Concerns about ineffective English training

by Vietnamnet27 December 2015 Last updated at 15:34 PM

Poor quality teachers were among the main reasons forthe ineffective English training
Poor quality teachers were among the main reasons forthe ineffective English training

VTV.vn - Local education experts have pointed out widespread failuresin the teaching of English, explaining the currently poor results among Englishlanguage students.

Dr. Tran Thi Minh Phuong from the HCM City Social Sciencesand Humanity said that poor quality teachers were among the main reasons forthe disappointing situation.

Phuong cited the result of a test by the Ministry ofEducation and Training (MoET), which used guidelines from the Common EuropeanFramework of Reference for Languages to check the listening, speaking, reading,and writing skills of thousands of teachers in 30 provinces and cities asevidence for her comments.

MoET demands that high school teachers achieve theframework’s second-highest skill level (C1), while elementary school teachersmust achieve the fourth-highest level (B1) and middle school educators thethird-highest (B2). The shocking result of the test was that a mere 3-7% madethe grade.

A recent survey of 143 students and a number ofEnglish-language teachers at HCM City Teachers' Training University revealedthat only around 15 percent of English language teachers give lessonsexclusively in English when teaching the subject.

Many English-language teachers also provide poor qualityEnglish tests for their students, so they often copy from international testsonline which aren't actually related to the lessons being taught. Dr. Phuongnoted that students also don't have much time for English due to their heavycoursework from other subjects.

Nguyen Dinh Thanh Lam from Nguyen Thi Minh Khai High Schoolin Soc Trang Province said that teachers in mountainous and remote areas havelimited chances to improve their English. So only for those who are really likeEnglish put the effort in to master the language.

For years Vietnamese schools have focused on English grammarand reading comprehension, and exams and training has been skewed in thisdirection. As a result, both students and their teachers are barely capable ofspeaking and understanding English in everyday use.

Vuong Van Cho, former Headmaster of Pham Dinh Ho in HCMCity, suggested that teachers should concentrate on their strengths, such asgrammar or comprehension rather than trying to teach all the necessary skillsto learn a language.

According to Nguyen Si Thu, Head of the MoET’s NationalForeign Language 2020 Project, students from Grade 3 to Grade 12 study Englishfor 3 to 4 hours a week, but increasing this would be difficult given normalschool timetables.

Most English-language teachers at primary schools are noteven full-time staff, which leads to the situation where they are not even paidfor by the school and instead rely on additional payments from the children’sparents. MoET is seeking government approval to raise the number of Englishteachers to 1.7 people per class from a current 1.5, with the governmentfooting the bill for the additional wages incurred by more teachers beingemployed

The ministry also plans to build five educational testingcentres in big cities and provinces, including the Centre for ForeignLanguages, to better assess the quality of English teaching.


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