EFL teachers’ perceptions of professional development activities and their effects in a non-anglosphere context

Main Article Content

Duy Binh Nguyen
Hai Quan Nguyen
Thanh Thao Le


Providing teachers with adequate professional development (PD) is a central tenet to enhance education quality. In Vietnam, despite the blossoming of PD activities promoted over the past decade, the central question of how effectively these existing activities facilitate changes in teachers’ practice has been under-researched. This mixed-method study responded to the scarcity in understanding the effectiveness of PD activities in the Vietnamese setting by employing a questionnaire administered to 80 high school teachers and six semi-structured interviews. Evidence from the questionnaire and interviews revealed that EFL teachers participated in PD activities on an occasional basis. Institution-internal or in-house professional activities were most common, while joining a professional affiliation such as a TESOL association was the rarest. Also, PD activities have positively reinforced the teachers’ language proficiency, teaching practice, and planning practical lessons to meet students’ learning needs. The discussions and recommendations are made for enhancing the quality of PD activities.


Metrics Loading ...

Article Details

How to Cite
Nguyen, D. B., Nguyen, H. Q., & Le, T. T. (2022). EFL teachers’ perceptions of professional development activities and their effects in a non-anglosphere context. Focus on ELT Journal, 4(2), 70–86. https://doi.org/10.14744/felt.2022.4.2.5


Alibakhshi, G., & Dehvari, N. (2015). EFL Teachers' Perceptions of Continuing Professional Development: A Case of Iranian High School Teachers. PROFILE: Issues in Teachers' Professional Development, 17(2), 29-42.

Badri, M., Alnuaimi, A., Mohaidat, J., Yang, G., & Al Rashedi, A. (2016). Perception of teachers’ professional development needs, impacts, and barriers: The Abu Dhabi case. SAGE Open, 6(3), 1-15.

Bantwini, B. D., & King-McKenzie, E. L. (2011). District officials' assumptions about teacher learning and change: Hindering factors to curriculum reform implementation in South Africa. International Journal of Education, 3(1), 1-25. https://doi.org/10.5296/ije.v3i1.655

Birman, B. F., Desimone, L., Porter, A. C., & Garet, M. S. (2000). Designing professional development that works. Educational leadership, 57(8), 28-33.

Borg, S. (2008). English language teachers’ beliefs about research: Perspectives from the Netherlands. Levende Talen Tijdschrift, 9(3), 3-13.

Borko, H. (2004). Professional development and teacher learning: Mapping the terrain. Educational Researcher, 33(8), 3-15.

Brisk, M. E. (1998). Bilingual education: From compensatory to quality schooling. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Brooke, L., & Taylor, P. (2005). Older workers and employment: managing age relations. Ageing and Society, 25(3), 415-429.

Buczynski, S., & Hansen, C. B. (2010). Impact of professional development on teacher practice: Uncovering connections. Teaching and teacher education, 26(3), 599-607.Desimone, L. M. (2011). A primer on effective professional development. Phi delta kappan, 92(6), 68-71.

Da Silva, V. M. (2015). Development professional program in teaching grammar: (re)construction of EFL teacher´s pedagogical practices. ECCOM, 6(12), 39-50

Dang, V. H. N. (2018). The government’s policy on EFL teacher professional development: Opportunities and challenges for the Mekong Delta. Can Tho University Journal of Science, 54(8), 45-53.

Doran, P. R. (2014). Professional Development for Teachers of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners: Teachers' Experiences and Perceptions. Global Education Journal, 2014(4), 62-80.

Dörnyei, Z. (2003). Attitudes, orientations, and motivations in language learning: Advances in theory, research, and applications. Language learning, 53(S1), 3-32.

Gebhard, J. G. (2005). Teacher Development through Exploration: Principles, Ways, and Examples. TESL-EJ, 9(2), 1-15.

González, A. (2003). Who is educating EFL teachers: A qualitative study of in-service in Colombia. Íkala, revista de lenguaje y cultura, 8(14), 153-172.

Guskey, T. R. (2000). Evaluating professional development. Corwin Press.

Guskey, T. R. (2002). Professional development and teacher change. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 8(3/4), 381-391.

Helmer, J., Bartlett, C., Wolgemuth, J. R., & Lea, T. (2011). Coaching (and) commitment: Linking ongoing professional development, quality teaching and student outcomes. Professional Development in Education, 37(2), 197-211.

Hoang, K. M., & Vu, T. Q. (2016). Teaching Social and Emotional Skills to Students in Vietnam: Challenges and Opportunities. AsTEN Journal of Teacher Education, 1(1), 1-9.

Hordiienko, N. M., & Lomakina, L. V. (2015). Teaching EFL to mixed-ability classes: strategies, challenges, solutions. Advanced education, 3, 39-43.

Housen, A., Kuiken, F., & Vedder, I. (Eds.). (2012). Dimensions of L2 performance and proficiency: Complexity, accuracy and fluency in SLA (Vol. 32). John Benjamins Publishing.

Hughes, J. N., Luo, W., Kwok, O. M., & Loyd, L. K. (2008). Teacher–Student Support, Effortful Engagement, and Achievement: A 3-Year Longitudinal Study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(1), 1-14.

Karabenick, S. A., & Noda, P. A. C. (2004). Professional development implications of teachers' beliefs and attitudes toward English language learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 28(1), 55-75.

Knapp, M. S. (2003). Chapter 4: Professional development as a policy pathway. Review of research in education, 27(1), 109-157.

