top of page

Developing Future-Ready Learners: Promoting Independence and Autonomy in 21st Century English Language Learning

Danang city

26 November 2022

Hanoi city

5 November 2022

Ho Chi Minh city

12 November 2022

Facebook Post – 1.jpg

List of workshop

Bios & Abstracts

Phillip Morris
Developing Independent Study Skills with Teen Learners

This workshop will outline a series of three workshops delivered intermittently to teen learners at RMIT on the concepts of: time management, goal setting and prioritising tasks. The overall aim of these workshops is to develop teen learners' independent study skills and it was decided that separating them into three distinct but connected concepts will help provide learners with the tools needed for effective independent study.  


The three workshops use group tasks and challenges that provide a clear context for each of the concepts. Group tasks were chosen to both motivate students to participate as well as allow the opportunity for them to benefit from each other's knowledge and experience of independent study. The first session, time management, has students estimating the times needed to complete each stage of a bridge building task, and then managing their time while building the bridge. The second session, goal setting, introduces the concept of SMART goals to learners and has them putting it into practice through a series of team challenges. The final session, prioritising tasks, uses a scavenger hunt that introduces different self-study tasks to the students before having them prioritising their own selections using a self-study plan. Workshop participants will be guided through the sessions in more detail and be given the opportunity to try out an activity from each of the sessions before discussing how they could apply and adapt the activities to their own teaching context. 

Phillip Morris copy.jpg

Philip Morris is an English teacher at RMIT International University in Vietnam, currently teaching at the Danang campus. He has over ten years’ experience teaching in Vietnam in various locations with a wide range of levels, ages and course types. He has also spent time teaching in Portugal and Ecuador. He has recently completed a Masters in Applied Linguistics and ELT from the University of Nottingham and is interested in vocabulary development, first language use in English language learning, and curriculum design. 

Phillip Harvey
Developing Feedback Responses to Promote Whole-Class Engagement 

The workshop will focus on simple yet effective procedures and routines which teachers can use while teaching virtually and in-person. 


For in-person teaching, teachers will take away a simple procedure for after-activity feedback which promotes whole-class engagement. The system uses standardized, whole-class auditory responses (like students clicking their fingers) to indicate agreement with answers to activities, provides opportunities for students to disagree or show misunderstanding, visually tracks students who offer answers or corrections, and institutes a brief, post feedback reflection. 


As for online learning, teachers will walk away with a simple system--using built-in “reaction” emojis to promote engagement and interaction when overlapping student voices would otherwise be problematic in an online space. There will also be an overview and demonstration of applications which can formatively assess students, which is a tacit method of tracking engagement and participation.  


Participants will discuss the theory behind these procedures and routines, receive guidance in implementing them in their classes and how to routinize these behaviors in their learners.  

Phillip Harvey.jpeg

The presenter is Phillip Harvey and he is a Upper Secondary teacher at Vietnam Australia International School. He currently holds a TEFL certification as well as a K-12 US Teaching License. He has more than seven years of experience with language instruction, including General English, Business English, and the IELTS Exam. He is interested in classroom management and learner training while developing learner fluency and linguistic mediation skills.  

Daniel Holt
Promoting Independence through Extensive Reading 

In this interactive workshop we will be exploring how extensive reading strategies can inspire learners to become more autonomous outside of the classroom. Extensive reading already has a strong evidence base, but it isn’t always clear how we as teachers should implement reading programmes, or how we can develop independent reading habits in our students. 

Participants will join in a series of classroom-based activities that are aimed at boosting engagement whilst being simple and easy to implement. We will have time to discuss any possible challenges of the particular challenges as well as brainstorming solutions. We will also explore the benefits of reading fiction in particular, and how reading stories gives learners with different needs the opportunity to build social skills whilst at the same time developing confidence and fluency in reading. 

It will be shown that, by implementing a handful of simple techniques, we as teachers can leverage a strong sense of engagement, adding to a classroom culture of future-readiness and imagination.   

Daniel Holt.JPG

Hi, my name is Daniel Holt. I have been teaching at RMIT now for almost five years. I teach Academic English and IELTS, but my specialism is English for Teens.  I am passionate about learning and have a deep love of languages. I believe that good quality language learning involves not only the mechanics of grammar and vocabulary, but a deeper exploration of culture and the world around us. 

