Trends in Teaching and Learning English in Vietnam: Implications for the Future Dr. Lillian Utsumi & Dr. Doan Thi Nam-Hau CHEER for Viet Nam - Traversing Borders: Viet Nam Teacher Program Abstract In this paper, researchers Doan and Utsumi present the results of a study, using mixed methods that examined current teaching methods and practices in English language teaching. Spanning five major universities in Vietnam, data were collected from multiple sources, including focus groups, interviews, classroom observation, and questionnaires. Results show a shift in teaching and learning practices, challenges to managing system changes, and perceptions of staffing and resource shortages, including financing. The researchers and workshop participants will explore the implications of this study in light of MOET‘s Education Plan to accelerate and improve the teaching and learning of English in Vietnam as one of several pathways for economic equity in the global community. This paper discusses the results of a 2008 study on a compilation of English language teaching (ELT) practices at the university level in Vietnam. Conference Paper Limitations For the purposes of this presentation, we present only the research methods and summary of combined findings. An Executive Summary of the full research report will be posted on the CHEER (Culture, Health, Education, and Environment Resources) website, www.cheerforvietnam.org. CHEER, the sponsoring organization for this study, is a non-profit organization based in the United States. One of CHEER‘s major educational activities is Traversing Borders: Viet Nam Teacher Training Program (VTTP). The objectives of VTTP workshops are to improve the quality of English language instruction (ELT), to provide participants with first-hand experiences and opportunities to apply best practices in ELT to their own classrooms, to promote teacher collaboration and leadership, and to deepen cross-cultural understanding between the Vietnamese and American teachers. CHEER forged partnership with several universities to implement these workshops.
THE STUDY Methods This study obtained descriptions of practice from five universities using a mixed methods approach of surveys, interviews, and observations. The use of mixed methods--qualitative and quantitative-- allowed us to gather data about a complex behavior—the act of teaching--through multiple perspectives and settings. Quantitative data collection methods included the use of teacher and student surveys. Qualitative data collection methods encompassed teacher and student focus groups, individual interviews and classroom observations. Direct observations in classrooms provided data on teaching practices in the naturalistic setting (Merriam 1998). The combination of methods enabled us to uncover trends in the practices and challenges of English language teaching. These methods also provided participants with a voice on potential solutions to the challenges of English language teaching. Together, the multiple sources enabled us to weave of broad tapestry of teaching in Vietnam. Triangulation of the multiple data sources enhanced the confidence of our results. The essential questions guiding this study were: What do teachers and students report are the teaching practices used in English language teaching at the university level? What do teachers and students report are the challenges to teaching and learning English? What do teachers and students propose as solutions for improving English teaching in Vietnam? Site Selection and Access Five public universities that offer programs in English, pedagogy, and American Studies were invited to participate in the study. These five sites represent a cross section of regions in Vietnam-- northern, central, and southern and a mixture of urban, provincial, and rural settings. We obtained access to the universities through Ministry of Education and Training‗s (MOET) agreement to co-sponsor this study. MOET sent an...
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