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Keeping it simple:
Engagement in challenging times

Saturday, 4 December 2021


Online event



Minimal preparation for maximum gain

Working online has increased teachers’ screen time to a huge degree. Spending long hours preparing the ‘perfect’ lesson only to be faced with a reluctant class and very little engagement can be demoralising. Feeling constrained by the demands of having to use set texts further adds to this pressure.


However, with a little time spent on preparing weekly or termly overviews and putting the onus back on the students, teachers can reduce lesson planning time significantly and foster a more engaged, student-centred classroom. These techniques and tools can also be adapted for the return to the traditional face-to-face classroom environment.


This workshop will share tips for reducing lesson planning time, using student-generated content and maximising opportunities for student engagement. Participants will leave the session with practical ideas of how to plan more efficiently, exploit students’ own output, and create fun and engaging activities for students, all with minimal preparation.

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Ged BOYLE (BA (Hons), MA, Delta) is a Senior Educator and Professional Learning Specialist at RMIT Vietnam.He has been working in ELT for over 20 years, largely in EAP for university.


He has held numerous roles as teacher, manager, examiner, trainer and also works as a Delta local tutor for Module 2.


His passions include encouraging learner autonomy and teacher training; empowering students and teachers alike to identify and build on their own strengths and highlight areas for their own further development.

Padlet: A tool for learner engagement

Padlet is a simple but versatile and effective way to keep learners engaged during online teaching. Padlet is easy to learn, free, and requires no student account or log in. The platform is colorful, captivating and can be customized to be made even more appealing for specific groups of learners.


This workshop will focus on speaking and writing, incorporating both peer and teacher feedback. These activities would be done after a “get-to-know-you” Padlet activity is taught, both for its pedagogical usefulness and as a way for these session participants to actually get somewhat acquainted with one another.


Given the ease and user-friendliness of Padlet, the expectation is that workshop Attendees will take away full capability of doing activities like or similar to the ones demonstrated.

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Richard MURPHY works out of Danang for RMIT University Vietnam’s School of English and University Pathways. Murphy moved from the USA to Vietnam in 2005 and earned his CELTA in Ho Chi Minh City shortly thereafter. Since then he has acquired 15 years of teaching and examination experience, in fields including IELTS, EAP, Cambridge assessment English, and corporate English. He has taught throughout Vietnam and a bit in Mongolia. Back in America, Murphy earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. This was followed by a 15-year career as a human science research specialist.

Micro activities to aid language development and encourage engagement within the classroom.

One of the biggest challenges within any classroom is keeping students engaged and following the lesson. Moreover, it is often difficult to track students’ progress and check understanding, not only in the online classroom, but also when teaching physically on campus. This hands-on workshop aims to give teachers a bite-sized approach to making classes more digestible for learners utilizing the latest technology. All activities within this workshop are fully flexible and can be used either online or offline, without adaptation. Participants of this workshop will see first-hand how the students can work together using a variety of tools which are seamlessly integrated into the lesson. Furthermore, the workshop aims to leave participants with an array of tools and means to aid student language development and boost engagement.

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Dominic REED is an Educator with the School of English and University Pathways (SEUP) at RMIT Vietnam. He mostly has experience in teaching young adults/teens in upper high school level and is currently in charge of training new teachers for the Junior program of a well-known language centre in HCMC. He is contactable at

Variety within routine:balancing novelty, interest, and cognitive load

Variety within routine is an important aspect of teaching. While teachers are aware of the necessity of routines for easy classroom management, it can be difficult to balance the introduction of variety or skill extension within the routines a teacher has put into place (both intentionally and unintentionally). This can be especially challenging with young learners both in-person and within online classes as they become unsure of the expectations of their learning and struggle to retain the necessary information in their working memory. This overburdening of the cognitive load affects older students as well although they will be able to hold a larger burden before feeling the negative effects. Online learning or technology-based learning can exaggerate these effects for less technologically proficient students leading to lower overall performance and more stress. This workshop will demonstrate practical ideas during content presentation and guided in-class activities to decrease the cognitive load on students so that teachers can balance novelty and broadening student abilities with the tedium that can come with an overattachment to strict routines.

