Keynote Sessions

Innovation

Tools for choosing the right technologies
Jill Boggs, Department of Education, University of Oxford, England

This plenary equips teachers with tools to extend their professional development beyond the symposium. In the first half of the session, we take a brief look at some relevant research on computer-assisted language learning (CALL). To illustrate the practical value of research, the discussion examines some of the main theories underpinning the use of technology for language learning. This theoretical discussion helps teachers express more explicitly what they are doing and why they are doing it when they bring activities based on new technologies into their classrooms. 

The second half of the plenary session focuses on ensuring that teachers are confident evaluating future CALL activities on their own. Without the knowledge and ability to critically examine technologies, choosing the right ones can be an overwhelming task. To save teachers’ time and energy, this session looks at CALL frameworks that can guide teachers in choosing and evaluating new technologies and help ensure that their choices result in student learning.

Innovation in ELT: Supporting learner autonomy and diversity using technologies 
Lillian L. C. Wong, Centre for Applied English Studies The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Interest in learner autonomy has increased substantially in recent years with the promotion of student-centered pedagogy and the growing awareness of the need to address learner diversity. New directions and developments in technology are driving and, to certain extent, enabling more innovative approaches to learning and teaching by providing more and more varied online resources, network services, and educational platforms. These new technologies create opportunities for interaction and support for learning outside the classroom. More recently, developments in mobile technologies and the explosion in the use of social media have accelerated and extended opportunities for autonomous language learning and supporting learner diversity, both in the classroom and beyond. 

In this plenary I discuss English language education in this time of change and innovation by proposing a reconceptualization of autonomous learning from its general understanding as a set of skills, strategies, or attitudes, to more specific abilities to participate in and effectively employ different learning environments, in which technology plays an important facilitative and enhancing role. I explore various practices in using (emerging) technologies to support autonomous language learning and learner diversity. I also examine theoretical concepts such as collaborative learning, project-based learning, learning to learn, self-directed learning, and personalized learning in relation to the use of various technologies in facilitating innovation in English language teaching and learning.  

Implementation

The classroom teacher’s role in implementation, instruction, intercultural communication, and inspiration
Rosemary Orlando, Institute for Language Education, School of Arts and Sciences, Southern New Hampshire University, Hooksett, New Hampshire, United States

In response to the ever-changing landscape in English language teaching brought about by globalization and technological advancements, Vietnam is addressing the quality of its ELT curricula and is struggling to raise the bar on teacher standards. With so many new competing methodologies, approaches, technology, and materials, it is important that teachers do not throw away that which has been successful thus far. As teachers progress from learning about best practices in teaching techniques and methodologies to a deeper understanding of their role in helping to change learners’ attitudes, they need to look beyond language teaching and see themselves as leaders in their own classrooms and within their educational settings. It is very difficult to separate the teacher from the teaching, which often involves motivating students and keeping the lessons interesting. Helping teachers understand how their culture and cultural context influences the teaching and learning process enables them to implement effective, quality instruction. Taking into account the local cultural context and building on a framework of collaboration and cooperation, the result can be a successful experience for both teachers and learners.

The development of the 10-year English textbook series for Vietnamese schools under the National Foreign Language Project 2020: A cross-cultural collaborative experience
Hoang Van Van, Dean, Department of Postgraduate Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi

This keynote consists of three parts concerned with the development of the 10-year English textbook series for Vietnamese schools under the National Foreign Language Project 2020 (NFLP 2020). Part one provides backgrounds to and bases for the development of the textbook series by presenting a brief overview of the NFLP 2020, locating our textbook series development project in the NFLP 2020 space. It also examines the Ministry of Education and Training’s (MOET) three English curricula and MOET’s Six-level Foreign Language Proficiency Framework for Vietnam (VNFLPF), which provide legal bases and academic guidelines for developing our textbook series. Part two will describe collaborative project the authors have been undertaking in developing the 10-year English textbook series for Vietnamese schools. The final part describes a world flooded with English textbooks written free from the curriculum of any education system. It argues that the best and most appropriate foreign language textbook(s) are written exclusively for a country, and that these texbook(s) should be the one(s) developed cross-culturally by local authors and the authors who speak English as their mother tongue.

Sustainability

Sustaining sustainability in English language teaching
Anne Burns, Professor of TESOL, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Teachers are at the heart of the classroom and of their students’ learning.  No matter what innovations or reforms are made in policy, curriculum, textbooks, or teaching approaches, it is English teachers who will ultimately implement the change in the classroom with their learners. Therefore, they need to be supported during and beyond their initial professional training to be open to change and prepared to sustain and improve their students’ learning. 

In this keynote, I consider what is meant by sustainability in English language teaching. I  look at some key features of sustainability that are interrelated with introducing and implementing change and innovation. I consider what skills, knowledge, and attitudes teachers need to develop to build their own professional capacity to respond to and sustain change. I illustrate the talk with examples of the kind of professional development that policy makers and school leaders should support to ensure that teachers become lifelong learners as well as lifelong teachers. 

English medium instruction in higher education in Vietnam: From policy to reality 
Thai Duy Bao, Senior Lecturer, Vietnamese Courses Convener, School of Culture, History & Language, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Canberra Australia

A number of recent language policy and planning models are relevant approaches to promoting the goals of national language policies. Given the role of English as a global lingua franca in academic settings, Vietnam's use of English as a medium of instruction (EMI) has emerged as a major instrument for innovation, allowing gradual internationalization and competitiveness of national universities, as well as greater mobility for university graduates, as highlighted in the National Foreign Language Project 2008–2020. In this context, the effectiveness of EMI policy needs to be examined, with special focus on its implementation strategies. Using a variety of data points, this keynote critically examines current EMI policy, the practical outcomes of the existing EMI programs in terms of the overall satisfaction of beneficiaries, and the effectiveness of implementation process, along with the side effects brought by these strategies. This keynote concludes will recommendations for future EMI policy implementation and managing measures for better effectiveness.