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Volume 20 Number 2, Summer 2023, Pages 215-506   

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Vietnamese EFL Novice Teachers' Pedagogical Decisions within a Mandated Communicative Language Curriculum

    Ngo Tien Nguyen, Amanda Baker, Michelle Eady & Jan Wright

While research in Vietnam, like in many Asian countries, points to cultural constraints and testing systems as barriers to English language education, increasing attention has been given to the influence of teachers' beliefs and practices on learners' communicative second language (L2) development. This paper extends this research by reporting on a study which investigated the influence of contextual factors on the cognition and decision-making of five Vietnamese novice EFL teachers in using the national English language textbook series. This textbook series, in line with Vietnam's language policy, is underpinned by Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) principles. Data were collected through interviews, classroom observations and stimulated recall interviews with teachers from two high schools in Vietnam. The results indicate that the teachers modified the textbook activities in ways that limited opportunities for student oral interactions in English. The teachers explained their more conservative practices as a response to their perceptions of their students' limited motivations and capacities. As an area of research that has received little investigation in the EFL literature, the teachers' prioritization of their students' capacities and motivations beyond other considerations, despite their own enthusiasm for a more communicative approach, is an important finding.

Keywords: language teacher cognition; novice teachers; CLT; EFL textbook; Vietnamese EFL context