by Alistair Elliott

Life in Vietnam:

As with many developing countries, Vietnam is continuing khổng lồ make a significant push lớn improve its English language skills. From the early 1990s, the prevailing theory of teaching English has “slanted towards the view that places the learner at a focal point with the teacher seen in the role of a facilitator who provides creative contexts for language learning”. P10

The Current Situation and Issues of the Teaching of English in Vietnam by Hoang Van Van (pdf) Then, following Government Decree number 14/2001 TC-TTg “The Ministry of Education và Training (MOET) organized the kiến thiết of the curriculum and the writing of new textbooks for all school subjects”. P10 Ibid. Thereafter by early 2008, there was “…one set of English textbooks for lower secondary schools and two sets of English textbooks for upper secondary schools…” p11 Ibid. Subsequently, English Education policy has further evolved via the new policy of “One curriculum, many sets of textbooks”. This gives more authority and responsibility to lớn the teacher to lớn choose from an increasingly wider selection of textbooks, than in the past. Https:// Into this has pitched National Geographic Learning’s Life series. It is this which I will be commenting on.

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Life on the outside

I have at hand, the following National Geographic material; National Geographic Life A1. This has been given to lớn me khổng lồ teach at grade 6 (lower cấp độ ability). I also have Nat Geo Life A1-A2. This is for my use at grade 6 & 7 (higher màn chơi ability). Và finally, I have Nat Geo Life A2-B1. I am to use this lớn teach grades 8 & 9 (higher level ability). They were all written by Helen Stephenson, Paul Dummett & John Hughes, with one of them being the lead writer of each book. The covers of the book themselves offer epic photographs of iconic Vietnam; specifically, Ha Long Bay, Sapa Valley và Ban Gioc Waterfalls. In the top right-hand corner are the words Vietnam edition. So, it’s visually good stuff with the appearance of a significant connection to Vietnam. However, are they usable for the purposes of teaching English? bởi they help the teacher lớn be a facilitator, and support us khổng lồ provide creative và communicative classes? & are they as Vietnamese focused as the front cover suggests. Let’s see.

Life Blurb

The National Geographic Life books have this khổng lồ say about themselves. “National Geographic learning, a Cengage Learning Company, has a mission khổng lồ bring the world khổng lồ the classroom và the classroom to life. With our English language program, students learn about their world by experiencing it. Through our partnerships with National Geographic & TED Talks, they develop the language và skills they need to lớn be successful global citizens và leaders”.

Penultimate page Life books. (No page number) In addition, there is also a bespoke Vietnam Life trang web which has this lớn say; “As part of its goal lớn increase the general proficiency of all students in Vietnam, the Ministry of Education và Training (MOET) has approved lớn use National Geographic Learning’s Life series as the main English textbook across 26 universities*…Life was selected due lớn its strong focus on 21st century skills, its engaging & global topics, and comprehensive integration of technology”. Http://

Life support

Upon receiving the Life books, I was also provided with Life software. The software “…is an interactive whiteboard application that is intended for classrooms using the Life … Student’s Book”. There are five aims for the software, amongst which include reducing teacher preparation time, increasing the learner’s attention span và saving time during classes. I did think that this was part of the job of the teacher, but, well, let’s soldier on.

Upon opening the Life software, so reveals the front cover of every unit in the book, a resources button và a toolbar at the bottom. Within each unit front cover page, is every page of that unit. Within the resources are all the audios from CD1 & CD2, & all the videos for all the units. The toolbar allows you khổng lồ highlight sections of the text, undo, erase or clear any text interaction, annotate, customize the page and even create tests or quizzes in the add task feature. This is for every page of every unit. It is quite the support. So, to tư vấn the support, Nat Geo Life has also written an e-manual. This runs khổng lồ 34 pages.

As well as this, there is also the aforementioned cengageasia website
Life. It offers things lượt thích lesson plans, communicative worksheets & extra practice activities, but perhaps it’s a work in progress as it seems a little bit incomplete. There is also a Nat Geo Learning Vietnam facebook page. There are seminars in Vietnam & across Asia. There are webinars on the internet & therefore, across the world.

Life in Bloom

Underpinning the enterprise is Bloom’s taxonomy. This is “a hierarchical ordering of cognitive skills that can help teachers teach & students learn”.There is a sextet of a rising order of thinking skills.

These are:1/ knowledge, 2/ comprehension,3/ application,4/ analysis, 5/ synthesis, và finally 6/ evaluation.

Within each cognitive group are the power nguồn verbs used lớn unpack each cognitive level. Google ‘Bloom’s taxonomy images’ to see for yourself what they are và how many. I’ve counted as many as 144 in one image. In fact, Google Bloom’s taxonomy, và you are going to lớn get something like 3,690,000 results in 0.36 seconds. Good luck with that. Perhaps for more fun, watch Bloom’s Taxonomy in action according to lớn Seinfeld.

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