Vietnamese students fed up with literature lessons

VietNamNet Bridge – General school teachers have admitted that literature lessons do not appeal to their students.

A photo published in a local newspaper in April of last year drove this issue home to the public. Tens of students, upon learning that they would not have to take the history exam, are seen tearing up their history textbooks and throwing papers into the air in the school’s yard.

History is always a boring subject for Vietnamese students. This explained why they were so happy to say “farewell” to it.

Vietnamese students do not tear literature textbooks. This is not because they love the subject, but because literature is a compulsory exam subject.

Students sick of literature – who’s to blame?

literature, students, literature lessons

If literature were an optional subject like history, students would tear up their literature textbooks just as quickly. So says Professor Chu Van Son of Hanoi Education University. Son, who has been working as a literary lecturer for the last several decades, said he feels worried about the teaching of literature at general schools, and especially at the mountainous schools.

Today, thanks largely to personal computers and the interconnectedness brought by the internet, Vietnamese literature scholars are equipped with a deeper knowledge of their field than ever before. At the same time, students are more weary of the subject than ever.

A high school teacher in Hanoi noted that there was a time, not so long ago, when literature was virtually equated with entertainment and intellectual stimulation.

Now, however, people have so many more choices to satisfy their demand for entertainment, rather than just literary works. The fast rise of audio and video technologies, not to mention the many forms of online entertainment, has led to a withering of people’s appetite for literature.

Son suggests that people nowadays are “more practical”, which explains why they have lost interest in literature, a subject which is simply “not practical enough”.

“A lot of my colleagues do not want their children to follow them in the study of literature,” Son lamented. “They want their children to study economics, which promises better job promotion and higher income”.

What to do to help students love literature lessons?

Though accepting that the realities of modern life have affected the habits and passions of people and students, Son stressed that it is primarily bad teaching that makes students tire of literature lessons.

The above-said high school teacher agrees with Son, saying that students still read the literary works they like, and only dislike the literature lessons at schools and the literary works they are told to learn. The teacher said she places high hopes in the Ministry of Education and Training’s latest decision on renovating the method of assessing students’ literary abilities.

With the new method, “open” questions would be raised so that students can express their viewpoints on various issues and express their creativeness. Those students whose strength is only in rote learning will find themselves at a disadvantage in answering the questions.

However, Professor Son said that, while he is certain the renovation will help better appraise students’ abilities, he is less convinced that it will help them love their literarature lessons.


literature, students, literature lessons