Impact Insights // Student Spotlights

Strong student-teacher relationships drive academic success

Lana’s English Language Training program instructors in Vietnam prioritize forming strong student-teacher relationships.

Developing strong student-teacher relationships is important for any learning environment, but it especially rings true for English language learners (ELLs). Lana’s English Language Training (ELT) program instructors in Vietnam spend six contact hours per day with their students. This makes it impossible for them to not get to know their students on a personal level. Mr. Caleb Galipeau, one of our American instructors, teaches Class Alpha at Unit 871 military base. This class is comprised of the Vietnamese military officers who receive the highest scores on the initial American Language Course Placement Test (ALCPT) upon their arrival to the program. He builds strong, trusting relationships with his students and recently sat down with one of them to learn more about his background and reasoning for joining the course.

An enthusiastic, dedicated student

This is Caleb, teaching at the American Language Course (ALC) in Hanoi, Vietnam. I teach the upper-level class known as “Alpha.” Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down and speaking with one of our students. His name is Capt. Nguyễn Trần Hải Hà, and he is a doctor in the Air Force. He told me that he grew up in a Hải Dương, a small city just east of Hanoi, and enrolled in the Military Academy in 2011. After graduating in 2015, he went into training to become a doctor in internal medicine.

Before joining the ELT program, Capt. Nguyễn worked and lived full-time at a military hospital in Hanoi. When asked to describe his schedule, he stated, “I started work at 7:30. Took care of the patients and finished at 4:30. I also had night duty, one or two days a week. Now, I still work at the hospital while I study here, but only one night a week.” 

Capt. Nguyễn learned about Lana’s ELT program through his chain of command. “The senior officer at my hospital was sent a request for students, and I asked him if I could go.” In my opinion, Capt. Nguyễn is an obvious choice because his high level of English. Furthermore, he has a positive attitude with an enthusiasm to learn and asks lots of thought-provoking questions.

His ALCPT score increased by 27% from the initial exam to the mid-term exam. He moved out of the intermediate English level and into the advanced level based on the guidelines set forth by the Defense Language Institute English Language Course (DLIELC). His Book Quiz scores have averaged 93% over the duration of the course. These quizzes are achievement assessments given every two weeks to measure course content retention. Capt. Nguyễn’s hard work has paid off, and he is one of the top performing students in class.

Challenges to learning English

Capt. Nguyễn also had some interesting observations regarding some of the challenges of English learning for Vietnamese students. He noted, “I started learning English in school at 6th grade, but the teacher was Vietnamese and usually taught us to translate back to Vietnamese. This translation method makes it difficult to think in English, and we often use Vietnamese grammar in English.”

Capt. Nguyễn thinks ALC book topics are very interesting, practical, and relevant for military personnel. He also pointed out that this was the first time he ever been taught by an English speaker. Sometimes the vocabulary and phrasing that I use is unfamiliar. However, he is always glad to get corrections on common errors. Additionally, he has noticed an improvement in his pronunciation. “I enjoy the speaking activities the most because it gives me the chance to expand my ability and correct my own mistakes,” he told me.

Combining English and medicine

As far as his future plans go, he believes that improving his English is very critical. “I can read a lot of research and papers on medicine that are in English and also take courses or classes that might only be in English.” Regarding his future plans, he said, “I want to study at a higher level in the medical field next year. I want to continue in internal medicine, and I hope to advance in it over the next three years.” I have to say, if the intelligence and work ethic he has in my class is any indication, I’m sure he’s going to continue to succeed in medicine as well as English.

District of Columbia Office
2101 L Street, NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20037
Washington State Office
800 5th Avenue, Suite 101-800
Seattle, WA 98104

©2024 Lana Learn, All Rights Reserved