Teachers’ English Language Competency from the Perspective of University Leaders, EFL Lecturers and EFL Pre-service Teachers- a case study of Vietnam Teacher Education Programs in the context of globalization

Year: 2019

Author: Nguyen, Thuy-Tien

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Emerging on The PIE News, The Guardian, Asian Weekly and other newspapers, the failure of Vietnam National Foreign Language Project in the period from 2008 to 2020, with a budget of 446 million USD, has been the illustration for the huge gap of the top down external expectation and the bottom-up internal experience. Many researchers have analysed why and how it failed to meet the target. With the ambition that the majority of Vietnamese youth are able to use English proficiently for the sake of effective integration into the global economy, the major of the project has paid attention to improving the quality of in-service teachers, the key component for the project to be implemented. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is used as a yardstick to measure Vietnam in-service teachers’ achievement. As teachers’ poor language competence has been considered as the primary locker to the success from the starting point of this project until it was declared to be unachievable, my study shifts the focus on the requirement of obtaining C1 (CEFR) for EFL graduates, which is part of the Project 2020. Drawing on the Engestrom’ 1987 activity theory, which is built on Vygotsky 1978’s social cultural theory, the case study investigates the perception of the language proficiency of EFL leaders, lecturers and pre-service teachers in two universities in Vietnam. The interviews conducted with 40 participants provides the insight into the historical contexts, contradictions, tensions as well as agency of the universities to grow in their Zone of Proximal Development. Although the perceptions varied in according with the personal perspective and institutional context, the institutions and pre-service teachers put effort in the institutional and personal development. The study is significant as it raises the voice of the universities and the pre-service teachers in the policy enactment and looks for the future solutions form the failure.

Key words: Language Policy, Language Competence, Zone of Proximal Development, Cycle of Expansive Learning.