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‘Autonomous learning will find your limit’

According to Dr. Nguyen Tran Phi Yen, RMIT University life will be free and meaningful when you know how to explore your limits.

Nguyen Tran Phi Yen is currently a lecturer at RMIT University, Communications Director of the Beowulf Technology Group. As a daredevil, Phi Yen shares her journey beyond traditional thinking, freeing herself to set big goals and dreams, and bring value to society.

– He once shared that when he first entered university, his mind was very traditional and old-fashioned. Why is that?

– Given the time in high school, it seems I just need to study well what I was taught, have a school schedule and my parents organize it for me, go to school and come home, have some close friends. The ideals of a high school student at that time were also very clear: going to college, choosing a major that matched his parents and the trend in society, was clear. When I was in high school, I felt I was fine.

– How did you change?

– When I entered university, I realized that the above is not enough. I want more than that. I wanted to see the bigger world, I wanted to find the real me, and I wanted to know how I was going to build the future. Therefore, I designed the schedule myself, apart from studying in school, I planned many other activities like team club, every summer I went to practice, learn more skills like MC, finance, attend seminars, workshops, network building. The filter for followed activities has only one element: because I like it. I don’t really think much about how it will benefit my CV or profile later, because I believe that when I’m interested enough, I’ll be able to explain why this choice matters to me, but not necessarily the recognition or approval of others.

Looking back, I see that stereotypical thinking is also part of the liberation process, because we need to go through problems and feelings of discontent with that way of thinking to find ways to open new and bright paths, create more.

The more I study and work in many places, meet many people, I feel that the most advanced level of learning is the ability to learn on our own, combined with technology that fully enables us to learn from so many good people in the world. in any field. In particular, we live in a very complex and interconnected world, all work is related to each other, this forces us to learn more every day, learn from others, work together to solve common problems.

As a lover of exploring new lands, Phi Yen has set foot in 40 different countries.

As a lover of exploring new lands, Phi Yen has set foot in 40 different countries.

– He studied in many places, universities in Vietnam, masters programs in England, PhD students in France, and management training courses in the US. Why do your steps have this variation?

– This trip also talked about my personality: not afraid to change, honest with myself and love to innovate. First, I don’t think environmental change is too important. I would prioritize discovering new lands, new cultures, and new educational environments, so I only applied for jobs in five continents and four pools.

Being honest with myself is something I learned from international friends. As an example of choosing a major, most Vietnamese students choose to study predictable majors such as technology, business administration, finance and marketing, or STEM while native students choose history, philosophy, politics, literature, child development psychology. It made me realize that sometimes I think too much about external reasons or expectations that I forget the value of learning is expanding knowledge, liberating myself. Third, our ability to innovate is not extraordinary, we need to see more variety of options to dare to pursue our dreams.

– New options come with risks, what do you think about this?

– Yen today is not afraid of failure. One of the subjects I teach at RMIT is Innovation, Creation, and Design, and in these subjects failure is part of the process to a finished product. Failure to know where I went wrong so there is a new and more suitable solution to get me to my goal. In the past, I’ve also worked many times for my parents to “get up and down the field”, worry about my turn, or I’ll stumble. I also have some memories of falling, but when I fell, I learned the ability to get up, to be more mature, to be stronger, and then once the pain was gone, I pursued challenges and ambitions that were bigger than ever.

I live in a world of VUCA means – a lot of volatility (Volatility), uncertainty (Uncertainty), complexity (Complexity) and ambiguity (Ambiguity). Like a ferris wheel, which we must learn to swing if we are to survive and thrive.

According to Phi Yen, the highest level of learning is self-study.

Nguyen Tran Phi Yen.

– How did the timing of studying abroad affect your decision to return to your home country to remain with your teaching profession?

– A trendy and hot field during my university studies I tried, but only to satisfy my curiosity about the outside world and how the profession operates. Until I had to do what I really care about – education, which is ikigai (reason for existence). I believe that we are happiest, most free when we can do what we feel is meaningful.

Sticking to the field of education for 10 years, sometimes I feel indebted to my students, because the knowledge gained from school is never enough, even if only a small part, sometimes “out of date”. in the journey of growing up is your career. So the only thing we can control is our own learning. Only when we are self-directed in learning can we break out of old and old ways of thinking and open new boundaries for ourselves.

During the epidemic period, when I could not go to the lecture hall directly with the children, online teaching and learning affected the acquisition of knowledge, traditional lectures. And I decided to build a Vietnamese Yen channel on Youtube, Spotify and platforms to organize online seminars and personally invite experts, management leaders in various industries to share experiences with young people. Implementing this idea made me feel in control of my own teaching journey.

– Regarding most young people, what message do you give to Gen Z – the generation that is considered to have the most impact on future teaching and learning?

– When you realize who you are and what values ​​you want to bring to society, all the stumbling blocks along the way can be broken and broken beyond normal limits. Young people, especially Gen Z, need this – motivation and purpose. You are inherently out of your comfort zone, you like and do many things that are beyond the imagination of your parents, as well as the scope of school education. More than ever, schools or parents need to encourage and motivate Gen Z to see the meaning and value of what you really learn and what you do. This is also the reason why I was accepted as a Moderator for the series The SACE Journey – Unlocking Gen Z. With a series of guests who attended including education experts, parents, GenZ representatives, school representatives… multidimensional perspectives on parents and children Gen Z; the challenges and concerns of parents when accompanying their children; At the same time, share comments and directed views for students.

There’s a question I still remember when I gave an interview to one of Stanford University’s management courses that I still ask my students to this day: “What inspired what you did and what did you do? guide your aspirations?”. Please take some time to think about this question to take the first step in self-discovery.

Nguyen Phuong (Photo: Characters provided)

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