I want one to take home!

Trip Start Jul 24, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
209 Doi Can

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, November 5, 2009

I've been teaching here now for just over a month at a language school called May School and although the school is great I know that I need a change from teaching when I get back. Even though it is a language school (so not a school that the children attend during the day and therefore different) you can begin to see how their education system works.It is after seeing school's in the Caribbean and here that I believe a country's education
system is a useful tool with which you can begin to understand how it operates.

I have taught classes with children ranging from 4-13. The youngest
class as called Fingerprints and for this age group it would be their first time in
such a formal environment, in the UK it is the equivalent to nursery
before starting school. An interesting experience as I have had to suppress my UK
practice and become part of a very different approach. They are in
class for 1.5 hours where it is much more and in out
first lesson we had to focus on 'sitting nicely' as they spend a
majority of their time on chairs listening. It did feel uncomfortable
to watch and effectively teach this. I did wonder how their social
and physical skills that we place so much emphasis on in the UK would
have a chance to flourish in a classroom that mirrored a waiting
This weeks lesson with them was focusing on being able to tell
your family that you love them (super sweet!) and consequently
involved them colouring in a picture, cutting out a heart and then
giving to a family member. I knew that if this was a task for a
pre-school class in England it would be a big ask as it was a lot of
fine motor work. The class all got out their pencils without a fuss
and to my amazement most of this class of 4 yr olds coloured their
heart in and were able to use scissors to cut out the heart. In my
experience, it looked like 7yr olds had produced them. One little boy
(who was just 4) not only did his but then turned to the girl next to
him and showed her how to cut the heart out which she then did
beautifully. It was then as I looked at this class and felt ashamed at the skills that some of our children are coming to school
with. These children had been in a classroom 5 times and were already
completing activities of the quality of an older child in the UK.
Why? Their parents are doing a responsible job that's why. It's when
you see a baby being held and cared for by his Grandad instead of a
nanny or children hanging out after school until late or observe them in a
coffee shop confidently go up to another child and play as their
parents have their ca fe sua da that you see how much society and family play in equiping children with the skills they need to function successfully, responsibily and independently in life.  I know so many parents/friends who have done and are doing wonders but in my opinion I think we can all learn from other cultures and use it to see ours with fresh eyes. Much like the anthropological idea that we can only truly begin to undertsand our own culture when we have got to know others.

The schools in Vietnam are much stricter, there is no accomodating special needs. for example in school if you are left handed you would get wacked on the hand  and told to change (sorry K!), the class sizes are big (40-60) and creativity is promoted less. Despite this they just have a 'can do' attitude which is so refreshing and just get on with learning what they have to learn. Don't get me wrong there are a few monkeys!!

All in all I have not regretted teaching here and have used it to learn about the people and find out what makes them tick.

There is a picture at the end of this entry that I just put in because I couldn't wait to share it with you all. I want to take him home!!! His Grandad wouldn't let him go funnily enough!

V xxxx

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kateeh on

I have just done soem work with Y2, cutting stuff out. Sweet Beejesus, it was painful. Tess is getting scissors for Christmas.

vanessa5694 on

You are a good woman. You are saving some teacher's sanity in that very act!!!

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