Students' and teachers' perceptions of teaching and learning practice in Vietnamese higher education
AuthorTran, Thi Thanh Thuy
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 Thi Thanh Thuy Tran
In the past several decades, the Vietnamese Government has been attempting to modernise its higher education, aiming for Vietnamese higher education (VHE) to catch up with the world standards by the year 2020, and more specifically it intends to transform teaching and learning approaches so as to produce human resources that meet the increasing demands of a knowledge-based economy. Regardless of the implementation of multiple innovative policies, Vietnamese literature often describes teaching and learning in VHE as consisting of a traditional transmission-style approach, with passive and rote-based learning, examination-driven learning and a rigid and hierarchical learning environment. Contesting these characterisations, some recent studies have shown that teaching and learning in Vietnam has been shifting to a more student-centred approach. While these positive changes have been indicated, they appear to have occurred in advanced curriculum courses only. As such, complexity and diversity have been revealed in teaching and learning practices in the VHE context, a developing context which does not use English as a medium of instruction and which features centralisation in curriculum and the influence of classic Confucianism. This research investigated the fundamental question What are the key components of teaching practices that promote student learning in VHE, as perceived by teachers and students? The study is significant because it examined the perceptions of teachers and students, the two players in teaching and learning, to provide a ground-up approach in a centralised context. It aimed at identifying key components of teaching that promote student learning, as perceived by teachers and students. The study also examined the variations within the students’ perceptions and differences between students’ and teachers’ perceptions. The study also sought to reveal the similarities and differences between teaching and learning practices in VHE and those that have been indicated in the research literature. Using a mixed methods approach, the study consisted of three research phases, including the expert consultation (N=34); the questionnaires (N=643) and the interviews (N=36). It investigated not only the trends but also in-depth detail of students’ and teachers’ perceptions of teaching approaches that facilitate students’ learning within two public universities in Vietnam. Findings of the study indicated that some predominantly western-derived practices of teaching, learning and assessment can be translated into a unique higher education context such as that of Vietnam, but these practices are represented in slightly different ways. Findings of the study also revealed that there are similarities and some hybrid forms between teaching and learning in VHE and what has been represented in the research literature. The findings suggested that the perceptions of students and teachers in Vietnamese universities are more closely in line with teaching and learning approaches in developed western education. They showed that transformations have occurred in teaching and learning in Vietnamese universities, not only within advanced curriculum but also in more general education. Thus, these findings have helped debunk some stereotypes of teaching and learning in VHE, and enhanced understanding about the diversity and complexity in practices of teaching and learning in VHE. The findings provide insights into the contemporary situation of teaching and learning, and offer further understandings about the revolution of teaching and learning in VHE.
KeywordsStudents and teachers perception of teaching; Teaching practices that promote student learning; Diversity and complexity in practices of teaching and learning; Vietnamese higher education; Confucian Heritage Cultures; Mixed-method study; Factor analysis; MANOVA analysis; Interview analysis
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