English teachers bad at listening and speaking
  • | VietNamNet | December 20, 2013 04:22 PM

Refresher courses cannot help English teachers improve their listening and speaking skills. The lack of qualified teachers may lead to the failure of the national English teaching programme.


Retraining cannot help

More than 180 English teachers from secondary schools and 32 high school teachers have been summoned by the HCM City Education and Training Department. They would have to attend a refresher course to be opened on December 20 as a part of the project on standardizing English teachers.

Asking teachers to attend retraining courses proves to be the only solution for now to improve the quality of the teaching staff which has been found as unable to meet the standards.

However, according to Dr Nguyen Kim Hong, President of the HCM City University of Education, the qualification of teachers, especially the elderly ones, has not been improved after the retraining.

“The training courses which last 400 or 450 hours showed unsatisfactory results,” Hong said.

In order to improve their qualification, teachers not only need to attend refresher courses, but also need to train themselves everyday. Meanwhile, it is very difficult for the teachers in rural areas to practice English everyday because the conditions in the localities are not good enough.

In many cases, teachers don’t have time to attend training courses or practice themselves because they have too many teaching hours at school.

Dr. Phan Van Hoa, President of the Danang Foreign Language University, also complained that a lot of problems have arisen during the retraining process. The refresher courses prove to be helpless to the old teachers who have bad basic knowledge.

A lot of them were initially trained as Russian teachers, but have been working as English teachers. The teachers are now under a hard pressure as they fear they would be dismissed if they cannot meet the B1 standard after the retraining.

Doan Thi Minh Cong, Deputy Director of the Hai Duong provincial Education and Training Department, noted that English teachers are worst at listening and speaking. A lot of teachers are very good at grammar, but cannot communicate with foreigners.

“During the lessons, teachers ask students to read texts and then explain grammar rules. They don’t have the opportunities to practice listening and speaking. Therefore, when communicating with foreigners, they can only mumble some simple words,” she said.

The “finish” still far away

English teachers admitted that they are bad at listening and speaking for many reasons. A primary school teacher in Danang City said the current curriculum are designed in a way which does not focus on the listening and speaking skills.

“We don’t have the opportunities to practice listening and speaking,” he complained.

Under the national English teaching program, English teachers may be sent abroad to attend training courses with native speakers to improve their skills. However, analysts have noted that it is a great waste as local authorities and schools lack information and experiences in international cooperation.

Experts have warned that it is a far-away target to produce the Vietnamese students who can communicate well in English by 2020 once Vietnam still lacks qualified teachers.

Leave your comment on this story