News from Adam

Welcome to the latest edition of our CEO’s column News From Adam.

Vietnam has long been an important part of the NEAS footprint. On my recent visit there I was overwhelmed by the energy, dynamism, and sheer creativity of the people. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi both buzz with more than the traffic that I encountered crossing the road! 

I visited existing and potential NEAS members in the university, conventional stand alone, online, and private multi-campus sectors. These are all English language teaching operations of significant scale, and it is very exciting to hear them spell out the future as they saw it. Varied as these plans were, I picked up a few consistent themes that I thought I might share with you:

Language learning has become very closely tied to proficiency test preparation in Vietnam. I know this from my time managing centres in Vietnam where the parents of the mostly young students are looking for recognised, standard and measurable outcomes for the investment they make. Interestingly though, I had some feedback that this focus on specific standardised testing may be peaking. Competition from direct entry pathway programs appears to be gaining some momentum. I also noted marketing for strong differentiated product lines. In other words, branded programs of learning activity, and specifically enrolments into programs for younger learners appears to be growing. This is also the case for online learning programs.

As always, it’s the teaching staff (and those managing them) who are dealing with quality at a day-to-day level, and the hunger for professional development among this group complemented the commitment to continuous improvement that I picked up from the leaders of these organisations. Key areas of interest for teachers were AI and how best to regulate its use, motivating students in the (mostly) monolingual context of Vietnam and the fascinating cultural interplay between Confucian-style learning approaches and the more critical, collaborative, and individualistic drivers that underlie western language learning pedagogies.

I’m very much looking forward to engaging closely with our Vietnamese member community in the coming months and have lots of ideas for developing the NEAS presence there. Of foremost interest for me is finding ways to build connections between this community and the other communities that exist under the NEAS umbrella, including our Australian members.

Of course, I’m here to convey all of this to you because I survived crossing the city streets!

July 2024

News from Adam

Welcome to the latest edition of our CEO’s column News From Adam.

I am often impressed at the diversity that exists in our membership. The settings vary (from universities and TAFE to stand-alone centres) as do the locations (from every state in Australia to a range of global locations). I’m lucky enough to have had the satisfaction of working in a range of settings and in different programs.

One of my career highlights was working with a high school preparation program for international students preparing for entry to private schools in Sydney. The challenges were so very different. These were kids and they came with all the issues kids have. Of course, as always, it’s never “just English”. In this case, it was creating carefully tailored programs of study for teenagers, thinking about the safest and best homestay arrangements, handling the odd melt-down and bringing into place a range of specialist supports. It was complex, challenging and there were some failures here and there.

What lingers most in my memory about that time in my career was the powerful collegiality existing across the high school sector. As with our broader sector, people were willing to give and to share and find common solutions to specific problems. This willingness to collaborate makes us special in ELT and I’m so pleased that NEAS, being of and for its members, is able to reflect and facilitate this wonderful attribute through our Communities of Practice (CoPs).

NEAS is hosting a high school CoP in Brisbane on the 26th of July on the theme of Language, Learning, Leadership: Empowering Young ESL Students for Success. We’re planning this to be a great opportunity for sharing, debating and considering the issues specific to High School. Discussions may include adapting to regulatory changes, engaging with onshore families, and recognising the importance of homestay experiences in fostering cultural awareness. Additionally, it highlights the significance of enhancing academic skills through multidisciplinary approaches and acknowledges the significance of developing students’ language skills and leadership qualities in helping and guiding young ESL students.

For more details and to register, click here.

June 2024