Changes to teaching methods in Ho Chi Minh City have achieved positive results in both teaching and learning and helped to develop students’ creativity.
Nguyen Tran Quynh Phuong (right, first), a chemistry teacher at Nguyen Huu Huan High School, Thu Duc District, and her students show off some of the paper and hand-made souvenirs made from bagasse
Nguyen Tran Quynh Phuong, a chemistry teacher at Nguyen Huu Huan High School, Thu Duc district, has chosen the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) educational method to teach her students in recent years.
She said the method helped equip her students with knowledge and skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and apply the lessons in practice.
Accordingly, she designs 1-2 lessons for each class, and often uses the topic of recycling for her lessons.
Phuong said she had been teaching for nine years. In the first five years, she only used traditional teaching methods, so her students often complained the lessons were boring.
As a result she tried using the STEM method to engage her students during the lessons and inspire their creativity, she added.
The knowledge they learn can be applied in different areas.
For example, in 10th grade, the students did not know how to manufacture certain products, but they did have very good ideas, she said.
However, teachers could continue guiding them in later grades so they could develop their ideas into making a product, she said.
“The students' creativity is unlimited. Just give them the opportunity and they can do things that we could never imagine”, she said.
When teachers changed their teaching methods, they could see the change in students, she said.
Recently, she and her students carried out a project to produce paper and handmade souvenirs from bagasse. The project was awarded first prize in the “Students with start-up ideas in 2020” contest by the city’s Education and Training Department.
The idea for the project came from Luong Tam Nhu, a student in grade 12A6.
Two years ago, when she was in one of Phuong's STEM lessons on recycled products, Nhu observed that bagasse was often disposed of by incineration, adversely affecting the environment and people's health.
After the lesson, Nhu came up with an idea to take advantage of bagasse to make paper and handmade products.
The idea was realised with support from Phuong and a team of students from the school. Some 500 products such as paintings, notebooks, calendars and cup holders made from bagasse sold out when the team presented them at exhibitions and fairs in the city.
Nhu said she could learn how to apply theory into practice through the STEM lessons.
“Chemistry is no longer “dry” knowledge. It inspires us to apply the knowledge we’ve learned into practice and make products,” she said.
Besides, we also learned a lot of other skills like teamwork, market analysis and product promotion, she added.
Many schools in the city have encouraged their teachers to change their methods to inspire creativity among students.
Cao Xuan Hung, vice principal of Ky Dong Primary School, District 3, said the school always encouraged their teachers to actively seek and change their teaching methods to inspire more creativity among students.
Pham Thai Ho, principal of Cu Chinh Lan Secondary School, Binh Thanh district, said the school often organised training courses for its teachers to improve their professional skills and share effective teaching methods.
Le Hong Son, director of the city’s Education and Training Department, said teachers and managerial officers were the decisive factors for the successful implementation of educational reforms and projects, meeting the demand for high-quality human resources in the city.
The city’s education sector would hold training courses for over 90,000 teachers and managerial officers to encourage creative thinking and effective teaching methods by 2025, he said.
Vice chairman of the city's People’s Committee Duong Anh Duc said teachers in the city needed to be equipped with more skills and modern teaching methods to show students how to self-learn like their peers in the region and around the world.
This would be a key factor in determining the success of educational reforms, he said.