Nov 29, 2012

Vietnam - Literature teachers give “prototypes,” students “manufacture” essays

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VietNamNet Bridge – Imitation, not creativeness, is the thing Vietnamese teachers require on their students when they teach how to write compositions. The traditional teaching method has been facing the heavy criticism from parents and radical educational experts.

The technology of making compositions

Tuan Phong, a parent in Hanoi, felt happy when reading the composition of his son, a second grader, about the favorite pet.

“Con lon nha em keu ut it. Khi duoc an no, no lim dim va tho phi pho,” the boy wrote in his composition (My pig creaks. When it eats its fill, it has half-closed eyes from sleepiness and puffs).

Phong said he was so surprised when reading the words, thinking that his son was so excellent because he could describe the pig with his imagination, though he has never seen a pig before.

However, Phong felt disappointed later when he brought the son to the countryside one day. Pointing a cow, the son said: “Dad, look, it’s a yellow pig.”

When Phong asked the boy why he could mistake a cow for a pig, though he could describe the pig so well, the boy honestly said that he actually doesn’t know how a pig looks like, and that he simply rewrote the words spoken by the teacher.

Viet Anh, a student in Tu Liem district, complained that he got 6/10 marks only with the composition about grandfather.

“My grandfather has a kind face with high forehead and many wrinkles. He usually teaches me in the evening. I love him because he never scolds me, even if when I make mistake in my school works,” Viet Anh wrote.

The teacher only gave six to the boy because he “still cannot show the love to the grandfather.”

“The teacher told us that the grandfather would have snowy hair and wrinkled skin, while a teacher would have long hair and speak softly. However, my grandfather does not have white hair. Meanwhile, my teacher always scolds us. Therefore, my friends do not dare to write about grandfather and teacher,” Anh said.

As such, the parents have realized that the students who write in accordance with the “forms” given by the teacher, would get high marks. Meanwhile, those, who write as they see would get lower marks.

Teachers teach students to tell lie?

Hai Yen, a teacher of the Khuong Thuong Primary School in Dong Da district, said that students nowadays, who like reading strip cartoons and play online games, do not have creativeness and do not have core vocabulary.

“When students were asked to write about summer, one of them wrote: “There is sun and wind in summer,” and he could not write anything more,” Yen said.

Nguyen Thi Ky, who has been working as a literature teacher for the last 30 years, noted that in the past, the biggest problem for students and teachers was the lack of textbooks and materials. Meanwhile, there are too many materials nowadays, which leads to the fact that students copy the sample essays for their works.

“A lot of compositions have similar contents, because they are copied from the same sample essays,” Ky noted.

Thu Van, a parent in Bac Linh Dam urban area in Hanoi, said that teachers should not teach students to tell lie. They need to have the right to write what they think and how they feel.

Kieu Oanh

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