Nation to assess English teachers
HA NOI — Viet Nam was looking to implement a comprehensive assessment of graduates from English teaching colleges in an effort to improve the quality of English teachers, said Nguyen Ngoc Hung, manager of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) 's National Foreign Languages 2020 Project.
The results of the assessment would be announced publicly to all universities and colleges nationwide, according to Hung.
Starting this summer, graduates from the English teaching departments at the University of Foreign Languages and Viet Nam National University would be tested on whether they have achieved at least the B2 level, which is equivalent to a 5-6 score with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Speaking at yesterday's conference on internationalisation and English capacity building co-organised by MoET and the British Council, Hung stressed that the lack of good English teachers and effective teaching methods had produced students who "failed to communicate in English for any useful purpose", even after nine years of studying in schools and colleges.
"For years, we have put an over-emphasis on whether English teachers have the right diploma or certificate, not on their actual listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills," he said.
The project, started in 2008, aims for most Vietnamese students graduating from secondary, vocational schools, college and universities to be able to use a foreign language confidently.
Officials estimate about 20 million students would benefit from the project. It would also develop new ICT applications in education and make efforts to digitalise textbooks. In three years, it has trained 2,500 English teachers at elementary level, according to Hung.
Professor Stephen Bax, from the University of Bedfordshire's Centre for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment, said the centre and the British Council had recently completed a study to assess staff levels of English at the University of Thai Nguyen and Hai Phong College for Tourism and Services.
According to Bax, the study, which consisted of staff self-assessment, an online test and site visits to observe classes, suggested that pronunciation remained an area of weakness; some students were left behind due to overcrowded classrooms; and better teaching methods such as how the teachers question the students or how to mark reading texts were needed. — VNS