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September 2006 Volume 10, Number 2 Contents | TESL-EJ Top

Researching the Research Culture in English Language Education in Vietnam
Pham Hoa Hiep University of Hue, Vietnam   Abstract
Although research has an important place in language teaching, and language teachers are encouraged to conduct research for professional development, not much has been published about teachers' aspirations and beliefs about research, and their actual experience with it. Even less is known about what teachers working in developing countries such as Vietnam believe about research, how they are rewarded and challenged in the process of conducting research and disseminating results. This paper investigates the research culture of English language professionals at the university level in Vietnam. Data gathered from official documents and interviews show that Vietnamese English language educators espouse the need to conduct research. However, multiple factors, such as researchers' dissatisfaction with current evaluation regulations, as well as conventions and formats in reporting research results, lack of time, lack of materials and opportunities to disseminate results, and contextually inappropriate training tend to discourage teachers' aspirations to do research. Suggestions are then offered with a view to promoting the research culture in Vietnam as well as in similar contexts.

The notion of teacher as researcher is familiar in the field of language teaching. However, not much has been learned about teachers' aspirations for and beliefs about research, and their actual experience with it. While there have been several attempts to record teachers' experiences in conducting research (see Brindley, 1992), these attempts largely focus on teachers working in the inner circle countries such as Australia, the UK, and the USA. Currently, very little is known about teachers doing research in the outer and expanding circle countries. This paper seeks to investigate the role of...


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