History teachers frustrated by recent developments of this subject in GET2018


Receiving the direction from the Prime Minister about teaching History at Senior High School level in the 2018 General Education Program (GET 2018), with both mandatory and optional sections, many teachers and educational managers have expressed their concerns on the feasibility as well as effective teaching methods for this important subject.

History teachers frustrated by recent developments of this subject in GET2018 ảnh 1 Students of Le Quy Don High School in District 3 of HCMC are participating in a History lesson under the form of a project.

History teacher Nguyen Ngoc Hung from Thanh Nhan High School (in Tan Phu District of Ho Chi Minh City) commented that restructuring History subject in GET2018 means retraining teachers, redeveloping textbooks, which is a waste of money and time when it is only 2 months until the beginning of the new school year.

He proposed that instead of erasing all efforts of writing new History textbooks for GET2018 in the last 3 years, based on the available framework, the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) should direct teachers to flexibly arrange history lessons depending on existing educational facilities, human resources, and specific features of each locality. The mandatory section could be retrieved from the core knowledge in the framework.

What is more important is the redesigning stage so that these lessons are more suitable for all kinds of students, be they in the social science or natural science groups. In-depth topics should be adapted in accordance with the receptive ability of students and the actual conditions of each school.

Head of the History group in Bui Thi Xuan High School (District 1 – HCMC) Pham Thi Bich Tuyen shared that the new History textbooks have been developed for social science students, and hence possessing quite in-depth knowledge. Now that the subject is asked to be taught to students of all groups, which means 3 periods a week, which subjects must have their periods reduced then? It is wiser to divide the knowledge in these textbooks into a core mandatory part for all students and an additional in-depth part for those choosing a history-related career in the future.

Another trouble comes from overlapping content among History and Geography or Civic Education subjects, making the content rather overloading. It is advisable that MoET gives instructions on reducing teaching load for the subject to better suit all kinds of students.

One important issue raised by parents and students is a direction for the exam content of History in the high school graduation exam. Changing from a subject for all to a subject for social science students only, requirements of exam paper writing are different. Now that it is reversed, these requirements need changing as well for a more synchrony between learning and testing.

The last illogical matter that is troubling Junior High teachers comes from the combination of History and Geography into one subject at this level. That leads to History teachers being forced to learn in a short time how to teach Geography and vice versa, which is highly ineffective. That is not to mention the difference in the testing format of History between Junior High and Senior High levels.

Educational managers and History teachers at Senior High level are now rather frustrated and uncomfortable about fast, unexpected developments of History teaching in GET2018 at this level. Receiving guidance on new points in GET2018, they have finished all plans and preparation for the new school year, but now have to wait for more directions from MoET due to this sudden change in History subject. An implementation from the following academic year seems more logical than doing it right this year.

By Thu Tam – Translated by Thanh Tam

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