September 2006
Volume 10, Number 2

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Duong Thi Hoang Oanh
Hue University, Vietnam

Nguyen Thu Hien
Hue University, Vietnam


Experience and observation as a learners and teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) convince us that memorization seems to be one of the learning methods that helps EFL students learn and use the English language, provided that memorization is used appropriately to help learners to internalise what they have learned to apply in actual communication. On the other hand, some teachers argue that memorization and communication cannot coexist in an academic environment. This controversy inspired this investigation into whether memorization is accepted as a strategy in the process of learning EFL in EFL students' and teachers' perspectives, and if so, what role memorization plays. The research aims to identify learners' and teachers' beliefs about learning EFL in relation to memorization as well as to provide an insight into the possible effectiveness of memorization. Gleaned from questionnaires and interviews, the data were analysed by using ethnographic methods. Memorization is a mental process, so the choice of qualitative method as the main data collection and analysis tool is appropriate, but to carry out qualitative research in Vietnam is undeniably challenging. Apart from common difficulties such as time constraints, members of powerful research committees at Vietnamese universities--such as the one where the data were gathered--generate many doubts. Nonetheless, it was found that both teachers and learners differentiated between "good" and "bad" memorization in terms of a specific, commonly used task in Vietnamese universities, giving speeches in English.

Keywords: EFL, ESL,learner preference, teaching methodology, memorization, learning strategies, Vietnamese learners, Vietnamese universities

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