May Barbree
Learner autonomy and inclusive teaching: Allowing students to shape their own learning experiences. 

This workshop will explore a core feature of inclusive teaching: optimizing individual choice and autonomy. We will examine ways that teachers can offer choices based on student identity, language proficiency, and learning needs without increasing their workload, and how these choices foster independence and autonomy. Participants, in addition to contributing their own ideas and experience with inclusive teaching, will take away activities for varying assignment and assessment design, practical tips for making tasks and courses more inclusive, and low-effort techniques to build autonomy into lessons. 

May Barbree.png

May Barbree is the Learning and Teaching Lead, Hanoi at RMIT University. She has a degree in Education and is Cambridge DELTA qualified. A teacher for over 10 years, she has worked in universities in four countries, and as a Teacher Trainer for several language teaching organizations. She has presented at the “Future of Education” conference, JALT Teacher Journeys, and various other English Language Teaching conferences with focuses on Flipped Learning, differentiation, student and teacher wellbeing, and pronunciation. This is her third Teacher Talks with RMIT Vietnam.

Paul Stanton
The Learner's Choice. Personalized, Motivated and Autonomous: How to Promote Independent Learner Choice for Vocabulary Learning in the 21st Century.

Vocabulary is an essential factor in learning any language (Wilkins,1978). English teachers and textbooks are usually in charge of which vocabulary learners need. However, English teachers could assist their students more by allowing them to choose their own, self-selected vocabulary through what Choi & Ma (2014) and Kirmizi & Komec (2019) referred to as PVL (Personalized Vocabulary Learning). These studies found that PVL allows learners to achieve more success in learning and retaining new words. Studies, such as Tuan (2011) and Karaca & Ocak (2017), showed that learning autonomously enhances learner motivation and also reduces the cognitive load so that the learners and teachers can free up the class time for more productive speaking and writing skills respectively.  

This session will provide participants with the necessary online tools that will promote learner independence outside the class in order to free up time for more productive speaking skills in class, especially in IELTS preparation classes for speaking part 2. 

Participants will leave with practical tools and methods to promote independent learning to allow for much needed speaking activities within the classroom.  

Paul Stanton.png

Paul Stanton is an English Language Educator with RMIT University and Teacher trainer with over 15 years’ experience of teaching in Vietnam within academic institutions and private language centers. He holds an MA in TESOL and Second Language Acquisition, a Cambridge DELTA as well as a CELTA. He is also fluent in the Vietnamese language and has a deep interest in the mysteries of how languages are learnt.  

Tran Vu Bao Uyen
Developing Autonomy: Equipping Learners with Independent Study Skills through Extra-Curricular Activities

This workshop covers two extra-curricular activities for young learners to foster their  independent  language learning namely Reading Challenge and Tiktok Duet Challenge. The presenter will outline  the step-by-step guide to prepare and organize the mentioned activities. Sample materials and students’ products will be provided in the session. Participants are given opportunity to instantly practice and experience creating a piece of easy-to-make challenge content for their classrooms. Fellow teachers taking part in this workshop will take away some appealing and engaging language  learning activities which can be immediately applied into practice.

Tran Vu Bao Uyen - Jennie.jpg

Trần Vũ Bảo Uyên (Jennie) (MA. TESOL). She completed her MA TESOL at  Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom in 2018. Before that, she had gained experience teaching English to young learners aged from 6 to 11 for nearly 3 years. After returning to Vietnam, Uyen has founded Be U English in Ho Chi Minh City since 2019 and served nearly 150 learners of different ages and academic backgrounds. Currently, she is the Founder & CEO of Be U English Language Centre. She is also working as an English Language Teacher and a Teacher Trainer here. Her  area of interest covers English Teaching  to  Young Learners, Learners’ Autonomy and Teacher Education.

Encouraging Autonomous Learning through Incorporating Digital Collaboration in a Face-to-Face Classroom 

Since returning to the face-to-face classroom, teachers who developed or discovered techniques for encouraging independent study and engagement on an online platform are now faced with the task of either adapting them to a physical classroom or abandoning them. My experience with moving between an online and a face-to-face classroom has shown me that the technology and platforms we use in both are not mutually exclusive. Furthermore, incorporating digital collaboration in a face-to-face setting can encourage autonomous learning.    