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Holly PRZYBYLO (PGCE, M.S. Psychology) is a teacher of ELL in a bilingual Grade 1 classroom at Vinschool. She has taught Asia for over 13 years for students of nearly every age group and classroom size, though she specializes in KS1. The pandemic has added nearly a year of large group online teaching to her previous online tutoring experience. Dedicated to self-growth and lifelong learning, she frequently participates in online trainings and conferences as well as online courses in education with her current interests being in EdTech and Literacy.

Mood checks through digital tools

Fostering interaction in online classes is an urgent issue raised by many educators. Over the last eighteen months, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed and shaped the way we teach English. This workshop showcases how digital facilitation tools and mood checks can be used in virtual classrooms. This workshop will show how interactive activities arouse the students’ love of learning and increase their participation, and lesson the feeling of one-way information flow in the online classes. Mood checks are essential to explore the learning psychology and emotions of learners in the lesson. Communication should be thought about both before and after the first class meeting and while preparing for the next lessons. Interactive activities and digital tools can help serve this purpose.The session will introduce four basic principles for creating virtual interaction with learners, using tools such as Miro, Jamboard, Mentimeter, Chatbox, Blooket, Quizlet, and Google Form.

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Ha LE (MA in TESOL, Victoria University Melbourne). She is experienced in teaching adult ESP classes at Lac Hong University, she is involved in preparing materials, designing syllabuses, modifying lessons, and adding to the curriculum. She has been a Speaking Examiner at Cambridge Assessment English for almost eight years. She enjoys sharing practical and demonstration teaching-based strategies with other educators to make the lessons more engaging and interactive for learners so that no one is left behind.

Utilizing Online Tools to Enhance Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning has brought a lot of benefits to foreign language learning such as promoting interaction, reducing anxiety, developing positive attitudes towards teachers, increasing relevant interpersonal and small-group skills and promoting critical thinking skills. However, with the move to online study, it is challenging to maintain the same level of collaborative learning as that of offline classes. This workshop will be a practical session, which aims to demonstrate how to improve collaborative learning in online teaching. The session will use different tech tools to show how to stage a lesson for maximum collaboration. All the applications are user-friendly tools and can be fully-exploited in online classes and offline ones as well.

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DOAN Thi Kieu Oanh (M.A), is an English lecturer of Faculty of Foreign Languages at Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She graduated from University of Foreign Languages, Hue City in 2010 with Bachelor Degree in English Teacher Education, and continued her study at University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh City to get Master of Arts in TESOL Methodology in 2015. She is really interested in technology and always tries to apply the newest tools in her teaching. In the field of research, she is passionate about some topics related to CALL, learner’s motivation, learner’s strategies and project-based learning. She has previously presented at CamTESOL 2020, VietTESOL International Convention 2019, 2020.

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LE Huynh Ha Van (M.A) is currently an English lecturer of the Faculty of Foreign Languages at Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She got a B.A in TEFL (University of Pedagogy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), an M.A in TESOL (Victoria University, Australia) and a certificate in Teaching English as an international language (RELC SEAMEO RETRAC, Singapore). She has presented at conferences such as GLoCALL 2019, VietTESOL International Convention 2019, and ELT Upgrades 2019: A Focus on Methodology – HUFI. Finding solutions to problems in teaching and learning English as well as enhancing students’ motivation are her major concerns.

Exploring the potential of material-light lesson delivery in the modern classroom

The session will explore some of the principles behind a materials-light lesson, discussing how and why material-light lesson delivery could be relevant in this current online learning climate and dispelling some of the myths associated with material-light teaching. This workshop will showcase some simple engagement activities taken from Thornberry’s, Teaching Unplugged (2009) and will look at ways to integrate material-light activities into classrooms to suit different teaching contexts.

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David ON (M.A. in Education) is an Educator at RMIT, SGS, School of English and University Pathways. He graduated from The University of Nottingham with an M.A. in Education in 2019 and has recently completed an International House Certificate in Advanced Methodology. As a long time educator, David On is fascinated by the potential of technology in both the online and face to face classroom. His master’s thesis was on the topic of smartphone usage in the classroom from both a teaching and learner’s perspective.

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