VietNamNet Bridge – The compilers of literature textbooks have got puzzled when writing the lessons about “The tale of Tam and Cam” best known as the Vietnamese version of Cinderella. The problem is that they do not know what ending to choose for the fairy tale. Meanwhile, the textbooks give different endings.
Tam Cam for standard curriculum different from advanced curriculum
There exist two kinds of textbooks for high school students – the textbook compiled to serve the standard high school curriculum, and the other to serve the advanced curriculum.
Under the current regulations stipulated by the Ministry of Education and Training, the advanced curriculum must follow up the standard curriculum.
However, the “Story of Tam and Cam” tael has been related in two different ways in two different textbook for standard and advanced curriculums.
The last paragraph of “the Story of Tam and Cam” in the textbook for standard curriculum collected by Nguyen Dong Chi, a well-known folklore researcher, wrote: “Tam ordered servants to dig a deep hole and boil a pot of water. Then Tam told Cam to sit on the bottom of the hole, and ordered the servants to pour the boiled water into the hole. Cam died.”
Meanwhile, the last paragraph of the textbook for advanced curriculum, which refers to the tale collected by Chu Xuan Dien and Le Chi Que, wrote: “Following the advice of Tam, Cam requested servants to dig a deep hole and then sit at the bottom of the hole. After that she asked people to pour the boiled water into the hole. Cam died.”
The different endings in the two textbooks, according to researchers, give different understandings about the character of Tam, who is considered a kind-hearted girl and always had to struggle to survive the cunning designs of Cam.
Literature teachers of all high schools complain that with the two different endings for “The Story of Tam and Cam,” they find very difficult to give the lesson to students. They said that the different endings will lead to the students’ different ways of approaching to the tael.
“There must not be two Tams in the lesson. This leads to the inconsistent understanding, thus creating different ways of teaching and learning,” said Phan Thu Ngoc, a teacher of a high school in Hanoi said.
“Students whisper in each other’s ears that the teachers have misunderstanding, and that the correct information lies in the textbook for advanced curriculum. I really do not know how to explain to students,” another teacher said.
Cao Tran Luc, a student of the Kim Lien High School, said that he well understands that a fairy tale may have different variants. However, the compilers have to be inconsistent when writing textbooks. “What should we answer if we are asked about the “Story of Tam and Cam” at the final or the university entrance exams?” he questioned.
What does the textbook verification council say?
Explaining the difference in the textbook for standard and advanced curriculum, Professor Nguyen Minh Thuyet, Chair of the textbook verification council said that when checking the content of the two textbooks, the council asked the compilers to use the version of “The Story of Tam and Cam” collected by Chu Xuan Dien, a folklore researcher.
Thuyet said that the difference was only discovered when the textbooks were printed. “We report the mistake to the chief author of the textbooks and asked to fix the mistake, but to date, the mistake still exists,” he said.
He said that the variant provided by Professor Chu Xuan Dien has a reasonable ending that is suitable to the education demand, therefore, the council decided to choose the variant for the textbook for high school students.
Source: Giao duc Vietnam