Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/126628
Type: Thesis
Title: The enablers and barriers to professional development for in-service teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in the Vietnamese higher education context
Author: Hoang, Thi Thu Thuy
Issue Date: 2020
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: Teacher professional development (PD) has become increasingly important for teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) in Vietnamese higher education. This is due to the implementation from 2008 of Language Project 2020, aiming to help students use a foreign language independently after graduation. Project 2020 views PD as essential to improve the quality of foreign language teaching. Since 2008, language teacher PD has received considerable attention from Vietnamese policymakers and language teachers including those in HE. However, factors influencing their participation, remain under-investigated. This qualitative case study has two primary objectives: to understand the current situation of PD for Vietnamese tertiary EFL teacher PD and to identify factors enabling and hindering their engagement in PD. Data sources are national and institutional documents, survey questionnaires for EFL teachers at a Vietnamese university (n=133), focus groups with EFL teachers (n = 35), and individual interviews with managers (n=4) at the same university. Cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) is used as an analytical framework to categorise factors impacting engagement in PD, while self-determination theory (SDT) is used as a tool to assist in the explanation of how those factors motivate or hinder teachers’ engagement. The findings reveal that all stakeholders―policy makers, managers and EFL teachers―acknowledge the significance of PD processes in improving foreign language teachers’ professional knowledge and skill, and the quality of their teaching. PD is seen as a political, cultural and educational phenomenon, with Language Project 2020 as a catalyst to significantly foster managers’ and EFL teachers’ awareness of the necessity for PD. Teachers’ engagement in PD activities is shown to be motivated by: the desire to become better teachers, career satisfaction, and Project 2020’s requirements for educational reform. Highlighted PD activities are those supporting teachers to learn and share their experience in groups, such as workshops, training programs, teacher study groups, teaching festivals, and informal sharing and collaborating with colleagues. It is apparent that the range of PD activities for EFL teachers in Vietnamese higher education is considerably influenced by the Vietnamese top-down leadership style and collectivist culture. All stakeholders consider the most enabling factors for PD as financial support; compulsory attendance; regulations for teacher evaluation and contract renewal; teachers’ personal motivation; and recognition and appreciation from colleagues, managers and students. Prominent inhibitors perceived by managers are inadequate financial support, and teacher-related factors (beliefs, poor awareness of PD, poor expertise, limited access to PD information or age hindrance), whereas the biggest deterrents perceived by EFL teachers are structural factors (work overload, inadequate financial support, and late issue of regulations). There are also differences between teachers’ goals in pursuing PD and managers’ intentions in planning for it. These findings highlight the significance of contextual factors in understanding teachers’ engagement in PD and the importance of addressing tensions between manager and teacher objectives and conflict between factors impacting teacher engagement in PD―notably between regulations for PD and teachers’ excessive workload―as well as payment policy and time constraints. Recommendations are proposed for taking such tensions into consideration when planning for and supporting PD in similar educational contexts.
Advisor: Miller, Julia
Matthews, Julie
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2020
Keywords: Teacher professional development
factors impacting teacher PD
teachers' engagement in PD
Vietnamese higher education
EFL teachers
Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT)
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/legals
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