Given that language learning experience in the past has great impact on TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) teachers' beliefs and practice today, this research study explores Vietnamese TESOL teachers' learning experience of English or other foreign languages during their school time and its impact on their construction of teacher identity. Data were collected from reflective journals and narrative interviews conducted with six primary English language teachers in Vietnam. Their learning history, from early 1980s to late 1990s, is embedded in the historical background and sociocultural context of Vietnam. The findings provide insight into foreign language teaching and learning practice, with which the participants engaged. In particular, traditional grammar-translation approaches dominated the discourse of foreign language education throughout the country. As a consequence, a generation of students at that time was demotivated to learn English and other foreign languages. Beyond the issues of teaching and learning, the research findings highlight varied aspects of the sociocultural context of post-war Vietnam encompassing language policy, education, socio-politics of language teaching, and social life. Rather than reflecting on their language learning experience as the course of past events, the participants regard it as a lesson for their TESOL practice today. They emphasise that TESOL education in the current context should not be developed on the teaching and learning practice in the past, but on a combination of local reality and the global trends. The study discusses implications for policies of foreign language education and TESOL in Vietnam.
Nguyen Duc Chinh, Monash University, Australia
Stream: Language education
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