Vietnamese students afraid to speak English

Published: 24/05/2011 05:00



After 6-7 years of learning English at grammar school, Vietnamese students still cannot speak a correct English sentence. They are not confident enough to communicate in English.

“I am afraid of making mistakes in speaking English”

Nguyen Huy Duc, who has graduated from the Nguyen Trai High School in Hanoi, honestly admitted that though he learned English at school for seven years, from sixth to twelfth grade, he still cannot speak English.

“Besides the lessons at school, I also went to English centers. However, I could not pass the exams to get the A-level English certificate,” he said. “Now I have to struggle with English again at the university”.

Duc is not alone. Many Vietnamese students cannot communicate in English, even though they spent 6-7 years learning English at grammar schools. The problem is that they learn English just to pass regular tests or examinations, while they cannot use English in reality. Especially, many students got high scores from exams and tests, but they can only write grammatical sentences, while they are very bad at listening and communicating.

Tran Thuy Loan, an 8th grader of Lien Hoa Secondary School in Hoa Binh said on Tien phong, that she likes learning English, and she always has good learning results at school. However, last year, when she came to Hanoi to visit relatives and went to an English club, she found out that she was afraid to speak English in crowded places because she was afraid of making mistakes.

Bad English skills have become a hot topic on education forums. Educators have pointed out that it is the nature of Vietnamese people that they can easily get embarrassed when making mistakes, therefore, they would rather not to speak English to make mistakes.

Learning English like “climbing a greasy poll”

Nguyen Phuong Nam, a lecturer of the English faculty under the University for Business and Technology, pointed out that it is the traditional teaching method with which students stay passive in learning and do not have a communication environment, which is the main reason behind the ineffective teaching and learning of English. As a result, students have become afraid of learning English.

In fact, during the lessons, students are also requested to communicate with each other in English and they can also practice speaking and listening with audio tapes and video disks. However, due to many reasons, including the habits in teaching and the bad material facilities, students rarely have the chance to access to modern teaching and learning tools. In general, students can only listen to teachers, while teachers are not make good pronunciations in all cases.

“Many of my students at the university make wrong pronunciations of some basic words. However, they think that they have good pronunciations already because they have been pronouncing this way since they were at grammar school, and no need to correct the pronunciations,” she complained.

Nam said that in general, high school students do not have the chance to practice four basic skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. At schools, teachers focus on teaching grammar, while students also focus on grammar lessons in order to pass tests and examinations.

This traditional way of teaching put students in the “passive voice” when learning English, and they cannot have good communication skills, even though students can be good at grammar. Nam said that grammar lessons should be associated with the practice, or the learning would be useless and like “climbing the greasy poll”.

Tien phong

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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