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This is the lesson to which I must continually revisit. The two days are insufficient for me to comprehend everything. Dr. Lan Anh started with the Lucky Iron Fish video. I think you should watch this first before reading the post:

The story is very inspirational. Even if an initiative is beneficial, it will fail if the proposed remedy does not align with the receivers' beliefs. I return to my teaching, acknowledging that my message and instruction will be ineffective if I do not accommodate my students' values and beliefs. In the first exercise, we learn to empathise our students through what they say, think, feel, and do.

Then, we were introduced Design thinking approach. Once you understand our students and where come from, we must reframe their difficulties. For example

We then enter the Design Thinking Process. At the define stage, we try to reframe the problem like the previous photo. We then brainstorm and think about different teaching techniques (JIGSAW, 5W1H, brainstorm, KWL, etc.). Once we have developed several teaching methods, we will construct a prototype and test it.

As educators transition to the Design thinking methodology, I believe we will adopt a growth mindset.

Problem based teaching

Design Thinking

What is the right answer?

What is the right question?

Talk more

Talk and Listen

Talk about facts

Talk about feeling and experience

Individual > collaborative


Dr. Lan Anh finished the seminar with a "Exit Ticket" for us to review the lesson. This was pretty beneficial for my personal purposes, and I intend to utilize it in the future.

The lesson reminds me to keep thinking about new teaching ideas, trial, and repeat.

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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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