Service learning in a suburban community in Vietnam: pre-service EFL teachers as agents of change

Nguyen Hoang Tuan, Dat Bao

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


    This chapter discusses a case study based on six-week teacher placement in a bachelor program. The placement, which provides training to students who will become primary school teachers in the future, is treated at the same time as a research project in which data are collected from participants’ reflective journals. The purpose of the study is to serve the improvement of the program as much as it serves student learning. A cohort of 28 student teachers volunteered to participate in an eight-week placement. Their major task is to teach basic English to disadvantaged primary-school-age children in Thu Dau Mot suburban areas. The disadvantaged children include orphans, members of low-income families, and children with disruption or absence of schooling. Findings from the study reveal participants’ rich, hands-on experience with real-world challenges in bringing education to at-risk children, a deep understanding of multiple perspectives on the teaching profession, and insightful lessons from the everyday struggle to motivate children learning. Involving participants in the dual role of both teacher and researcher, the project demonstrates how a higher-education curriculum can be negotiated by the students themselves. The study also expands literacy practice by prioritizing new experience over current knowledge, by accepting student self-discovery over expert authority, and by constructing mutual support over the transfer of academic skills.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTransforming Pedagogies Through Engagement with Learners, Teachers and Communities
    EditorsDat Bao, Thanh Pham
    Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811600579
    ISBN (Print)9789811600562
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Publication series

    NameEducation in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects
    ISSN (Print)1573-5397
    ISSN (Electronic)2214-9791


    • Service learning
    • Affect
    • Real-world experience
    • Mutual support
    • Multiple perspectives
    • Negotiated curriculum

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