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This is one of the most practical session. It gives me with a structure upon which to build the course. I appreciate the comparison where designing a syllabus is like sketching a tree.

Or even a triangle

We first have to choose of our approaches:




Starting point

Expected Outcomes

Essential Skills

Current Status









After choosing the approach, we will design our syllabus like an R&D department where we state learning outcomes, set our the learning activities, and assessment.

First, learning outcomes can be based on Bloom's Revised Taxonomy.

Second, we will design learning activities according to our learning outcomes.

And then, we set out the assessment activities.

I believe this is a wonderful resource for instructors who struggle to create new course syllabus. As a junior teacher, I will not generate new course syllabus. However, this might be a useful basis for creating lesson plans.

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The lessons of thầy (Vietnamese term for "teacher") Hoạt left a profound impression on me. Lessons were not the most organized I have encountered. His wit scattered throughout the lesson. I viewed the lesson as a priceless exchange with a distinguished educator. What I remember the most is the proverb:

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

It is when brain trumps brawn. We must critique the opinions of others in order to form our own. We also learn about Vietnam's teaching philosophy (Triet ly giao duc). Thay Hoa has stressed the importance of a liberal education that emphasizes ethics education. A kind person comes before a well-known man. However, Vietnam does not have a one philosophy of education. I have read Fareed Zakaria's In Defense of a Liberal Education, but I am unsatisfied with his reasoning. I do believe, though, that liberal education promotes well-roundedness in students. Till this time, I still question what should be the philosophy of education of Vietnam.

Or simply, what is the philosophy of education of my teaching. I have always lived by John Locke words:

Education is a gentle application of the hand turns the flexible waters into channels, that make them take quite contrary courses, and by this little direction given them at first in the source they receive different tendencies and arrive at last at very remote and distant places (John Locke)

I view myself as a tiny dot in someone's life. My students will pass by and continue their journey of connecting these dots.

Thay Hoa also introduced Learning Theories. I went on additional research on the Self-Determination Theory. It was what I am missing in my current research. I've discovered a methodology for estimating the Aspiration Index. Lifelong learning is driven by intrinsic motivation, but current Vietnamese students are driven by extrinsic motivation. My objective is to learn more about the Theory so that I can develop effective teaching strategies to instill intrinsic motivation in my students. Key takeaways of the lessons were:

The learning process as following:

  • The brain plays a role

  • The learning environment makes a difference

  • Learning is based on associations

  • Learning occurs in cultural and social contexts

  • People learn in different ways

  • People think about their own learning

  • Learners’ feelings matter

The teaching approaches are:

  • Behavioral (observable performance)

  • Cognitive (operational constructs, memory structures, and mental processes – Knowledge exists as objective reality external of the learner).

  • Constructivist (construction of mental representations by the learner rather than the teacher, knowledge is mentally constructed and subjective based on existing knowledge – internal of the learner) >>> Cognitive Constructivism – Social Constructivism.

  • Humanist (the learner as a whole person)

  • Connectionist (distributed knowledge / networking / digital age learning) (cf. Connectivist view (Thorndike - Behaviorism)

After knowing all these approaches, we develop our lesson plan with teaching activities associated directly with the approaches.

Trivia: Osen recently won the Vietnamese version of The Masked Singer. I was very impressed by her teaching methodology. When instructing, explain why first and we do not require greed in personal growth.

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In the past months, I participated in the SHARE project. The projects provide varied training sessions for the development of teaching portfolios, teaching philosophies, and instructional strategies. This note is dedicated to the project with my sincere gratitude. I also write to remember what I consider to be extremely valuable for a young educator like myself. I will try to write separate posts on each topic. The first one dedicates to our Orientation day

We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience (John Dewey)

On the first day of our course, we thoroughly enjoyed our training outside of Hanoi. This is the first time I have listened to my colleagues discuss teaching. I recall Dr. Tam's 4H teaching philosophy to this day (Heart, Head, Hand, and Hope).

Developing a teaching philosophy and a portfolio are efforts that resonate strongly with me.

This is the sole reason I maintain this website. What's new is how each subject should incorporate with a different teaching philosophy. It serves as the foundation upon which we build our lesson plan. The concept that each lesson should be a movie with a plot also impressed me. Simply because stories connect people. In addition, we were introduced to reflective practices:

the act of thinking about our experiences in order to learn from them

So why should we reflect?

  • Think about future plans

  • Put self-talk voice to use when learning from what has been done or when moving forward

  • Give areas to improve on or develop knowledge & skills

  • Spark new ideas & ways of thinking

  • Challenge assumptions & see things from a new perspective

  • EI developed from reflection is a useful skill for own wellbeing & when working with others.

  • Maintain a healthy work/life balance by offering a defined process for thinking things through.

How should we reflect?

Some models were introduced by us are

  • ERA Cycle (Jasper, 2013): Experience => Reflection => Action => ....

  • Driscoll's What Model (Borton, 1970; Driscoll, 1990s): What => So What? => Now What? => ....

  • Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle (Kolb, 1984): Concrete experience => Reflective Observation => Abstract Conceptualization => Active Experimentation.

Here is one of examples on our reflective assignment

This day has left me with many questions about who I am as a teacher and how I should proceed in the next chapter of my career. It also a pad on my shoulder that I am going toward the right direction.

A photo I would love to keep just for future reminder

Thank you for the exprience!

I am forever grateful <3

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