Video of students tearing up lessons causes dismay
  • By Thai Ba-Duy Tuyen-Nguyen Duy | | April 10, 2013 04:07 PM
 >>  Revamping history education in Vietnam

A recent incident at a HCM City high school in which a number of students tore up their history lessons after learning that it would not be on their final exams has stirred controversy.


Students tear up their lessons 

A short video of the incident was posted on the internet on April 7, showing students of Nguyen Hien High School tearing up papers and throwing them into the schoolyard on March 30. The Youtube clip evoked both outrage and concern. 

The head of the history teacher department at Lam Son High School in Thanh Hoa Province, expressed her disappointment, saying, “Many students do not like to study history because they feel overburdened with the workload from the subject. This may also be the fault of teachers for not teaching history in an interesting way."

She went on to say, however, that some students were still interested in history and that it may just have been a superficial outburst.

According to Linh, "Teachers have to make history interesting to students by using new methods and technology. Educators also have to find ways to connect their lessons to the real lives of students. For example, when teaching about the establishment of the Vietnamese Communist Party, and it's development over the years, teachers might emphasise more recent achievements."

"Lessons could include more computer images and lights in order to keep students' attention when teaching about famous battles," she explained.

Tran Trung Hieu, of a high school in Nghe An Province, a teacher with 20 years of history-teaching experience, said, "Surely history is a subject that often gets overlooked in high school education."

Misbehavior or flaw in education system?

Some others raised the concern that the incident could be a symptom of the Vietnamese educational system's focus on exams, which forces students to study only for the subjects that will be included in tests. 

According to the chairman of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children Dao Trong Thi, the incident could be blamed simply on the raucous nature of students and their reaction upon hearing that the material would not be included on their exams, therefore they did not need the lessons anymore.

He added that all subjects should be equally treated, and recommended a change in teaching methodology. "Knowledge should be provided in a way that is relevant to modern life. It is much more important for students to understand the importance of what they are being taught than just being made to memorise dates and names by heart." 

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