Hi, Mr. Nhon. Can you share a little bit about yourself?
Hello. My name is Dang Thanh Nhon, an ESL instructor from the School of Humanities and Languages at Tan Tao University (TTU). Before joining TTU, I won a Fulbright scholarship that allowed me to pursue my Master’s degree in TESOL at Minnesota State University, in the United States in 2009. I am fond of learning new teaching methods to improve the quality of the English teaching and learning. I am particularly interested in applying Internet technology in teaching and assessment.
In your experience as a Fulbright Scholar going abroad, how has learning English helped you be successful in America?
Thank you for a very interesting question! First of all, I’d like to say many thanks to the Fulbright program that offered me a wonderful opportunity to help develop my professional career, to study, to exchange, and to network with professors, colleagues, friends, and other Fulbrighters through the Fulbright program in general and through Master’s program at Minnesota State University in particular.
Regarding your question, I believe that a good English preparation is extremely important as it would at first help “survive” in an academic program and in social encounters in a dynamic and culturally diverse American society. Since I have been an ESL teacher and learner myself, I autonomously self-taught and improved English over time, which allowed me to participate in class discussion and group discussion in order to have my graduate studies completed as expected. My background English also helped me take part in extra-curricular activities confidently and then partly help reduce the so-called “culture shock”. Perhaps, it was getting involved in academic, extra-curricular, and social activities that helped me gradually assimilate into the mainstream society.
How has your experience been, at TTU, in comparison with your experience in the USA?
TTU is emulating an academic model from one of the American universities in terms of curricula, teaching philosophy, pedagogy, courses, learning management systems, and teacher-student interactions as it compromises exactitude of expression. This has been proven and reflected by the school’s operation. As TTU’s faculty members, besides conducting the teaching load as scheduled, we are also expected to conduct research as well as counsel students in our office hours (8 hours per week). As a graduate student at Minnesota State University, I remember I often dropped by my advisor’s office for academic and research counseling. Office hours have been proven academically useful for students but unfortunately left out in most Vietnamese universities.
So, why should any student be an English major?
There are many benefits to being an English major. One of the benefits is the opportunity to study abroad as previously mentioned. Second, students whose major is English studies will likely find and land a job higher than those of other disciplines since English is used in every sector of the economy. What’s more, as Vietnam is an attractive destination for foreign investment, job opportunities for those who master in English will be certainly in higher demand. Above all, knowing English is a great way to access, appreciate, and/or satisfy a need for exploring the huge human knowledge on the Internet. That is, students who gain mastery of online information will have a huge competitive advantage compared to those who do not.
In your opinion, what would future students to Tan Tao University gain, by entering the School of English Humanities and Languages?
The curriculum for English major has been vigorously discussed and agreed among faculty members. Specifically, those who want to be students of the School of Humanities and Languages will be instructed in in-depth linguistic courses so that they will be able to use English in any professional and social situations at ease. They will be able to grasp linguistic nuances, inferences, shades of meaning, figures of speech in order to help decode any texts correctly.
Second, students of English major will improve their academic writing skills, be able to compose any types of text in English as well as enhance their thinking ability, critical thinking and problem-solving skills based on the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of a particular issue.
Third, that English belongs to those who use it requires a cross-cultural knowledge, and it should be used in a culturally appropriate and socially acceptable manner. So, students of English major will be expected to take courses of cultures and globalization in order to help abridge cultural gaps and “break” cultural barriers in communication.
Do you have any advice for potential students to the School of English Humanities and Languages, at Tan Tao University?
First, I personally congratulate those who passed the entrance exam and will become students of the school of Humanities and Languages at TTU in Fall. They made the right decision! We are looking forward to working with them!
For those who are still considering their options, we will be pleased to answer whatever questions you might have regarding areas of concentration, pedagogical approaches, and any other matters of interest.
By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all good health, and I hope the students who are still undecided about what university to go, will make a wise decision for a bright future. Remember, the School of Humanities and Languages always welcomes you!
Thank you so much for the conversation!