Teachers cannot make their mark without insightful comments

TN News

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Primary teachers should stop the habit of awarding grades or marks without making any comment, a practice that leaves children, and their parents, befuddled.

Despite a new regulation issued by the Ministry of Education and Training that requires teachers at primary schools to comment on the grades or marks they award children, it seems that many educators are sticking to the old way.

Minh Chau, mother of a first grader in Hanoi, said her child gets marks for reading, writing and math every day, but not a word in the form of explanation from the teacher.

“The children and their parents will not know why they are getting the marks they do and what they should do further,” Chau said.

Pham Xuan Tien, an official in charge of primary education at the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, described the old marking habit as “impersonal,” which is “the easiest, quickest way of marking and also the most harmful to the children.”

Nguyen Kim Dung, deputy head of the Education Research Institute at Ho Chi Minh City Education University, said the purpose of primary education is to provide children with basic skills including reading, writing and doing calculation, so giving marks is not necessary.

According to Dung, primary graders are too young to know about achievement and it’s reasonable to evaluate them by giving comments that let them know how far they have met requirements and what problems they are facing.

She suggested the ministry abolish the marking activity at primary schools and train the teachers in giving informative and effective comments.

Ly Van Hue, principle of Luong The Vinh Primary School in HCMC’s District 1, also said giving comments is “the best way” to evaluate primary school children.

Hue said it would require the teachers to pay close attention to each child.

Minh, father of a primary school student in Hanoi, said the dictation his child gave one day contained many basic errors but he still received the full 10 marks.

“That’s very dangerous as some children will refuse to study further at home as they already get 10.”

Meanwhile, Nguyen Cong Khanh, a psychologist and lecturer at the Hanoi Education University, said some teachers tend to mark the children too strictly and give too many negative comments like “careless,” “sloppy,” or “lazy.”

Such comments make children lose their confidence as well as their interest in attending school, Khanh said.

Hoang Thi Tan, an education officer in Long Bien District, Hanoi, said primary teachers have developed a habit of using marks to award or punish their children, while there are many other ways to do this.

Tran said teachers at several schools in Long Bien District make paper flowers and give children them instead of 9 or 10 marks.

“Children are much happier receiving the flowers.”

By Tue Nguyen

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