Jan 25, 2013

Vietnam - Teachers and students depressed about literature lessons

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VietNamNet Bridge – Students find literature a boring subject, while teachers feel tired of teaching because there is no room for their creativeness.

When literature lessons make students bored to death

Nguyen Thanh Huyen, an 11th grader of the NT High School in Hanoi, said she and other classmates usually succumb to sleep during literature lessons.

“We get tired of our busy learning schedule, and we don’t have time to be sensitive to the interesting and beautiful of literature works,” Huyen said.

“Meanwhile, the boring lessons cannot help us love the subject. The teachers talk and talk, and we simply take notes on our books. Later, when attending exams, we would only have to recite the teachers’ words to pass the exams,” she explained.

“We need to repeat the ideas we receive from teachers when we attend the exams. There is no room for the feelings of your own,” she added.

Dr. Trinh Thu Tuyet from the Chu Van An High School in Hanoi, who has been teaching literature for the last 30 years, has also noted that students nowadays reluctantly attend literature lessons, because they need to pass literature exams to go on to the next grades.

“Students fall asleep during the literature lessons because the things they listen in the class have no relations to them. They feel as the teachers try to stuff their heads with nonsense,” Tuyet said.

A literature teacher from a high school in Hanoi has pointed out that the currently applied curricula are not attractive to students.

For example, students are requested to learn about the ancient literature with the works dated back to hundreds of years ago. Therefore, students cannot find any interests in the pieces of works.

Students nowadays learn literature not because they can find the interests in the subject, but just because they can receive sufficient knowledge to attend the university entrance exams. Meanwhile, fewer students nowadays decide to follow social science studies; therefore, they do not think they need to study literature.

What to do to provoke students’ love to literature?

In an effort to revive the students’ love to literature, the Ministry of Education has to organize a national workshop on teaching literature at general schools.

Associate Prof Do Ngoc Thong from the Vietnam Institute of Education Science, while emphasizing the need of renovating the curricula, said it’s necessary to apply a new teaching method which encourages students to think, raise questions and find the answers to the questions. This would help awake the creativeness of students.

“It’s a taboo to try to stuff students’ heads with too many things and force them to remember all the things mechanically,” he said.

Tuyet also said that the thing teachers need to do is to enhance the students’ sense to pieces of literature works, not to give students sample essays or impose their ideas about artistic pieces of works.

Critics have many times voiced their disagreement with the currently applied teaching method, under which students are told to repeat exactly what the teachers say.

At primary schools, when asking students to write an essay, teachers would expect their students to write exactly what they told them before, while they would not be satisfactory if the students write on their way.

A parent complained that the teacher of her daughter wanted her students to describe their grandfathers as “having white hair.” Therefore, the girl received a bad mark just because she wrote that her grandfather has “black hair” because he does not have to work hard.


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