MAIN FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

In document DẠY VÀ HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ GẮN VỚI CHUYÊN NGÀNH (Page 103-106)

THE CASES OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS IN VIETNAM

4. MAIN FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

As the elaborations on each study have been provided elsewhere (see Vu, 2014; Vu, 2017), the following discussion would compare and underline the similar and different themes in the findings of two studies above.

4.1. Problems with the linguistic competence of classroom English

Analysis of the data in the 2014 study (Table 7) reveals that below a quarter of the surveyed teachers could provide proper translations of common expressions and structures in the classroom, and around half of them failed to express certain ideas (e.g.

utterance #2 & #12). A closer investigation reveals that on a scale of 1-10 where these utterances were marked independently yet consistently by different raters, the highest score by a participant was 8.8 (equivalent to 11.5/13 correct answers); and lowest being 0.0 (equivalent to no correct answer at all). The average score (n=488) was 3.4 (equivalent to 4.5/13 correct answers).

Table 7. Main findings of the 2014’s study

Utterance Correct (%) No answer(%)

25,8 24,2

10,5 41,6

4,9 23,7

9,6 16,6

22,5 10,2

11,3 20,7

19,3 20,3

13,7 19,7

10,9 32,6

13,1 32,4

19,3 9,4

4,1 45,5

25,2 12,3

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KỶ YẾU HỘI THẢO KHOA HỌC QUỐC TẾ DẠY VÀ HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ GẮN VỚI CHUYÊN NGÀNH TRONG BỐI CẢNH HỘI NHẬP QUỐC TẾ: LÍ LUẬN VÀ THỰC TIỄN

When the scores of these teachers of different levels of education were compared using Kruskal-Wallis Test and Mann-Whitney Test, no difference of statistical significance was found (Figure 1). Given the fact that school teachers at different levels of education also have different levels of EGP competence, they seem to have little correlation with their competences in ETP. In other words, regardless of their varying EGP competences, the teachers might all as well struggle with their English in the classroom.

Primary Lower-secondary Upper-secondary Figure 1. The participants’ scores at different teaching levels (2014 study)

The 2017 study provided further insight into the kinds of linguistic mistakes a teacher often made in the classroom. As can be seen from Table 8, each teacher made around 47 mistakes on average during his or her 15-to-30-minute microteaching session. The most common types of mistakes were pronunciation (mp=32.8), followed by grammar (mg=12.6) and vocabulary (mv=5.8).

Table 8. Types and frequencies of linguistic mistakes (2017’s study) Grammar Vocabulary Pronunciation Total

N 1432 655 3,706 5,341

Average (n/113) 12.6 5.8 32.8 47.2

In terms of pronunciation, the omission of word stress, the mispronunciation of consonant sounds (especially stops (/p/, /k/, /t/), fricatives (/s/ /ʃ/) and affricates (/tʃ/, /dʒ/) were most common. As with the case of Vietnamese people in general, these pronunciation mistakes could be attributed to the transfer from L1 to L2, where the teacher tended to assimilate pronunciation features in Vietnamese to those in English (Vu, 2017).

As for grammar, the most common mistakes involved subject-verb agreement and missing plurals, which could also be attributed to the L1-L2 transfer as these grammar features are marked in English yet remain unmarked in Vietnamese. This transfer became even more noteworthy as 96% of the pronunciation and grammar mistakes made by the respondents (Table 8) were likely to be associated with it.

Regarding lexical mistakes, they were most rampant when the teachers were organizing creative classroom activities or progressing through different parts of the lesson (cf. Table 1). As for assessment and feedback, fewer problems with accuracy were recorded, but the range of vocabulary seemed particularly limited as they rarely went beyond generic terms such as “Good”, “Very well” and “Excellent”.

4.2. Other competences of classroom English

While the 2014 study did not provide data on other competences in the communicative approach to classroom English, plenty of insights were offered in the 2017 study.

Discourse competence: Examining the ways teachers selected, sequenced, arranged words, structures, sentences and utterances, the 2017 study noted that most teachers actively employed linking devices for the cohesion of their communication in English.

On the other hand, few teachers paid attention to the larger discourses beyond the single classroom activity and largely relied on the textbooks for structuring the lesson. Their rigid and inflexible use of the textbooks suggests that a powerful power-relations (Canagarajah, 2003) had developed in the classroom beyond the discourse-as-text. In other words, the textbooks largely predetermined the ways teachers could select, sequence, arrange activities and even what they could say during the lesson.

Sociolinguistic competence: While the language and register deemed appropriate for a formal classroom context were aptly used by most of the teachers observed, three sociolinguistic issues with their classroom English competences could be identified. First, there was an overemphasis on formal language at the cost of more informal one in daily communication in the classroom. This overuse of formal expressions might interfere with creating a more active, casual and friendly atmosphere in the classroom. Second, the complexity of language was questionable for specific groups of learners, especially when many teachers tended to use to complex than their students’ levels. Finally, the talking time of many teachers were often so long that it did not only take up the talking time of students, but also limited meaningful and active interactions in the classroom.

Strategic competence: As recorded in the observations, the most common teacher’s technique when breakdowns in communication occurred was to switch back to Vietnamese, especially when giving explicit language instruction of language, or the checking of students’ comprehension. While code-switching was a convenient way-out, it reveals

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KỶ YẾU HỘI THẢO KHOA HỌC QUỐC TẾ DẠY VÀ HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ GẮN VỚI CHUYÊN NGÀNH TRONG BỐI CẢNH HỘI NHẬP QUỐC TẾ: LÍ LUẬN VÀ THỰC TIỄN

their lack of variety in the techniques for correcting communication breakdown. Instead of interacting with classroom resources or with the students meaningfully to negotiate meaning, improve comprehension and motivate their students to use the target language authentically, these teachers conveniently resorted to L1. By so doing, they precluded many opportunities for the students as well as for themselves to communicate in the target language and hence, did little to improve communicative competence of both parties.

In document DẠY VÀ HỌC NGOẠI NGỮ GẮN VỚI CHUYÊN NGÀNH (Page 103-106)