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[Xmca-l] Re: Request for advice

Thank you, Asmalina, this helps. Nothing like someone who actually has experience!


Helena Worthen
Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com

On Jan 6, 2016, at 10:10 AM, Asmalina Saleh wrote:

> ​Helena,
> The possibility of a local blend of Viet and English is not as detrimental
> as it may seem. Singapore for instance, has its own version of English, or
> Singlish. It is often unintelligible to someone who has not lived there,
> but I have a great fondness for the language and see it as beneficial in
> teaching English to students. Some of my local colleagues at the primary
> and secondary levels, stress that their students recognize the need to
> switch between business English and Singlish. When I taught undergraduate
> classes in the local universities, the use of Singlish was often helpful in
> translating ideas and concepts from English to the local context. So, in my
> biased view, I think that a creole language would be beneficial in many
> ways.
> One possible way to suggest teaching bilingually is perhaps to use examples
> of countries that promote bilingual education in the region, such as
> Hongkong, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. There are many invaluable
> lessons that could be drawn on, and could be really useful in the
> Vietnamese context.
> ​Best,
> Lina​
> On Jan 5, 2016 7:13 PM, "Helena Worthen" <helenaworthen@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi -
>> I"m in the midst of compiling responses to my request and therefore
>> haven't responded on list.
>> There have been a number of comments that suggest that in emulating Top
>> 100 universities in their textbooks, syllabi and language (English) lies a
>> risk of losing Vietnamese culture. I don't think this is what's going on.
>> This project, with its short deadline, centralized leadership, urgency and
>> seemingly enthusiastic if nervous commitment on the part of the very young
>> faculty, is in itself very Vietnamese. People aren't semi-committed or
>> reluctant. Maybe I'm imagining this, and I've only been here 5 months and
>> don't speak Vietnamese. The shift to a market economy has released, as
>> expected, enormous amounts of energy; everyone is selling something, and so
>> far, it's working for a lot of people.
>> This excitement IS Vietnamese. As an American, I keep saying to myself,
>> "This is how they won the war." Not just one war, either!
>> Although the rivers are filthy, the air (in the city) is toxic and leaves
>> a dust of particulate on your tongue, and the "library" has almost no
>> books. But they're building a new whole library building as we speak. They
>> work 7 days a week, dawn to dark.
>> I think the risk in emulating Top 100 universities and requiring everyone
>> (even the "guards" and the cleaners) to speak English too early is that
>> people will create a local blend of Vietnamese and English which will not
>> be intelligible beyond Vietnam. Any thoughts on that?
>> I'm trying to express the reasons for teaching bi-lingually in words that
>> will not offend anyone and will get heard. Thanks to all of you who have
>> responded.
>> Helena
>> Helena Worthen
>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>> Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>> On Jan 6, 2016, at 2:38 AM, Annalisa Aguilar wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> If I might pipe up again, I think Carol has synthesized things nicely
>> here!
>>> What emerges for me from what Carol said about surfaces is this...and is
>> perhaps restating what she said (or what she implied):
>>> Do the Vietnamese desire to copy the model of the "ideal of the Ivy
>> League" because they want to replicate the surface features present, as
>> evidence that they too will be a "quality school" in 20 years' time? OR do
>> they want to adopt and embody the underlying processes present by which
>> these features emerged so that their school culminates in a "quality
>> school" ?
>>> It seems to me if they value their own culture (which they must), it
>> would have to be the latter and not the former, because the former would be
>> only a simulacra and by creating a simulacra they would by default give up
>> on their own culture, or at least whatever they value about their own
>> culture, by supplanting *a notion* of quality rather than quality itself.
>> By adopting instead processes of quality (over surface features), they
>> would create quality as derived intrinsic to Vietnamese culture, because
>> they will use processes identified as "universally" qualified for
>> manifesting a quality school (in 20 years time).
>>> But then having a feature of many libraries (in the high school, in the
>> university, and in the home) is borne of the process of building a library
>> collection (and Constitution that safeguards free speech and privacy,
>> supposedly), and providing bookshelves and tables and chairs large enough
>> (and sturdy enough) to hold all that thinking captured in books!
>>> Of course now that so much is digital, what would a library look like in
>> 20 years in Vietnam?
>>> Would they just have lots of bean bag chairs? and tablets (instead of
>> tables)? and headphones with mics?
>>> Remember that 70s TV show Love American Style? I thought of that too.
>> But in this case: Ivy League University Vietnamese Style.
>>> :)
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Annalisa