Understanding practices, informing policies: Voices from an English language teacher Education innovation in Vietnam

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In the increasingly global environment, Vietnam sees the English language as a key to modernisation and national development. Despite Vietnam's strong inclination to shape the direction of English language education through reforms, English language education and English Language Teacher Education (ELTE) in Vietnam are a site of contradiction between state control and a vigorously growing market economy influenced by globalisation. As Vietnam's centrally planned economy has become increasingly decentralised, "economic actors became more autonomous in their functioning" (London, 2006, 6). The unprecedented economic boom of the country is associated with a similar boom of its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, connecting Vietnam with the world, and an increase in the popularity of English as an international language. This context has placed ELTE in a position porous to Vietnam's contemporary sociocultural context to an extent that is unusual in state-regulated Vietnamese education. In these changing times, it is crucial to understand and uncover exemplary ELTE practices to inform policies. Against the backdrop of ELTE in Vietnam, in 2001 a leading Vietnamese university introduced a high quality ELTE program which set out to improve the English language proficiency and teaching methodology of prospective teachers. Taking this ELTE innovation as an example, this chapter uncovers a network of broader socio-cultural factors and multiple actors, at local, institutional and national levels and beyond, that govern the practices of pre-service teachers in this program. The study draws on individual interviews with pre-service teachers participating in the program in 2009, and relevant instructional materials and policy documents. Whilst highlighting the network of influential actors, the study provides implications for policy-makers in decisions regarding ELTE at teacher education institutions in Vietnam. It also calls for stronger dialogue between ELTE practitioners and policy-makers, taking into account the role of multiple actors beyond the educational policy sphere in the ELTE process.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation Policy
Subtitle of host publicationMapping the Landscape and Scope
EditorsSandra Bohlinger, Thi Kim Anh Dang, Malgorzata Klatt
Place of PublicationFrankfurt Germany
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783631693711, 9783653050448, 9783631693728
ISBN (Print)9783631657515
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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