Vietnamese parents protest handwriting competitions

VietNamNet Bridge – Both parents and educators believe that there’s no need to spend too much time for students to practice handwriting, saying that in the digital age, there are many other things they need to practice than handwriting.

A parent said that her niece, a secondary school student, has a very good handwriting, because she practiced this since she entered the first grade. However, this does more harm than good: since the student always tries to write painstakingly, she cannot take notes the teachers’ words.

Pham Thu Ha, whose child is a primary school student, also complained that she cannot see any benefits from the handwriting practicing, saying that her daughter is the “victim of the handwriting practice movement.”

“I wish that teachers spend less time on practicing students’ handwriting and spend more time on teaching them to write dictations with no grammar and spelling mistakes,” she said.

Ha said that the girl does not have good handwriting, therefore, she always has to write very carefully and slowly in order to please the teachers. Meanwhile, the slow handwriting has caused many problems to the girl.

Thu, a parent in Vinh Phuc province, noted that teachers nowadays seem to be too demanding on students’ handwriting. The teacher of her daughter asked parents to practice their children right in the summer before they went to the first grade.

“Now I see her practicing handwriting all day long. She practices writing right after she gets home after the school hours,” Thu complained.

“Sometimes she has to stay up late at night to fulfill the handwriting home exercises. She said if she did not practice writing everyday, the teacher would give bad marks and then would ask her to write again,” she added.

“What do our children need when they go to school? They need knowledge, skills and spirit for their future lives. Will they need good handwriting?” a parent named Dao questioned.

The parent said that what primary school students need to do is to have clear and easily recognizable handwriting.

Meanwhile, primary school teachers explained that they have to spend time to practice students’ handwriting, because they are requested to do so.

A director of a primary school in Hanoi said that the education sub-department always organizes a handwriting competition at the end of school year. Therefore, both teachers and students must prepare the most for the competition.

“We always have to prepare carefully for the competition, while the preparation lasts a year long,” she said, adding that the schools with low achievements would feel ashamed.

A teacher said that she always asks students to draft their compositions first and then rewrite the compositions on the official notebooks. This would allow keeping the notebooks clean and beautiful.

As a result, students have to work too hard, while teachers feel tired because they have to take care for the students’ handwriting all the time.

A student complained that she always has to stay at the class for 30 minutes more after the school hours so as to fulfill exercises, because the teachers requests to write very carefully. If she cannot fulfill the exercises after the 30 minutes, she would have to do it at home.

“Therefore, I nearly do not have free time to relax,” the student complained.

An educator, who is the author of the textbook in Vietnamese language for primary school students, said that her child was also asked by his teacher to practice writing regularly.

“He needed to write 32 lines a day. Later, since he complained that he suffered from backache, I decided to send him to another class, where the teacher was less demanding,” the educator said.

Vietnam, handwriting, competition, students, teaching method