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Overseas Vietnamese teachers return home to hone Vietnamese language teaching skills

Overseas Vietnamese teachers return home to hone Vietnamese language teaching skills

Friday, August 18, 2023, 10:03 GMT+7
Overseas Vietnamese teachers return home to hone Vietnamese language teaching skills
Overseas Vietnamese participants in a Vietnamese-language teaching course pose for a photo during the event’s welcome ceremony in Hanoi, August 16, 2023. Photo: State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese

More than 60 overseas Vietnamese educators have convened in Hanoi to participate in a training program focused on enhancing their Vietnamese language teaching skills.

The two-week program, co-sponsored by the State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Training, officially launched on Wednesday.

This year’s event – the ninth iteration of the program – hosts over 60 Vietnamese expatriates from 17 countries and territories who are keen on teaching their mother language to others.

“The Vietnamese language serves as a strong cornerstone for our heritage,” said Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, a Vietnamese-Laotian woman who spoke at the opening ceremony for the course.

“I hold the conviction that, when our language is spoken in a foreign land, it evokes a profound sense of connection for overseas Vietnamese.”

Once a teacher, forever a teacher

Le Thi Thanh Tung, a former Vietnamese teacher who currently lives in San Francisco, California, spent 10 years teaching Vietnamese at a language center in the U.S. before retiring.

Her students included both overseas Vietnamese children and Americans interested in learning the language.

Though she no longer teaches at the center, she still offers private tutoring to children from local Vietnamese families.

Among the many tools Tung uses to help her young students, singing is perhaps her favorite.

“A, B, C are the first three letters, Ư, Ơ form a beard, Ô, Ê come with a hat,” she hummed before sharing that pronunciation is the most challenging aspect of learning Vietnamese.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang (L) presents flowers to overseas Vietnamese participants in a Vietnamese-language teaching course at the event’s welcome ceremony in Hanoi, August 16, 2023. Photo: State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang (L) presents flowers to overseas Vietnamese participants in a Vietnamese language teaching course at the event’s welcome ceremony in Hanoi, August 16, 2023. Photo: State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese

Tung considers her role as a Vietnamse teacher to be crucial in helping her fellow overseas Vietnamese retain their connetions with the motherland.

“As the Vietnamese community continues to thrive in the U.S., preserving the Vietnamese language is integral to the enduring identity of the Vietnamese people,” she explained.

During this year’s training program, she hopes to learn about the newest methodologies in Vietnamese teaching so that she can improve her own skills.

“Firstly, I hope to use what I learn to help my grandchildren speak Vietnamese more fluently," Tung said. 

"Then I wish to use my knowledge to continue teaching within my own community in the U.S.."

Speaking at the program’s opening ceremony on Wednesday, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang, who is also the head of the State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese, thanked the participants for their dedication to teaching the Vietnamese language.

“Even though many of these teachers aren’t professionals, they teach Vietnamese with their hearts, with love, and with the responsibility of helping overseas Vietnamese preserve the essence of our nation, our mother tongue, and the traditional cultural values of Vietnam,” Hang said.

According to Hang, the program’s 20 sessions will be led by top educators and experts in language and pedagogical methods from the Hanoi National University of Education and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities under the Vietnam National University-Hanoi.

Such participants will also engage in extracurricular activities, such as meetings and exhanges with local teachers, as well as visits to many of Hanoi’s landmarks and historical sites.

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Bao Anh - Thanh Hien / Tuoi Tre News

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