Future teachers “illiterate” in new educational thought

VietNamNet Bridge – While education experts urge to carry out an education reform and learn modern educational thoughts, pedagogical school students still do not know about education technology.

Three mathematics faculty’s students of a pedagogical university, when asked about the speech of Professor Ho Ngoc Dai, one of the most famous names in Vietnam’s education, said: “We do not know and we have not read any books of Professor Ho Ngoc Dai. We only read the textbook on psychology and education”.

The students said that after learning the subjects, they can remember the names of the professors who are the authors of the textbook, and some Russian names. Meanwhile, the textbook does not mention any other educational thought or pedagogical psychological research work.

Therefore, the name “Ho Ngoc Dai” remains unfamiliar even to pedagogical students. And John Dewey and J. J. Rousseau are also considered “unfamiliar concepts.”

“In fact, the subjects in psychology and education are not our major subjects, therefore, we are not really interested in them,” they explained.

The concepts of “teaching method” or “pedagogical skills” are understood by the students as the way to teach mathematics. One of the three students said they sometimes heard the stories about pedagogical cases, and that it would be easier to teach students if having good pedagogical skills. However, they believe that later, at their works, they would be able to better understand students and have better teaching method when they have more opportunities to communicate with students.

Moreover, the textbooks only show general knowledge, not the details about the teaching methods or the psychology.

Phuong Loan, a second year postgraduate in literature, could explain clearly why she does not know the famous names.

“I learn with the textbooks, and I read the textbooks the lecturers tell me to read. I only learn what is necessary that helps me pass the exams. I myself only much take care about my major,” Loan said.

VietNamNet’s reporters heard the same answers from some 20 other students of pedagogical schools. Finally, the reporters have been advised to talk with the students majoring in educational psychology, education studies or educational administration, because these students may better know about educational thought.

Le Van, a fourth year student of the education administration, said that she learned about the education technology of Professor Ho Ngoc Dai. However, she proves not to have deep knowledge about his ideas. Van also said that she was introduced about John Dewey, but admitted that she did not read his famous book in the Vietnamese version.

Hong Tham, a postgraduate student in pedagogical psychology, said that she read Dai’s books when she was at the university education level. However, she now does not read the books any more.

Le Thu, a student majoring in education studies, said she read many books of Dai and learned about the well known ideas. Thu expressed her worry about the knowledge students receive at schools. The knowledge is believed to be sourced from the former Soviet Union. Meanwhile, many major thoughts recognized by modern educators are from the west. However, the western thoughts are only mentioned in summary at some lessons.

Thu believes that this is one of the main reasons that make pedagogical school students “illiterate” in the ideas of the big educators, while students in psychology and education studies can learn about them, but do not go into details.

“If questions about the educators are raised at the exams, I am sure that students will know about them. However, the knowledge is not considered as important, therefore, students don’t care about that.”

Nha Uyen