Investigating Vietnamese ESP Learners' Difficulties in EFL Speaking: DMGA Scaffolding Model as a Proposed Solution

Nguyen Tran Uyen Nhi, Asmaa AlSaqqaf


Teaching speaking for English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) students in an English-for-Specific-Purposes (ESP) classroom is a demanding process. Despite the efforts of the Vietnamese government and educators, many Vietnamese EFL students perceive speaking as one of the most challenging language skills, and their speaking abilities in real-life situations are insufficient to fulfill society's increasing demands. As a result, it is the role of language teachers to identify students’ difficulties in speaking English and help them enhance their language speaking skills. This paper aims to explore the English speaking problems faced by ESP Vietnamese learners at the University of Foreign Language Studies, University of Danang (UFLS-UD), Vietnam . A questionnaire was employed to collect data from first-year undergraduate students in the ESP Department at UFLS-UD. Besides, the study also proposed a scaffolding model named "Diagnosing, Modeling and Sharing, Guiding, Applying" (DMGA) as a practical suggestion for EFL teachers for speaking training. It is hoped that the findings of the study will benefit both Vietnamese education policy makers, teachers as well as students in terms of teaching and learning speaking skills in ESP settings within an EFL context.


ESP learners; English speaking problems; DMGA scaffolding model; speaking performance

Full Text:



Basco, L., Nickle, T., & Kim, O, L. (2019). Improving ESL Students’ Speaking Ability through Instructional Scaffolding. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 6 (3), 11-18.

Belland, B. R. (2014). Scaffolding: Definition, current debates, and future directions. Handbook of research on educational communications and technology. New York, NY: Springer New York. 505-518.

Chittooran, .Mary, M. (2018). Scaffolding. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation.

Creswell, J. W. & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage publications

Department of Education. (2013). Speaking and listening resource book: WA, Australia.

Egan, G. 1990. The skilled helper: A systematic approach to effective helping (4th ed.). Thomson Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.

Iqbal, J. 2012. Four language skills. Retrieved from http//

Jafarigohar, M. 2021. Scaffolding Metacognition to Improve Oral Complexity, Accuracy, and Fluency. Quarterly Journal of Research in School and Virtual Learning, 4 (32), 93-103.

Naibaho, L. (2019). The effectiveness of scaffolding method on students’ speaking achievement. International Journal of Research - Granthaalayah, 7(5), 193-201.

Nguyen T.T.H & Pham .T.T.M. 2016. Difficulties in Teaching English for Specific Purposes: Empirical Study at Vietnam Universities. Higher Education Studies, 6(2), 154-161.

Nguyen, T. U. N, AlSaqqaf, A., Said, N. (2022). Impact of virtual DMGA scaffolding-based module on improving the EFL speaking skills among ESP Vietnamese learners: A proposal. Proceedings of International Conference on Language, Literature and Culture (ICLLC), Hamilton, New Zealand.

Nunnally, J.C. & Bernstein, I.H. (1994). The Assessment of Reliability. Psychometric Theory, (3rd ed.). New York : McGraw-Hill. 248-292.

Orlando, L. & Celi, Karina. 2019. The use of Metacognitive Development as scaffolding strategy to improve the communicative competence in a subset of EFL pre-service teachers at Universidad Nacional de Loja. Universidad Nacional de Loja.

Poorahmadi, M. (2009). The Effect of Employing Scaffolding Strategies and Classroom Tasks in Teaching Reading Comprehension. Journal of Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Literature, 1(3), 87-106.

Razaghi, M., Bagheri, M. S., & Yamini, M. (2019). The Impact of Cognitive Scaffolding on Iranian EFL Learners’ Speaking Skill. International Journal of Instruction, 12(4), 95-112.

Renshaw, P.D. (2013). The social cultural and emotional dimensions of scaffolding. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 2, 56–60.

Rivers, W. 1989. Teaching foreign language skills , (2nd). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Safdari. S , Ghadiri, M. & Kashkouli, J. 2021. The Types of Scaffolding Used by EFL Teachers in Isfahan. Journal of Modern Research in English Language Studies, 8(2), 199-220.

Tran, Q. T. & Dang, T. N. N. (2019). Four aspects of English speaking difficulties encountered by tertiary English-majored students. Ho Chi Minh City Open University Journal of Science, 9(2), 53-64.

Van de Pol, J., Volman, M., Oort, F., & Beishuizen, J. 2014. Teacher scaffolding in smallgroup work: an intervention study. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23(4), 600-650.

Vo, P. Q., P, T. M.N & Nguyen, H.T. 2018. Challenges to speaking skills encountered by English-majored students: A story of one Vietnamese university in the Mekong Delta. Can Tho University Journal of Science, 54(5), 38-44.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society - the development of higher psychological processes. London: Harvard University Press.

Wood, D. J., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, 17, 89–100.

Yildiz, Y & Celik, B. (2020). The Use of Scaffolding Techniques in Language Learning: Extending the Level of Understanding. International Journal of Social Sciences & Educational Studies, 7(3).



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
ICoTE Proceedings is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution
NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

View My Stats

ICoTE Proceedings publishes articles submitted to editors of international conferences on education and teaching. ICoTE editor is open to collaborations with relevant conference organizers or editors accross the globe. The template of ICoTE Proceedings articles is provided as the guide for the editors and authors that will have the articles published in this proceedings.