When my teenage daughter said her history teacher had an MA, I was surprised (in Vietnam, jr. high and high school teachers rarely have graduate degrees).
I thought that anyone who had an advanced degree but came back to teach history must love the subject and be interested in new ways to make children love it too.
But I was wrong.
I watched my daughter study history for four months and I found that although her teacher was physically young, he was mentally old.
He just had his students write down the dates of important battles and the names of those involved. To pass his tests, all students had to do was memorize the lists of dates and names.
Everyone is worried these days that our kids donââ‚¬â„¢t know history. Well, classes like this are the reason why.
When I was young and studied history, my teacher lectured us as a story-teller. He attracted our attention with his precise details about historical characters and their stories. We loved to learn and understand more about our country.
But my daughterââ‚¬â„¢s history lessons these days are too dry. Students are studying for the sake of taking exams and then they forget everything.
Some people blame the long curricula, some blame students for not taking history seriously, while others say history texts are too complicated.
Either way, a teacher should have some power to shorten the curricula, make the lessons more lively and make children interested in history instead of bored by it.
We really need the teacher to help with that, to teach our children to love Vietnam through history lessons and understand how hard it has been to protect the country they are living in.
My daughterââ‚¬â„¢s teacher never told in-depth stories about any historical characters, including giant heroes like Ly Thuong Kiet and Tran Hung Dao. Either he himself hasnââ‚¬â„¢t studied carefully, or doesnââ‚¬â„¢t have the time to prepare valuable history lessons, I donââ‚¬â„¢t know.
I could see how difficult it was for my daughter to memorize the names of those heroes, because she knows nothing about them aside from the historical events listed in her notes in a dry manner.
The teacher is young and I think he should collect several legends about Vietnamââ‚¬â„¢s historical characters, download their pictures from the Internet and make his class more lively, unless he doesnââ‚¬â„¢t want his students to love the subject he is teaching and agrees that history is trivial.
By Hong Cuc
Adults should let children know history is important
I donââ‚¬â„¢t blame our children for not understanding our history, but I do feel sad about the fact. Itââ‚¬â„¢s not their fault, itââ‚¬â„¢s ours.
Adults teach them to look down on history by paying more attention to other subjects such as literature, math, science and foreign languages.
We have recently hung colorful banners about historical characters next to advertisements on the street. But at first glance, they look only like product ads, so we donââ‚¬â„¢t pay attention. Why donââ‚¬â„¢t we put up boards about historical figures near bus stations, parks or schools on streets that bear the charactersââ‚¬â„¢ names? These are places where people will actually stop to read the banners about our favorite heroes.
I donââ‚¬â„¢t think that young people are turning their back on history. Letââ‚¬â„¢s have history be taught with care and respect to make young people value their past. Letââ‚¬â„¢s let the love and pride for our history flow in every Vietnamese people.
By Elvis Nguyen*
* The writer is an overseas Vietnamese architect
Exam pressure dries up history lessons
I myself want history to become our childrenââ‚¬â„¢s favorite subject. But we canââ‚¬â„¢t blame the teachers, whether they are MA-holders, professors or anything else. The ââ‚¬Å“dryââ‚¬ lessons are what the kids need to pass tests designed by city/provincial education departments and the college entrance exam designed by the Ministry of Education and Training.
By Nguyen Doan Hung*
* The writer is a history teacher