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The First National Graduate Research Symposium: diversity and innovation
On August 11, 2017, VNU University of Languages and International Studies ​​(VNU ULIS) held the First National Graduate Research Symposium (GRS 2017).

The symposium attracted nearly 100 papers in English, Russian, French and Chinese by graduate students across the country; and 70 of which had been approved for presentation at the sessions and publication in the Symposium Proceedings.

Addressing the symposium, Assoc.Prof. Vũ Văn Tích, Director of VNU's Science and Technology Department, said that the symposium was one of the most important activities not only in scientific research but also in training activities of VNU in particular and Vietnam in general. The symposium was a forum for exchanging information, sharing experiences and proposing policies for training and scientific research.

VNU ULIS Vice Rector Ngô Minh Thủy said that with over 60-year tradition of teaching and studying foreign languages and international studies in Vietnam, VNU ULIS had always paid great attention to improving the quality of training and scientific research. The university ​​has made many improvements in its training practices, especially in organizing such activities as increasing the number of while-training thematic papers and professional seminars; establishing the Postgraduate Research Club with regular academic activities for graduate students;  promoting professional cooperation with foreign language universities or schools throughout the country; strengthening the coordination and collaboration among the scientific staff of the university and the other universities offering the same majors; organizing specialized seminars with foreign expert speakers to increase the students’ professional knowledge ... in order to improve graduate students’ research capacity.  

Advising that the symposium would be held as an annual event, Vice Rector Ngô Minh Thủy hoped that the symposium would further bring useful knowledge and experience as well as draw more and more quality papers to the coming symposiums.

The symposium comprised six sessions: three on foreign language teaching methods, and three on linguistics and applied linguistics.

The selected papers presented at the symposium and published in the proceedings were quite various and innovative.

The first and foremost feature of the symposium was the diversity of research topics. The teaching, training of the traditional language skills such as speaking, listening, reading and writing, continued to be the subject of many papers; for example, the articles on: Genre-based writing, reading comprehension for students, applied research teaching methods, audio-visual materials, etc.

Ways to increase the foreign language ​ learner’s autonomy and motivation was the second most interesting topic for many authors. Specifically, there were papers on building a teaching-learning model linked to livelihood - one of the most important and effective motives in the foreign language learner’s learning; an interesting example of this research trend was the paper by Đỗ Thị Anh Thư (Maritime University) on learning opportunities to encourage ethnic minority communities in the northwest to learn English as a livelihood.

In addition to the papers on teaching foreign languages for specific purposes, there were studies of the use of foreign languages ​​as a medium for teaching academic subjects. The evaluation of textbooks, curricula, tests and assessments of foreign language competencies were also topics of common interest.

The study of the languages ​​being taught by the graduate students accounted for a considerable  percentage of the papers. This was followed by the articles on culture, literature, translation, foreign language teacher professional identity, and ways to effectively foster the foreign language teacher’s professional skills.

The second feature of the symposium was the participant diversity. Participating in the symposium were graduate students from 16 prestigious universities located in provinces and big cities across the country: College of Foreign Languages and College of Science - Hue University, College of Foreign Languages - Da Nang University, Saigon University, Dong Thap University ...

The third feature of the symposium was the diversity in study approaches; this was also indicative of innovation in research trends. Alongside with the traditional methods, many authors had attempted to apply new approaches, new achievements in critical discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics, cognitive linguistics, conversation theory, and most importantly, information and communications technology, in their actual teaching and research practices.


 Tung Linh – Quoc Toan (photos) - VNU Media
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