• Problems facing students from Vietnam

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    How to deal with the difference. How does it function in my life.

    What do I hope my students will do according to these problems.

    There are three “circles” where I have to deal with these differences;

    • the other sex relationship with my wife and the different personalities of my children.
    • family, people at work, friends- different thinking, perspective, hopes etc.
    • “ strangers”; difference in culture and race

    In a classroom you have to discover and understand; to open up is exciting.

    There are differences of opinion, ideas, race, social class, spending your free time.

    Home and at school; different work methods and characters.

    Different education forms.

    In a classroom everybody has to try to accept and not to judge too quickly and ask yourself a question: Where do those differences, conflicts, discrimination etc. come from?

    Try to understand why people think differently.

    Differences can be exciting in the classroom, school culture, types of education.

    The interests I had when I was young are a whole lot different than the youth has nowadays.

    My truths are not the truths, but we can look for things we have in common.

    Luckily there are differences, it’s exciting but it is also the cause of tensions.

    If there are differences between people we constantly will be confronted with positive and negative feelings. So we have to be aware of that.

    Do you have to respect an idea you can’t appreciate at all? Students will bring it back to you, they listen to you; you teach us things, you don’t do yourself.

    First you need to know the other person then you can accept the difference.

    Discover and respect .

    Accept your own boundaries and know where they are.

    Every form of life asks for a certain attitude of respect. You can be critical about questioning your life and besides that there will be space for critical questions for “that other thing”.

    Your unique being is very important so you can’t put people in categories. People deserve to be themselves. Isn’t it so that we mostly look at things from our point of view?

    Dealing with differences is the most difficult thing there is: parents- child, man-woman, progressive-conservative.

    Different is different, not better or worse.

    Sometimes differences can’t be justified; handicap, place of birth………

    2. What do I hope my students will do according to these problems?

    Learning to be open minded and understanding. Build up their own opinion and a nuanced way of thinking.

    Learning towards a more tolerant attitude. A way to choose.

    Choosing is loosing because there are differences. Knowing that life is not always “ I-pointed”.

    Learn to respect, learn to share. Differences can be a source of richness.

    Understand that other students come from different backgrounds. Learn to deal with different relationships.

    Try to breakthrough your own boundaries. Be open for things that are different.

    From a perspective of an image ( be cool, ambitious ) you are not entitled to judge others.

    The experience that others can be different does make you realize that you can be who you are. I can be me.

    How different or unique, we all have a right to be equal.

    Try to find a middle way; adjust yourself or stay who you are ( without extremism)

    So in the classroom you have to have respect and listen to the students although it isn’t what you would have done or said in a certain situation.

    Fred van Dijk


  • Problems facing students from Vietnam

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    Some Vietnamese students might struggle with the English language because there are structural differences between Vietnamese and English. It is important for the teacher to know how English differs from the native language of their students.

    Vietnamese students do not place an article before a profession; they might say: She is nurse (53). The teacher will have to help students insert articles. An example activity could involve a teacher showing pictures of people doing different occupations and ask: What is he?Students will respond He is waiter. The teacher will elicit and drill until the student understands that: He is waiter.

    Vietnamese does not have the be verb. Teachers need to help students insert the correct form of be in statements and questions (53). An example activity could focus on using is/are to describe fruit (countable/uncountable). The teacher could set up a breakfast table with different objects on it and ask questions: Are there bananas on the table? Yes, there are. Is there water on the table? No, there isn’t. This lesson will help students understand correct forms of to be.

    Like English, Vietnamese follows the subject-verb-object order. However, Vietnamese omits the it when referring to weather, distance, and time: Is raining. The Vietnamese language doesn’t have neuter pronouns (53). An example activity for the neuter pronoun it could be pictionary. Students are divided into teams and are given a slip of paper with ex: snow. Students must draw the weather and other students must guess: It is snowing.

    The English language expresses comparisons by adding –er to the adjective (bigger). In Vietnamese the idea of more is shown by adding the word for more after the adjective: The truck big more than the bus.(54). An example activity to help students understand –er could involve objects. The teacher could have a small cup, medium cup, and a large cup. The teacher could start by asking: Which cup is bigger (small cup or medium cup). That cup is bigger. The lesson could be focused on big, bigger, and biggest.

    The vowel sounds found in the words hit, bad, shower, and hire (/I/, /æ/, /a?/,

    /a?/) are not heard in the Vietnamese language. Students may confuse words with those sounds (54). To help students with pronunciation, the teacher could draw mouth diagrams. The tongue/lip placements could help the student form these sounds. After the students have begun to hear the difference between these sounds, the teacher can 3x3 choral drill words. By helping the students pronounce words with these vowels, they can begin to decipher between words like hit, bad, shower, and hire.

    Vietnamese students will probably have trouble with tenses. The Vietnamese language does not have the same system of expressing events in time. A Vietnamese student might say: We take a trip to Sacramento last summer. The speaker is using context clues to convey the tense, instead of changing the verb like in English (54). The teacher can create an activity focused on past simple to help them with tenses. Students create a survey and question each other to find out where/when/what they did on their last holiday.

    These differences can help the teacher understand why their ESL student is struggling with English. It is necessary for the teacher to comprehend the dissimilarities between the English language and the native language of their students, in order to help their students achieve both accuracy and fluency.

    Haussamen, Brock. Grammar Alive! A Guide for Teachers. Urbana: NCTE, 2003

    Kevin Lakani


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