Conference highlights industry 4.0’s key role in English teaching

July 28, 2019 - 15:15
Globalisation is driving multinationals across the world to review and innovate their production methods based on industry 4.0, experts said.


HCM CITY— Globalisation is driving multinationals across the world to review and innovate their production methods based on industry 4.0, experts said.

Speaking at the Vietnam-USA Society English Centers’ (VUS) annual Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages conference held in HCM City on July 26, they said in education, industry 4.0 promises improved productivity and quality.

Educational institutions should therefore grant their people unlimited and instant access to industry 4.0, provide relevant education and training opportunities, and expose them to the necessary adaptation, they said.

It is crucial that English teachers and instructors are technologically prepared to better serve their students’ needs to push the educational system forward and to keep pace with global changes, they added.

Gordon Lewis, vice president of Languages for Laureate Higher Education in the US, said: “The fourth industrial revolution is upon us and it threatens to upend society like none of the revolutions of the past.

“The spread and deepening of artificial intelligence, robotics, smart devices, meta-data and mobile technologies are redefining how we work, and this brings huge challenges and great opportunities to educators.”

While many people fear this machine-driven world and worry about having their job replaced by machines, there are great opportunities to maximize human potential through the convergence of the biological and digital and develop a productive and symbiotic relationship between man and machine, he said.

“But we need to be prepared.”

Language teachers face challenges because language is a transversal skill and “a medium to teach skills and a skill itself,” he said.

In countries and territories where English is not an official language, the language skills gap is high, according to him.

Ana Bratkovic of NEAS Quality Endorsed Centre said: “As English language teachers, we can help prepare our students for a more complex life and work environment in the 21st century. Today’s students are heading for a rapidly changing, digital world and we need to be teaching creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration to build language as well as higher order thinking skills to help them meet the challenges of the world.”

Christopher Vasiliou, an English teaching consultant and teacher trainer, said: “We should try to integrate 21st century skills into the language learning process.”

Nguyễn Thị Anh Đào, who works as a training quality manager for VUS, said adding a new dimension such as podcasting could create a positive change in the learning environment.

Integrating this and some other mobile applications into students’ reading work extends the benefits that reader’s theatre brings to the language classroom, she added.

Hà Văn Sinh, founder and director of PTC Language Centre in Nha Trang city, said webinars, mobile apps, online courses, and others provide English language learners with the opportunity to self-learn at their own pace.

As a combination of the traditional classroom and online instruction, blended learning is seen as an application of industry 4.0 in language education.

“Blended learning provides a more personalised approach to learning, maximises the language environment, gives learners more access to learning materials, and thus improves language proficiency and learning outcomes.”

VUS TESOL conferences have been held since 2006. VNS