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Vietnamese teaching methods foster passive learning

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Vietnam’s universities attach importance to students studying in an active and creative way, but many students are not self-motivated and do not learn independently. 

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Vietnamese universities attach much importance to students studying in a creative way

At a meeting with Vietnamese students, Prof Ngo Bao Chau, a renowned Vietnamese mathematician, and a Field Medal winner, said learning methods determine the progress learners can make.

As a university lecturer at the University of Chicago, Chau said the number of math study hours of American students when entering university are lower than Vietnamese students, but are higher after three to four years of studying at university. Chau thinks the teaching method being applied at many Vietnamese universities is to blame.

For many years, Vietnamese students, both at grammar schools and universities, have been receiving knowledge from teachers in a passive way, i.e., teachers provide information and knowledge, while students write the information down on their books. 

For many years, Vietnamese students, both at grammar schools and universities, have been receiving knowledge from teachers in a passive way, i.e., teachers provide information and knowledge, while students write the information down on their books. 

At exams, students just need to show examiners how they understand the knowledge they receive from teachers. As a university lecturer in Hanoi commented, independent study skills need to be practiced by students when they are at grammar school.

However, with the current teaching method, students are passive learners. In the context of global integration, some universities, especially private, have changed their teaching technology, applying a learner-centered method.  The university lecturer said that a credit-based training program has been applied at some universities and junior colleges for the last five years instead of an academic year-based program.

“The philosophy underlying the credit-based training is to personalize learning to maximize students` self-learning and creative thinking,” he explained. “This allows students to study in accordance with their own abilities and conditions. In other words, students need to be active and independent from lecturers,” he added.

A study on “self-learning” skills of Vinh University’s Education Management majors carried out by Ho Thi Hoai in 2017 found that 94 percent of students (47/50) were aware of the importance of self-learning in the credit-based training program, but only 40 percent (20/50) were eager to study. 

And 74 percent of students only study before exam days. In related news, the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) is drafting the Law on Higher Education. Under the draft law, universities to make decisions on their syllabus, human resources and financial plans, i.e they are free to define their missions and development path.

Nam Thanh

Source: VietNamNet

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