Lee, J. S. (2012). The effects of the teacher–student relationship and academic press on student engagement and academic performance. International Journal of Educational Research, 53(1), 330-340.

Lin, Z. (2013). Language teachers' attitudes, beliefs, professional knowledge, and views on professional development: An exploratory study at a preschool TEFL setting. TESOL Journal, 4(1), 55-82.

Magaldi, D., & Berler, M. (2020). Semi-structured interviews. In V. Zeigler-Hill & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of personality and individual differences (pp. 1-6). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_857

Mann, S. (2005). The language teacher's development. Language teaching, 38(3), 103-118. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444805002867

Murray, A. (2010). Empowering teachers through professional development. English Teaching Forum 48 (1), 2-11.

Nguyen, H. C. (2019). Motivation in learning English language: a case study at Vietnam national university, Hanoi. European Journal of Educational Sciences, 6(1), 49-65.

O’Connor, E., & McCartney, K. (2007). Examining teacher–child relationships and achievement as part of an ecological model of development. American educational research journal, 44(2), 340-369.

Ortaçtepe, D., & Akyel, A. S. (2015). The Effects of a Professional Development Program on English as a Foreign Language Teachers' Efficacy and Classroom Practice. TESOL Journal, 6(4), 680-706. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesj.185

Pham, C. (2016). Identifying sociocultural influences on high school students' motivation to learn English in rural areas in Vietnam. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics, 22(1), 5-20.

Phan, L. H., Kumpoh, A., Wood, K., Jawawi, R., & Said, H. (2021). Contextualising Globalisation, Education and Reform in Brunei Darussalam. In Globalisation, Education, and Reform in Brunei Darussalam (pp. 1-18). Macmillan, Cham.

Phuong, H. Y. (2017). Improving English language teaching in Vietnam: Voices from university teachers and students. Current Politics and Economics of South, Southeastern, and Central Asia, 26(3), 285-310.

Posthuma, R. A., & Campion, M.A. (2009). Age stereotypes in the workplace: common stereotypes, moderators, and future research directions. Journal of Management, 35(1), 158-188.

Powell, E., Terrell, I., Furey, S., & Scott-Evans, A. (2003). Teachers’ perceptions of the impact of CPD: An institutional case study. Journal of In-service Education, 29(3), 389-404.

Powney, J., Wilson, V., Hall, S., Davidson, J., Kirk, S., Edward, S., & Mirza, H. S. (2003). Teachers' careers: the impact of age, disability, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. London: Department for Education and Skills.

Prodromou, L., & Clandfield, L. (2008). Dealing with Difficulties: Solutions, Strategies, and Suggestions for Successful Teaching. ELT journal, 62(4), 420-422.

Richards, J., & Farrell, T. (2005). Professional Development for Language Teachers: Strategies for Teacher Learning (Cambridge Language Education). Cambridge University Press.

Roberts, D. M. (2007). Preferred Methods of Professional Development in Student Affairs. NASPA Journal, 44(3), 561-577.

Roemer, A. E. (2021). Professional development of EFL teachers in Tanzania: Ubinafsi or ujamaa?. Tesol Journal, 12(3), e594.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1), 54-67.

Samuel, S., & Pulizala, R. (2014). Role of ICT in English Language Teaching. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 3(12), 282-284.

Sert, N. (2006). EFL student teachers’ learning autonomy. Asian EFL Journal, 8(2), 180-201.

Shore, L. M., Cleveland, J. N., & Goldberg, C. B. (2003). Work attitudes and decisions as a function of manager age and employee age. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(3), 529-537.

Thao, L. T., & Mai, L. X. (2022). English language teaching reforms in Vietnam: EFL teachers’ perceptions of their responses and the influential factors. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 16(1), 29-40.

Tran, C. N., & Nguyen, H. B. (2021). Teachers’ Perceptions of Scaffolding EFL Students’ Reading Comprehension at High Schools in The Mekong Delta, Vietnam. European Journal of English Language Teaching, 6(5), 65-79.

Tran, N. H., Truong, T. D., Dinh, H. V. T., Do, L. H. T., Tran, T. A. T., & Phan, M. H. T. (2020). Significance of Teacher Professional Development in Response to the Current General Education Reforms in Vietnam: Perceptions of School Principals and Teachers. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 78(3), 449-464.

Tsui, S. M. B. (2003). Understanding expertise in teaching: Case studies of second language teachers. Cambridge University Press.

Tuan, D. M. (2021). Vietnamese EFL Teachers’ Perceptions and Practices of Reflective Teaching as a Tool for Professional Development. REiLA: Journal of Research and Innovation in Language, 3(3), 170-180.

Vähäsantanen, K., & Eteläpelto, A. (2009). Vocational teachers in the face of a major educational reform: Individual ways of negotiating professional identities. Journal of Education and Work, 22(1), 15-33.

Wati, H. (2011). The Effectiveness of Indonesian English Teachers Training Programs in Improving Confidence and Motivation. Online Submission, 4(1), 79-104.

Wong, M. S. (2011). Fifty ways to develop professionally: What language educators need to succeed? Language Education in Asia, 2 (1), 142-155.

Yenilmez, K., & Çemrek, F. (2008). Teaching Motivation of the Students in Secondary Teacher Training Schools in Turkey. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 3(2), 82-88.

Zein, S. (2016). Factors affecting the professional development of elementary English teachers. Professional Development in Education, 42(3), 423-440.