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Math teachers’ English skills too low to use English as language of instruction

Five years ago, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) kicked off a pilot 2011-2015 program on teaching math and natural sciences in English at 30 percent of high schools in large cities. However, the target has been difficult to reach.

VietNamNet Bridge - Five years ago, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) kicked off a pilot 2011-2015 program on teaching math and natural sciences in English at 30 percent of high schools in large cities. However, the target has been difficult to reach.

 


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The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) kicked off a pilot 2011-2015 program on teaching math and natural sciences in English


To date, the teaching of math and natural science in English has been implemented at about 30 schools throughout the country only, while lessons in English have been provided irregularly.

In fact, the failure of the program was foreseeable. Schools have not been well prepared and teachers of English cannot provide lessons in math and natural sciences because they lack professional knowledge. Moreover, natural science teachers lack sufficient English skills.

Some high schools for the gifted in HCM City hired visiting teachers from universities, who have both English skills and professional knowledge. However, as they are lecturers at universities, they can only give lessons at high schools occasionally.

The teaching of math and natural science in English has been implemented at about 30 schools throughout the country


Tran Thi Anh Dao, a teacher at the Le Quy Don High School for the Gifted in Da Nang City, admitted that teachers were encountering difficulties in teaching in English. Most of them were trained in certain majors, while their English skills were self-taught and not good enough.

Dao said it was difficult to prepare for lessons in English. It takes 7-10 days on average to draw up a lesson plan for one teaching period (45 minutes).

Also according to Dao, most students in the schools for the gifted can learn quickly and have good English skills since they began learning English at a young age. Therefore, teachers sometimes feel embarrassed when giving lessons.

Nguyen Thanh Van, headmaster of the Foreign Languages High School, a member of the Hanoi National University, also noted that students’ fluent English skills are a big challenge to teachers with only training in their subject.

Van has found from a survey that 10th graders have English skills at B1 level in accordance with the European standards. Meanwhile, math and natural science teachers cannot meet such an English level.

Nguyen Quang Nam, a teacher at the Ha Tinh High School for the Gifted, also said teachers’ English skills were not better than the students’ skills.

“I have to go to extra English classes for the last half of the year to improve my English skills. However, the classes cannot help a lot because only general English is taught there,” he said.


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