Vietnam English Language Teaching Forum: “Challenges, Opportunities, and Development Trends”

18:00 08/04/2022

During March 30th-31st 2022, the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) collaborated with the National Foreign Languages Project (NFLP), Vietnam Association of English Language Teaching and Research (VietTESOL), and the sponsor - Regional English Language Office - US Embassy in Vietnam (RELO) in organizing Vietnam English Language Teaching Forum themed “Challenges, Opportunities, and Development Trends”.

The forum was successful with the participation of leadership representatives from the Ministry of Education and Training, Departments of Education and Training, universities, colleges, vocational schools, English Language faculties, English Language Teacher Education faculties, and principals of high schools, as well as managers of language centers nationwide. The forum also enjoyed the attendance of leading experts in English teaching, representatives of publishing houses, employers, managers of businesses from cities and provinces in Vietnam.

The forum aimed to gather teachers of English language in Vietnam; investigate the demand for teaching and leaning the English language in Vietnam; discuss challenges and opportunities in teaching and learning the English language in the country in order to constantly improve the quality of English teaching; share experience and success stories in teaching and learning the English language of educational facilities; identify the trends of teaching and learning the English language in the world, in the region and in Vietnam in the coming time as well as proposing policies, projects, and encouraging educational facilities, research institutes, businesses, publishing houses to provide support and training together with technology transfer in teaching the English language. The overall objective of the forum was to foster the quality of education and training for human resource with competitive English proficiency for the society and the labor market.

In the opening speech, Dr. Nguyen Huu Do - Deputy Minister of Education and Training reiterated that the forum is one of the first significant events on teaching and learning the English language in Vietnam. He added that the Covid-19 pandemic is a challenge, but also an opportunity to foster the teaching and learning of the English language in Vietnam. United States Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper expressed his delight as he joined the forum. Witnessing strong economic, cultural and social growth in Vietnam, Ambassador Marc Knapper said the demand for teaching the English language should see comparable development. Dr Pham Lan Dung, DAV Acting President, shared that the academy is proud to be the host of this event. She wished that the event is held annually to give attention to the teaching and learning of the English language. She added that the most urgent need in the teaching and learning of the English language at the DAV in particular and Vietnam in general is to increase the value of each hour in which English is taught and learnt. Such value is given not only to teachers but also for learners and students. Dr. Dung reiterated that in order to bring the spirit of “teaching and learning of the English language in Vietnam” overseas, there needs to be wise leadership and direction of pioneers. Prof, Dr. Nguyen Hoa, President of VietTESOL, also affirmed that the forum did not take place at an earlier time, but was of great value, especially when online teaching and learning is no longer a situational resort, but has become an indispensable part of the teaching and learning of the English language in Vietnam.

During the forum, delegates pointed out a great number of noticeable issues in the teaching and learning of the English language in Vietnam. Dr. Nguyen Thi Mai Huu, Head of the NFLP delivered her remarks and stressed that the policies by the Party and the State regarding the teaching and learning of the English language in Vietnam has shown sufficient interest in an increasing demand in Vietnam; but challenges remain to accomplishing the targets set by the Party and the State. MA. Nguyen Nhat Quang, Director of HQT Education Co., Ltd., Deputy National Director at International Society of Teachers, Administrators and Researchers shared his observation, saying teachers are in dire need from the society in educating a student in the new era, as aside from teachers’ efforts, there must be also support in terms of facilities and technology, as well as directions, orientation policies, together with consent and support from parents. Assoc Prof, Dr. Lam Quang Dong, Vice President of the University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS) in Hanoi, also shared experience and success stories in the teaching and learning of the English language in educational facilities nationwide. Speaking about the improvement of quality of foreign language proficiency tests, he advised reducing the level of commercialization for these tests. Assoc Prof, Dr. Lam Quang Dong also added that educational facilities must be in alignment with the demand for the teaching and learning of the English language in the new era. A representative from Duc Hop high school in Hung Yen province, MA. Tran Thi Thuy also presented her paper on “Renovation in English Language Teaching at High Schools”. She believed the renovation process in the teaching and learning of the English language needs to be continuous, both before and after the Covid-19 pandemic. “Connection; Collaboration; Cultivation are three essential elements of that process”, she added.

The event also heard opinions about trends of the teaching and learning of the English language in the world and solutions for Vietnam, from which the role of teachers in the era is discussed. Delegates agreed that teachers’ role is not only to present knowledge, but also to ignite inspiration, create interesting and useful playgrounds for students. Participants of the forum shared the view that the current biggest challenge in the online teaching and learning of the English language is the financial gap among students, and the attitude of learners as they attend online classes. Delegates affirmed that changes need to be made for the adaptation to the new era, and to the post-pandemic situation so that each lesson achieves maximum efficiency. Seeking a suitable learning model after Covid-19, and creating favorable conditions for students to attend lessons more effectively, were the mutual goals of forum participants. 

Also at the event, Dr. Le Truong Tung, President of FPT University has his assessment of the quality of English language education in university perspective. Accordingly, not only FPT University but also other universities need to offer their students more opportunities for English language education and application. Dr. Tung believed that the most prioritized goal of the teaching and learning of the English language in Vietnam is to get Vietnam out of the “disparity in English competence” in the region, with the vision to establishing exclusive English speaking zones in destinations that attract a large number of tourists such as Sapa, Danang, Nha Trang, etc. These are preparations to make Vietnam one of the countries with English as the second language. MA. Le Duc Thien, Deputy Director of the Personnel and Organization Department - Ministry of Foreign Affairs also delivered a speech, sharing employers’ expectations on English language training. On behalf of employers, Mr. Thien shared that English is required not only for communication, but also to promote the knowledge of applicants. He wished that educational and training facilities continue to provide the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with high quality human resources.

Concluding the event, Dr. Pham Lan Dung, Acting President of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam expressed delight at the success of the forum. She added that the dedication and sharing of delegates throughout three main discussions and parallel sessions, as well as future policies and initiatives will steer the teaching and learning of the English language in Vietnam across challenges towards continuous development.

Le Khanh - Quang Thanh

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