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‘Working on books requires understanding teaching and learning needs’

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With more than 25 years of experience in research and intensive English language teaching, Mr. Grant Trew is also the author of many famous books that are “in the hearts” of English learners in many places such as England, Middle East and South East. Asian, Japanese,…

In 2006, decided to leave England and choose Vietnam as a destination, taking on the role of consultant and moderator of English book content at Dai Truong Phat Education Group (DTP), “Teacher of the West” realized dedicated to bringing Vietnamese culture into the pages of language textbooks English.

– Why did you take on the role of consultant and moderator of English book content in a Vietnamese education company?

– In 2006, as project director of Oxford University Press (Oxford University Press (OUP), I came to Vietnam for the first time to hold a training seminar, working with this local team.

At that time, the national managing director of OUP in Vietnam, who is also the current chairman of the DTP, invited me to come to Vietnam and build a team here. I have the opportunity to do things that have never been done before. As a teacher, trainer, research director, book writer, I have taken on many roles as well as increasing challenges, but the challenge called DTP this time is quite big, because it is not only writing a book, but also to build a team that specializes in editing and publishing.

An ambitious young company with passionate people convinced me to “say yes,” and I had to.

Once work in many countries and regions such as UK, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Japan… she pays attention What are the similarities and differences between textbooks in Vietnam?

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– Basically, the textbook reflects the characteristics of the country and the target audience. Most of the foreign books we see on the market today are from the UK, USA or Europe. Therefore, in most cases, the functions of these books are designed differently. For example, in UK or US schools, classes are often small, equipped with many devices such as interactive screens, computers, photocopiers, interactively designed content, and communications. Next, discuss further.

In Vietnam, the classes are large, it is not convenient for students to carry out activities, and the teacher has to prepare a lot of documents and photocopy exercises. That is the reason why the chairman of the DTP wanted me to come to Vietnam, because he understands the market well, wants to meet what education requires books and documents that really “understand” the reality of teachers, and learning, such as class size, target audience, and most importantly important, local realities and cultures.

In the DTP, What are the most important criteria in the compilation and censorship process? book?

– A textbook should be born from the needs of teachers and students. Therefore, it is necessary to answer questions about how the book will be used, in what way, to what level, appropriate for class size, etc.

So it is necessary to clarify two important things, firstly building a content framework based on user needs, such as what the teacher wants to convey, what is the central issue, and based on research and understanding. natural language absorption process. We also have standards based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR) to design programs that are appropriate for each level.

Add to this the process of designing the interface for the book and for each lesson to make it more interesting.

The next step, which I think is at the heart of the betting process, is to receive feedback from the market to continuously improve the book to bring the most suitable and quality products into the hands of teachers, students and parents.

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As he shared, textbooks reflects the uniqueness of the country, namely transmit elements of local culture to students. He determined this to the contents of the textbook how?

– First of all, understanding the culture is very important when you are traveling or working, talking to foreigners. If misinterpreted, the message conveyed can be misunderstood due to cultural differences. Therefore, in the foreign language book of PEF, we try to introduce situations and contexts that clearly highlight Western cultural differences. The local writing team will try to establish the situation and context, then the Vietnamese writing team will consider and choose whether the details cause confusion, or create cultural differences, interesting or not?

From another angle, not only for learning about Western culture, I believe that books also teach students how to introduce and explain their own cultural traditions and history. When I first came to Vietnam, there were so many strange things around me that I had to ask my friends and colleagues: “What is this?”, “Why do people do this?”, and they said it was hard to explain. in English. That’s why we always want our books to equip learners with vocabulary, placed in specific situations, for them to express and introduce about the characteristics of their own country.

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There is an opinion that Vietnamese foreign language books still have a lot of theory, lack of practice and explanations France yours life DTP What?

– When it comes to learning a foreign language, most countries in Asia often focus on grammar, but less on actual interaction and communication. To solve this problem, we are researching and building a book program with 12 levels, from grade 1 to grade 12, a long and challenging route. My plan for 12th graders in Vietnam is that when they reach this level, they will be equipped and ready for the IELTS exam, which can score around 5.5.

Second, we want to equip them with confidence when giving presentations, giving opinions, giving criticism, during the 12 years of schooling. Starting from elementary school, this book will apply simulation and role-playing methods to be practiced by children, then in secondary school, children will have the opportunity to discuss, expand the conversation, know how to express their concerns, agree or disagree. By going step by step, you will have time to build up, let this process gradually seep over the years. When they reach grade 12, they can confidently present and role-play. Teaching arrangements have also become easier for teachers.

– Iinternet, smartphones… considered as a means of maximum support for students to acquire knowledge. How has the general role of books changed with you over time?

– Nowadays, we have many tools to support learning, like there are many good mobile apps to learn vocabulary… But for me, books are still the easiest solution and most suitable for students. Although in the future technology can develop and dominate all aspects of life, students still need to interact in real life, conduct live chat, learn through body language, and observe facial expressions. … for progress.

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What do you predict about the trend, the future of education?

I think in the future, virtual reality technology will be a game changer, including education. In the future, we may have virtual classrooms where people can participate in activities together, play games, interact like real people. Teachers can observe students’ expressions to see if they are tired, hungry, or bored. Or when the lesson involves a famous place in Vietnam, we can go to that place, which is recreated by virtual space.

What are your plans in the near future?

-The team at DTP and I are in the process of completing the “English i-Learn Smart Start” and “English i-Learn Smart World” books – a 12-level English textbook series. As well as holding a “Seminar on the i-Learn Smart Start teaching method (elementary level) and the i-Learn Smart World (SMP and SMA) text book series” in May. After more than 2 years of the pandemic, we have the opportunity to adapt, change flexibly, innovate, I think that is a big advantage of DTP. In addition, we are researching to implement digital technology effectively. Although the epidemic is somewhat under control, distance learning is widely applied, but I think this field still has a lot of potential to be explored. We will continue to research and discover the best and most effective ways to use digital technology in teaching and learning.

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Contents: Pham Van – Design: Thai Hung.

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