In this workshop, I will use the medium of vocabulary instruction to show how to encourage both in-class collaboration and asynchronous independent learning on a variety of digital platforms. The workshop will introduce adaptable and flexible techniques for encouraging students to record and build their vocabulary outside of class.      

Participants will leave the session with a better understanding of how to incorporate technology and digital platforms in both physical and virtual classrooms and encourage them to think about ways they can include technology in their lessons.   

Loralee Simonitch.jpg

Loralee Simonitch, Educator and Professional Learning Specialist at RMIT SGS campus.   

With ten years’ experience teaching English, nearly 4 years exclusively online, Loralee brings a range of both virtual and face-to-face strategies to the classroom. While working in different contexts in Indonesia, Thailand, Russia and now Vietnam, Loralee’s students spanned from very young learners to mature adults.     

Her current area of interest is building independent learning in students and independent research in teachers.    

Jack Crean
Using Debate in the English Language Classroom

In today's world, critical thinking is becoming more important than ever before. Teaching students to solve problems is becoming an embedded aspect of curriculums around the world. Moreover, collaborative learning and the acquisition of presentation skills are also valued aspects of the modern curriculum and of learning in general for contemporary society. Many teachers wish to add critical and problem-solving activities to their classes, wish to make learning more engaging and collaborative, and wish to teach effective and functional presentation skills, but struggle to think of activities which promote such soft skill acquisition.  

Using debate within English language classrooms can promote all of the above skills for students. Debate teaches students to look at topics objectively, to use topic-based vocabulary to argue the affirmative or opposing side of a topic, to work together as a team to prepare an argument, and to present concepts with confidence. For students studying for the IELTS assessment, it is particularly useful for preparing for Speaking Part 3 and Writing task 2 which both ask learners to share their opinion on complex and open-ended issues, where they will need to able to solve problems fast and formulate logical ideas. The art of debate workshop will take place in RMIT Danang and will provide a guideline for how debate can be implemented into language classrooms.  

Jack Crean SEUPdate.jpeg

Jack Patrick Crean (BA History and English, MA Education, CELTA) works out of Danang for RMIT University Vietnam’s School of English and University Pathways. Jack has 4 years of teaching experience teaching IELTS English, physical education, independent learning skills, social science, and public speaking.

Areas of interest for language teaching and learning: Active learning, collaborative learning, inquiry-based learning, teaching critical thinking.

Kevin Franklin
Using Flipgrid to Promote Extensive Reading 

In a post-COVID 19 pandemic classroom, teachers must increasingly refocus our attempts to develop students’ self-study skills through engaging activities flexible enough to appeal to a wide variety of learning styles and learning scenarios, whether online, in-person, or hybrid.  Extensive reading is a valuable skill that educators should promote to engage students in and out of the classroom and help students to foster a diverse skillset such as self-guided learning, research, and presentation.  Specifically, Flipgrid is a tool that can be used for extensive reading diaries, with students choosing and responding to given prompts, viewing and responding to their classmates’ work, and presenting that work in videos directed to their classmates.  Participants will develop a familiarity with Flipgrid as a learning tool, with several specific learning activities outlined by the presenter.  Educators will also gain insight into how this tool can be used to maximize and chart student engagement, either as a capstone project or as a regular feature of any course.  By the end of the session, instructors will have a clear view of how this free tool can be used to foster autonomy and independence in their students, thus preparing them for the changing demands of our society. 

Kevin Franklin.png

Kevin Franklin (BA, CELTA, MSW) has been working as an ESL educator since 2008, teaching in South Korea, China, Ecuador, the USA, and Vietnam.  He currently works as an educator at RMIT, primarily as an instructor in the New Initiatives and corporate English programs.  Kevin is an experienced teacher trainer and manager, and has presented at several national education conferences, including the COABE (Coalition on Adult Basic Education) and VAACE (Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education) conferences, as well as assisting as a session facilitator at the 2021 Teacher Talks online conference.  He is primarily interested in exploring avenues for developing students’ self-study skills, and classroom hybridization. 

Event photo

Event photos




bottom of page