Three UK–VN projects have recently been given the go ahead for funding as part of a pilot initiative aimed at improving the teaching and learning of English in Vietnam through digital and online access.
The Digital Learning Innovation Fund aims to encourage partnerships between the UK and Vietnam which generate new research, insight and/or innovations to improve the teaching and learning of English. With the impact of Covid-19 on learning, British Council and Vietnam’s National Foreign Languages Project (NFLP) are keen to ensure that future remote and online learning opportunities are more equitable and accessible to all, rather than just a few, and that they are sustainable over time.
The idea behind the Innovation Fund initiative was first announced at a virtual UK-VN ELT mission (September 2020). By March 2021, some nine UK–VN consortia had been formed and application proposals submitted. From those, three winning projects have been selected for funding in this pilot round.
- The Digital English Theatre project was designed by IH Belfast, Hands Up and Can Tho University to demonstrate how theatre can be successfully integrated into language learning curricula, through the use of existing digital resources, in order to improve communication skills and motivate both teachers and learners. Jonathan Dykes from IH Belfast said, ‘We're delighted that our project has been selected and we're really looking forward to working with our partners in Vietnam, and with a good number of teachers and learners. Our aim is to demonstrate how the power of drama combined with the power of modern, digital technology can have a real impact on learner outcomes.’
- IH London and Hanoi Pedagogical University 2 (HPU2) will develop an open CPD self-access course for primary teachers. Course materials will be developed in conjunction with over 60 teachers taking part in a mentoring programme over the next 12 months. Incidentally, this UK–Viet Nam partnership was forged out of the September 2020 virtual ELT mission mentioned above. HPU2’s Nguyễn Thị Hồng Nhật said, ‘We are excited to embark on this project. We are passionate about improving the quality of education in Viet Nam and helping to bridge the gap between educational staff in rural and mountainous areas, and those in urban areas. We are delighted to have found an experienced partner in IHL that share our ambitious goals to enhance CPD among teachers.’ Meanwhile, IH London’s Eleanor Maly said, ‘There are a lot of synergies in our educational missions; we have a shared commitment to and passion for teacher education, and a firm belief in the positive impact of quality continuous professional development (CPD) for teachers in Viet Nam. We are delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this exciting project.’
- ViVEXELT (Vietnam Virtual Exchange for English Language Teaching) will see over 120 teachers in Viet Nam and the UK participating in online collaborative courses and virtual communities of practice as an innovative model of continuing professional development for English language teachers. The ViVEXELT community of practice will support participants to reflect on ELT. Such reflections will inform the creation of reusable and shareable ELT digital resources, such as CPD videos. which will be made available to all. Coventry University and Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) already have strong credentials in EdTech and have partnered in the UK-VN Higher Education Partnership (HEP) project. Marina Orsini-Jones, Coventry University, and HUST’s Bui Thi Ngoc Thuy said, ‘We are delighted to have been awarded the pilot funding for our ViVEXELT project and would like to thank the British Council and NFLP for offering us this unique opportunity to create a new and sustainable Viet Nam/UK ELT community of research and practice.’
All three projects will start this month (April 2021) and continue over the next 9–12 months. The projects will be monitored and evaluated for their impact throughout the next 12 months. Towards the end of this 12 month period, research, insight and learning from the three projects will be shared in order to reflect on the benefits of each one and also to consider how existing projects could be scaled up and made even more sustainable. In addition, consideration will be given to future digital innovation initiatives, both in Vietnam and across East Asia.
The Innovation Fund and the three projects themselves will be formally launched at an online event due to be held in mid-late May.
Throughout the next 12 months, we will feature regular updates about the three pilot projects from the Digital Learning Innovation Fund in the monthly British Council in Vietnam e-newsletter, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.