Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quynh (also known as Quynh Nguyen) holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is the founding director of the Center for Testing and Assessment at the University of Languages and International Studies, Vietnam National University, Hanoi (ULIS-VNU). She is currently the Director of the Department of Research, Science and Innovation at ULIS-VNU. She is also the Co-President of the Asian Association for Language Assessment (AALA). She has participated as a key person in many national and international projects on education and assessment. She reviews for some journals on second language acquisition and teacher education, and has presented and published on second language education and assessment.


Opening plenary: Yin & Yang in English education and assessment: A holistic view

Day 1 - Friday 27 October - 17.00-19.00

The yin-yang ‘☯’ symbolizes the interconnection, interdependence and mutual generation of two seemingly opposite forces in life and nature. Motivated by the self-portraying of the speaker as a ‘two in one’ person in many ways (teacher-teacher trainer, teacher-assessor, researcher-practitioner, and decision maker-implementer), the talk draws on this common oriental yin-yang philosophy to discuss different spheres of English education and assessment. The talk is based on the theoretical framework of Comprehensive Learning System (O’Sullivan, 2021) and takes a holistic approach to operationalize this view. It starts with the issues related to the classroom and then continues with those relevant to the language teaching profession and finally the whole education system. The first duality is between nativeness versus nonnativeness in the English language as a subject of education at today’s school. This is itself seen from two different perspectives. On the one hand, it involves what English is being taught, i.e. that is either within or without the so-called Inner Circle in Kachru’s (1985) three concentric model. On the other hand, the nativeness vs nonnativeness issue is reflected in the consideration of who to teach this subject in schools nowadays, especially in EFL contexts such as Vietnam. The next two-sided classroom issue is between the curriculum (at the school level) and assessment, how they are interconnected and interdependent. From a more general view of English teaching and assessment as a profession, the talk then explores the contrast and harmony between theory and practice or delivery in both teaching and assessment of English with facts from Vietnam and some other Asian learning systems. Last but not least, the talk discusses the macro duality of language policy versus English education reform in Vietnam to exemplify how these are mutually generated and formulated. Overall, it is expected that the talk can provide an operationalization of the CLS framework that focuses on the interconnection, interdependence and mutual generation of all two-component aspects of the triangle. It argues that when the yin yang exists among components and sub-components, the CLS is healthy and stable; and such yin-yang harmony seems more easily reached when there are more ‘two in one’ stakeholders in the system.