For many years in the context of EFL/ESL, there is a widelyaccepted belief that all learners need the same thing and take in informationthe same way. Therefore, great emphasis is often placed on teachingmethodologies and techniques rather than other teaching-learning factors.But then there is a growing concern regarding other element,namely learning styles and learning preference, that also enormously influencethe language acquisition, and “mainstream language teaching no longer deemsteaching methods to be the key factor in determining the success or failure oflanguage teaching and learning” (Richards& Rodgers, 2001). More and more researchers havestudied the area of learning styles and learning preferences, trying to look atindividual differences in learners such as Reid(1987), Brindley(1984), etc. It is strongly believed thatunderstanding these differences in learners will enhance the teaching-learningenvironment in the area of language learning. 1.
1 Specific contextAlthough a great deal of number of research on learningstyles and learning preferences have been conducted worldwide, little attentionhas been paid to this area in Vietnam. ESL/EFL students from differentbackgrounds may differ from others significantly in their learning stylepreferences (Reid,1987).Moreover, DeCapuaand Wintergerst (2005) indicate that learners tend to havedifferent learning styles based on the type of ESL course they are taking suchas academic English or community English. Most of research in this field inVietnam was conducted for non-major English such as that of Nguyen(2005), Vu(2016), Le(1982), etc. Therefore, other resultsregarding learning styles and learning preferences in other context may not berelevant and appropriate to apply to the learning situation at Ho Chi Minh CityUniversity of Technical Education, particularly for English-major students.1.2ProblemIn Vietnam, the majority of teachers are unaware of thelearners’ learning styles and learning preference as well as the importance ofunderstanding them.
This creates a gap between what learners expect or want andwhat the teachers actually think or do, causing unwillingness to participateand frustration in learners. “In the end successful language”teaching-learning” is going to be dependent upon the willingco-operation of the participants in the interaction and an agreement betweenthem as to the goals of their interaction. Co-operation cannot be imposed butmust be negotiated” (Corder,1977).
In other words, an ideal learningenvironment can only be obtained through mutual understanding between learnersand teachers.But in reality, teachers in Vietnam rarely consult learnersfor decisions relating classroom activities and learning situation, even ifthey are well aware of the need to understand learners’ preferences. Thoseunwillingness and reluctance may originate from the fact that Vietnamesesociety still has a rigorous and rigid perception regarding the role of teachersand learners. Learners are not expected to participate in the decisionsrelating to how classroom activities should be conducted. Moreover, teachers donot generally view learners as being capable of making such decisions. Withthat in mind, this research aims to investigate what is the learning styles andlearning preferences of language learners at Ho Chi Minh City University ofTechnical Education, and the extent to which English teachers at Ho Chi MinhCity University of Technical Education are aware of the learning styles andlearning preferences of their learners. 1.3 Objectives of thestudy and research questionsThis study has two objectives which are :1.
Tofind out what are the learning styles and learning preferences of the Englishmajor students at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technical Education2. Toinvestigate the extent to which English teachers at Ho Chi Minh City Universityof Technical Education are aware of the learning styles and learningpreferences of their English major students ?Base on the objectives this paper has two research questions:1. Whatare the learning styles and learning preferences of the English major studentsat Ho Chi Minh City University of Technical Education ?To which extent are English teachers at Ho Chi MinhCity University of Technical Education aware of the learning styles andlearning preferences of their English major students ?