English Language Specialist Dr. Margaret van Naerssen spent one month conducting ESP workshops in Cambodia and Vietnam. In Vietnam, van Naerssen convened with educators and learners from Vietnamese universities to ponder questions regarding the role of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in higher education curricula for university students. This aspect of her EL Specialist project was prompted by a relatively recent policy change from the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Vietnam calling for institutions of higher education to begin delivering course work through English as a medium of instruction (EMI).  As such, van Naerssen led intensive workshops during a national conference to reflect on current policies and practices in ESP/EMI education, key challenges facing the stakeholders in delivering ESP/EMI education, and the visions and outcomes of ESP/EMI education in different contexts within Vietnam.

Van Naerssen also conducted workshops in Hanoi and Lao Cai on ESP for Vietnam’s Association of Community Colleges for teachers coming from a number of different colleges around Vietnam. For the final part of her project, she traveled to Cambodia to deliver ESP workshops on hospitality for vocational colleges in Siem Reap and to assist the Institute of Technology of Cambodia in delivering ESP courses in science and engineering.

Margaret van Naerssen has a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics/Language Acquisition from the University of Southern California.  Van Naerssen was the third Chair of the TESOL International ESP Interest Section and has published in areas such as English for Specific Purposes, second language acquisition and language proficiency assessment in legal cases. She has also co-directed the UCLA-Chinese Academy of Sciences Graduate School English Language Center in Beijing.

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