VietNamNet Bridge – History teachers still cannot create passion for learning history among students. History is not the subject which is highly appreciated at general schools. Meanwhile, history textbooks still show some problems which need to be designed in a new way in order to encourage students’ thoughts and creativeness.
History called a “school killer”
Low quality of teaching history, why?
Vietnamese students not really bad at history
Professor Dinh Xuan Lam
These are the opinions of Professor Dinh Xuan Lam, a historian, who is called one of the four “pillars” of Vietnamese modern history together with Professor Phan Huy Le, Professor Ha Van Tuan and Professor Tran Quoc Vuong. In a recent interview given to Dan tri newspaper, Professor Dinh Xuan Lam called for a new vision in studying and teaching history.
Dan tri: Could you please tell us about the current method of learning and teaching history?
Dinh Xuan Lam: I think that history teachers cannot meet the requirements in teaching, because they still cannot create a passion for learning history among students. They cannot generate a “high tide” in historical studies, because the teachers themselves do not promote research.
I think that it is necessary to make changes in the way history textbooks are compiled. Textbooks should not be too heavy with events and facts, while they need to encourage students to think and show their creativeness.
A lot of mistakes in history textbooks have been found. The names of places is an example. When I taught about the Hoang Hoa Tham uprising, I noted that the textbooks stated that “Huu Nhue” was the big battle between Hoang Hoa Tham’s insurgent army and French army. However, researchers later found that the name “Huu Nhue” never existed. When I came to Bac Giang province, old men also told me that such a place did not exist. We have discovered that the real name of the battle was “Ho Chuoi.”
We once had a wrong view on some events and personalities. For example, Ton That Thuyet was once considered a bad element, but we have found documents that show he struggled against the French army. The textbooks need to integrate these findings.
Dan tri: Many teachers say they have difficulty teaching students, because they lack a passion for learning history. What do you think?
Lam: I once attended a big conference on textbook compilation, where I stated that in order to improve the training quality, it is necessary to upgrade the qualifications of general school teachers.
At present, teachers simply provide knowledge to students as required by the curriculum. Yet they should not only provide knowledge, but they should also be researchers.
We need to upgrade the qualifications of those following an older way of teaching. Teachers need to conduct research and understand the issues they teach. Especially, teachers need to make students interested in learning history.
Dan tri: A problem now is that students do not like studying history and social sciences in general. Do you think that this is a big concern?
Lam: I think that this will do harm to society. In general, social sciences can train people and help create the personality of people. Therefore, it is necessary to attach importance to social sciences instead of focusing on just natural sciences.
I know that, currently, parents want their children to study natural sciences, because it is difficult to find good jobs in the social sciences. This is a hard pressure on students and their parents. President Ho Chi Minh once said: “Vietnamese people need to well understand Vietnamese history.”
Source: Dan tri
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