Set against a background of international concern about teacher stress and attrition, this paper reports the results of a qualitative study which investigated the experiences of one group of primary school English language teachers in Vietnam. Drawing upon positioning theory and Bakhtin’s dialogism, results suggest that the professional positioning of these teachers takes place within a struggle for centripetal status between multiple discourses circulating within Vietnamese society. These results also indicate that this struggle results in emotional dissonance for many of the participants—reflected in feelings of stress, frustration, and sadness—which lead some to reconsider their long-term commitment to the teaching profession. Arguing that proposals for English language teacher professional development in Vietnam which are limited to enhancing teachers’ linguistic proficiency and teaching competency do not adequately respond to the needs of these teachers, the paper sets out suggestions for supporting teachers of English to young learners in ways that address their emotional struggles. Suggestions for future research in Vietnam and other analogous settings are also considered. Copyright © 2020 De La Salle University.
CitationTrent, J., & Nguyen, C. D. (2021). The discursive positioning of primary school English language teachers: An exploration of the perspectives of teachers in Vietnam. Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 30(1), 71–81. doi: 10.1007/s40299-020-00515-z
- Teaching English to young learners
- Positioning theory
- Teacher education