How to Teach English to Vietnamese Students

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In today’s world, learning multiple languages is a skill that’s extremely helpful, not just in the workplace, but in everyday life. Corporations and federal agencies around the world place a high stock on employees that are able to speak several languages. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, English is considered the second most widely spoken language in Vietnam. Learning a second language can be a trying task for most students, especially if they’ve had little exposure to it in the past. Luckily, there are a number of methods teachers can use to help their students learn English quickly and efficiently.

1 Review the English alphabet with students

Review the English alphabet with students until they can recite it on their own. Have students pronounce the sounds of each letter. Pay special notice to sounds of letters with which Vietnamese students often have trouble, including R, I, E, G , J, H, K, Q, W, X and Y.

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2 Emphasize sounding out words

Lead students through drills that emphasize sounding out words. Write short words on the board such as “dog” and then pronounce them and have students repeat the word back to you. This will help students become familiar with the construction of English words.

3 Use pictures and videos

Use pictures and videos to help provide context to vocabulary. For instance, show a photograph of a bird and have students identify it in English. Many students are visual learners and will appreciate such aids.

Use English-language music and pop-culture in class. Music and movies are an engaging way to expose students to English. Provide a Vietnamese translation of lyrics at first or allow students to watch videos with subtitles. Rely on translation less as students’ abilities progress.

Hold periodic tests and quizzes. This will help measure students’ progress and identify trouble areas. Offer additional one-on-one help if students continue to struggle with the material.

  • Make sure students can differentiate between short vowels and long vowels, which can often be a problem area for beginning Vietnamese students.
  • Hold various kinds of examinations, oral, written, physical response, as students respond differently to different types of tests.

Matt McKinney has written professionally since 2008. His work has appeared in publications such as "The Knox Student" and "Diminished Capacity," his campus literary journal. McKinney is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing at Knox College.