers in order to successfully implement the goals of the National Foreign Languages Project 2020, and expanding the cooperative links with regional and international countries in the field of language teaching.
On this occasion, the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City sponsored the registration fees for 50 participants who are English teachers from disadvantaged provinces in Vietnam to attend the conference.

(Source: http://www.vnseameo.org/?id=599)

3rd International Conference on TESOL “English Learning: A Focus on English Use”

3rd International Conference on TESOL “English Learning: A Focus on English Use”

Jointly conducted by SEAMEO RETRAC, HCMC-TESOL Association, Curtin University, and the University of Foreign Language Studies, University of Da Nang (UFLSUD), the 3rd International Conference on “English Learning: A Focus on English Use” held at UFLSUD’s premises in beautiful Da Nang City on August 9-11, 2012, provided TESOL professionals an opportunity to share their new research findings and ideas in English teaching.

More than 200 delegates from Vietnam and other countries attended the conference. There were 5 workshops and 44 papers presented at the conference, focusing on latest studies, teaching and learning strategies as well as the use of English obtained from their classroom contexts. In addition, networking sessions continued to help institutions and individuals connect with one another in an attempt to develop a TESOL community and expand post-event linkages. Most of the participants expressed their satisfaction on the content of the presentations, the organization and the logistics. They also wish to attend the 4th conference to be held next year.

(Source: http://www.vnseameo.org/?id=560)

International TESOL Conference on “ENGLISH FOR ALL”

Jointly conducted by SEAMEO RETRAC, HCMC-TESOL Association, Curtin University, and Hue University College of Foreign Languages, the International Conference on “ENGLISH FOR ALL” held on September 15-17, 2011, provided TESOL professionals an opportunity to share their new research findings and ideas in English teaching.

More than 200 delegates from Vietnam and other countries attended the conference. Among distinguished speakers were Assoc. Prof. Rhonda Oliver, School of Education, Curtin University, Australia; Ms. Linda Hanington, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Prof.  Dr.  Mary Ellen Butler-Pascoe, Systemwide Director of TESOL and International Language Education, Alliant International University, USA; Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Hung, Ministry of Education and Training; Assoc. Prof. Koji Uenishi, Prof. Bradley Grindstaff, and Prof. Charles McHugh from Japan; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phairin Rugsakorn, Assoc. Prof Dr. Channarong Intaraprasert,  and Dr. Kantatip Sinhaneti from Thailand; Ms. Helen Huntley, IIE Vietnam; Mr. Stuart Vinnie, Cambridge University Press, UK; and Ms. Ekaning Krisnawati, Adjadjaran University Bandung, Indonesia. There were 9 workshops and 36 papers presented at the conference, focusing on latest studies, teaching strategies and techniques obtained from their classroom contexts. In addition, networking sessions were initiated for institutions and individuals to connect with one another in an attempt to develop a TESOL community and expand post-event linkages.

(Source: http://www.vnseameo.org/?id=555)