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Towards English as a Lingua Franca: Vietnamese teachers’ and learners’ perceptions

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posted on 2023-01-18, 17:51 authored by Thi My Hau Ho
Submission note: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education to the Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Bundoora.

English teaching in Vietnam is strongly influenced by native speaker models imported from the UK and the USA. There is concern that language teaching policy and practice do not reflect the needs of English language learners in Vietnam. There have been calls for a greater recognition of non-standard English as a Lingua Franca. Recent Vietnamese research, building on international frameworks, suggests the current situation, in which teachers and learners strongly prefer native speaker English but recognise the gap between what is taught and what is used, is paradoxical. My thesis investigates the perceptions of this paradox in a sample of 240 university teachers and students from Hue and Ho Chi Minh City. Most participants do recognise a large gap between English taught (native speaker UK and American) and English used, which is a mixture of native speaker and other varieties (local, regional and English spoken by other nonnative speakers, especially work colleagues and foreign tourists). The so-called paradox, on closer inspection, is actually a complex interaction of quite rational choices by both teachers and learners. They recognise the problems of replacing ‘standard’ English with ELF as a model for pedagogy. But they want an infusion of ELF into teaching to provide skills for communicating with nonnative speakers. There are differences between groups of students related to maturity and experience in the workplace, and quite marked differences between participants from Hue and HCMC, perhaps reflecting varying linguistic and historical influences. Given the strength of native speaker influence, it is difficult to predict short term change in the perceptions and practices of teachers and students. But the strong demand for intercultural awareness and varietal skills suggests that there will be pressure for change in at least curriculum policy and assessment practices in Vietnamese universities, especially those involved in the preparation of future English language school teachers.


Center or Department

Faculty of Education.

Thesis type

  • Doctorate

Awarding institution

La Trobe University

Year Awarded


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