The British Council’s New Directions in English Language and Assessment conference opened today in Hanoi. Over 13 and 14 October 2016 experts of language assessment will bring international and national perspectives and insight into trends and approaches in English language teaching, learning and assessment. The MoET National Foreign Language Project 2020 is a full partner.
New Directions is a series of expert-led events in East Asia where policy makers, educational professionals, academics, teachers can interact, exchange information, and keep abreast of leading developments in the field of English language teaching, learning, and assessment.
English language skills provide real opportunities for better employment, for further study overseas, and for engagement with the whole world. An effective language testing and assessment system which tests real skills in communication is essential in the teaching and learning process.
With the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) planning to make English the second language in Vietnam, the topic of English language testing and its implications is of great relevance to policy makers, parents and students in Vietnam. Experts from the MoET’s National Foreign Languages Project 2020 and experts from the UK and other countries will look specifically at language testing in Vietnam, its challenges, and opportunities for development to support English students across the whole country.
Professor Bui Van Ga, Vice Minister of Education and Training of Vietnam said: ‘Language assessment is an important tool in teaching and learning a foreign language. It can be seen as a measurement of learners’ ability to use the language in practice. In the context of deeper international integration, language assessment is much more important. Once language ability is evaluated based on international standards, Vietnam’s workforce will be more competitive in the international labour market as well as having more job opportunities in the context of free labour movement within the ASEAN Economic Community.’
‘The New Directions Conference is a great opportunity for international experts to share their experience with Vietnam in the field of language assessment and standardised language proficiency. The Ministry of Education and Training is delighted to partner with the British Council to organise this conference. This also supports the MoET National Foreign Language Project 2020 in meeting its goals and delivering its planned impact’
Mark Walker, East Asia Regional Director, British Council said: ‘We’re delighted that the East Asia New Directions Conference is held this year in Vietnam, bringing together the best UK, Vietnamese and East Asian experts in language testing to share research and best practice, to help Vietnamese teachers, institutions and employers find new ways to test real English language proficiency. Good language testing is an essential part of the language learning process.
‘The UK is supporting teachers and learners of English across East Asia through the British Council. We are proud to support the Vietnamese government in its effort to build its human capital with English. Knowledge of the English language creates opportunities for international education, better employment, and connections with people and organisations across the world.’
Previous New Directions conferences in Asia have reflected the wide range of challenges facing language education both within the region and internationally. This year’s themes aim to highlight the approaches and solutions to these challenges in Vietnam; for example, experts are expected to present suggestions to relieve the tension that exists between the desire for language learners to be able to use English effectively to communicate and the challenges of administering and scoring performance-based speaking and writing tests to large numbers.
The conference is of interest to academics and researchers, education officials, and teachers from all education sectors - higher, vocational, secondary and primary - as well as to parents and learners who are committed to improving their English language skills.