Alumni News

February 7, 2018 at 9:10 am

Bikowski Trains Vietnamese Faculty in Teaching in English, Visits Alumni

Bikowski (back, center) with the Nha Trang University faculty in Vietnam who participated in the 2-week training on teaching content in English.

Bikowski (back, center) with the Nha Trang University faculty who participated in the two-week training on teaching content in English.

By M. Vandeman
Linguistics Department

Dr. Dawn Bikowski spent two weeks in Vietnam training 25 business, science, and technology faculty in how to teach their courses in English, instead of in Vietnamese.

Known as English as the Medium of Instruction, this trend is increasing across many regions, such as Asia and European countries such as Spain. Nha Trang University hosted the workshop in January, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State Regional English Language Office.

Bikowski is Director of the English Language Improvement Program in the Linguistics Department.

“This workshop series provided me the framework, time, and partnerships that I needed to really get into course and material development,” said NTU Lecturer and workshop participant Lien Phan T Kim, who is excited to be able to teach her Tourism Management marketing course in English. “I now have so many ideas on how to make classes more interactive and authentic for students.” Lien keeps up with the industry by helping to manage a sky lounge in Nha Trang, which she showed off during Bikowski’s visit.

Bikowski with NTU faculty Lien Phan T Kim, and OHIO aluma Dr. Ngan Nguyen, at a local lounge that Lien helps manage in Nha Trang

Bikowski with NTU faculty Lien Phan T Kim, and OHIO alum Dr. Ngan Nguyen, at a local lounge that Lien helps manage

Bikowski said that in a country such as Vietnam, where everyone speaks the same language, it’s not easy for faculty or students to switch to teaching and learning in English.

“Professors need to be confident and prepared to support their students, who are often new to learning their content in English. Teaching needs to be much more interactive and move beyond lecturing from a textbook. We had a lot of fun thinking of ways to make technical content a lot more accessible for students to learn in English,” she said.

While in Vietnam, Bikowski also was able to work with local teenagers from disadvantaged families through a program titled Access, and catch up with OHIO alumni, including Dr. Ngan Nguyen (M.A. Linguistics, 2008, Ph.D. Education 2011), Duong Thuy Nguyen (M.A. Linguistics, 2010), Michelle Ray (M.A. Linguistics, 2015), and Keith Ray (M.A. Linguistics, 2015)—all of whom are now teaching in Vietnam.

Bikowski working with teenagers in Vietnam for a U.S. State Department program titled Access

Bikowski working with teenagers in Vietnam for a U.S. State Department program titled Access

Dr. Ngan Nguyen, NTU Vice Director of External Cooperation, was instrumental in bringing Bikowski to her university. OHIO and NTU have a long history of working together, with the Global Leadership Center having gone there for several years, and with NTU Rector Professor Dr. Trang Si Trung having spent time at OHIO during his Fulbright Fellowship, and sitting in on various courses including a research writing course offered by ELIP.

“It was great to have Dr. Bikowski here on my campus, and us working together on this project,” said Nguyen. “I can’t wait till we can collaborate together again.”

Bikowski and OHIO Alum Duong Thuy Nguyen get together for a quick lunch in Hanoi to catch up

Bikowski and OHIO Alum Duong Thuy Nguyen get together for a quick lunch in Hanoi to catch up

Bikowski enjoyed not only the workshops, but the whole experience in Vietnam. Seeing former students, experiencing another culture, and making new connections has her looking forward to making another trip to this fascinating country.

“Vietnam is one of my favorite countries,” said Bikowski. I’m proud of our OHIO connection there.”

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