Recently, in the International Schools of North America (SNA), learners of all grades have had a chance to join in an extraordinary book fair. Via such activities as new book introduction or book review, book lovers were able to express their feelings and display their own creativity. To further encourage the reading habit among students, SNA insert a 15-minute ‘dear time’ session in the regular learning timetable so that classmates can read books together and discuss their thoughts.
Another interesting activity of SNA is the arts project for high school students. After learning about the harmful effects of plastic waste to the ocean ecosystem, they drew paintings on school walls to raise people’s awareness of environment protection and to become more responsible to the community.
Similarly, in Vinschool Primary School (located in Binh Thanh District), first graders participated in the project ‘Learn to Serve’, where each member did their research, prepared a plan, and displayed their thoughts in the written form in a book called ‘Our Vinschool Book’. The product, which deeply touched parents’ heart, successfully demonstrated the love of students toward their school, their teachers, and other workers in Vinschool.
According to Dr. Huynh Cong Minh, former Director of the HCMC Department of Education and Training cum President of the Founding Board of EMASI School, most private schools aim at the activeness and autonomy of learners. They, therefore, encourage self-learning and researching. Teachers in these schools are meant to guide students rather than forcefully teaching, to form good habits rather than punishing bad actions. The result of these philosophies is that learners are more confident and innovative, with their own critical thinking.
Mr. N.T.N., a teacher in a private school sited in District 1, shared that many of his colleagues who used to be notable teachers in public schools encounter obstacles when joining in the new dynamic and harsh teaching environment here. Besides the longer working time until 6p.m., they have to endure higher competitiveness while their teaching ability are now evaluated more comprehensively via professional activities, relationship with colleagues, ability to fulfill a project, student and parent satisfaction.
However, he commented that despite such a severe working environment, several teachers have decided to remain here because they believe that this is the place where the excellent are truly appreciated.
Sharing the same stance, Mr. Kim Vinh Phuc, former Principal of Luong The Vinh High School in District 1 and current Principal of EMASI School, stated that activities in private schools are not restrained like in public ones. As a result, employees there have a heavier workload to help students develop fully, which is very rewarding. They can also make good use of modern technologies and equipment to save time and keep good interactions with students in their class and with learners’ parents as well.
In order to meet very challenging goals, almost all managers in private schools have to take good care of the infrastructure, to upgrade their professional knowledge, and to dare apply innovative solutions.
Lately, in many private schools, an educational advisory board responsible for forming learning curriculum and organizing training sessions for teachers has been established. Sadly, this division somehow still has not met the expectation yet.