Culture Culture

24/01/2023 - 07:22

Reading books in the middle of the heritage

From school year 2022-2023 onwards, local education is one of the seven compulsory educational subjects and activities applied to the upper secondary level.

Children from Phu Mau Primary School visit Nguyen Chi Dieu's memorial house

Reading books in the middle of the heritage

The principal of Tran Quoc Toan Primary School phoned to ask me to come and see the children enjoy reading in the middle of the heritage.

When I arrived at the vacant lot in front of Tam Toa (Three-building precinct), I was surprised to see many students reading books to learn about Hue heritage. The most creative is that the information was provided on palm-sized reading cards with selected contents and eye-catching design, making it attractive to young readers.

Lan Phuong, a grade 5 girl of Tran Quoc Toan primary school, said that she preferred reading on the cards to reading a thick book. She added that the information about Hue was so familiar and intelligible that she could confidently share what she read with her friends as a way to memorize the knowledge.

Recently, a friend of mine also proudly told me about her son’s visit to cultural and historical sites, such as the Memorial House of poet To Huu, the Memorial House of General Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ho Quyen - Voi Re royal coliseum and Thuy Bieu village… together with his Ly Thuong Kiet Primary schoolmates.

Before visiting the Memorial House of poet To Huu, the boy read the poems “Luom”, “Bam Oi”, “The sound of bamboo broom” … on the webpage of “Books and Dreams”. Therefore, when standing in the house that keeps the memorabilia associated with the life and writing career of poet To Huu, the children were very excited and proud.

The Phu Hai Primary School in Phu Vang district chose Phu Dien tower as the site for the children to experience reading within the cultural space of Hue. Before their arrival, the children were accessibly provided on the set of reading cards the information about Ancient Cham Tower of Phu Dien and other well-known sites in Phu Vang.

This is an opportunity for the students to make the most of their senses in absorb, process and then reproduce the information. Students also have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have learned to solve real-life problems in everyday life.

Dr. Tran Thi Quynh Nga, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Primary Education, University of Education (Hue University), emphasized that reading experience in Hue cultural space is a small project initiated by those who always aspire to spread the reading habit for children.

The novelty of the program is that it creates reading groups under 4 themes, namely, “Roads in Hue, “The river tells stories”, The story of a small garden” and “Following the folk songs”. The highlight of the programs is the tight connection among teachers, students and parents in reading and experience.

Flexible programs in local education

We had an opportunity to join a visit to the house of artisan Nguyen Hoa in Thanh Tien village. The children were led by their teacher Nguyen Thi My Nhung to experience making paper flowers. The year-end work kept him busy, but Mr. Hoa still gave the children a special welcome.

He prepared petals, flower branches and then enthusiastically showed the children how to apply glue, make a single flower, and then assemble the single flowers to the branches. He also introduced to the students the 300-year history of paper flowers and happily answered questions from the teacher and students.

Mr. Hoa said that his paper flowers workshop was glad to welcome tourists and students. He felt happy to work with active and skillful children. He hoped that the students would help to preserve and promote the value of this traditional craft.

Talking with us, Nguyen Tu Khanh, the principal of Phu Mau 1 Primary School, was proud of Phu Mau with villages of Thanh Tien paper flowers Tien Non fresh flowers, and Sinh village's paintings and festivals. However, Mr. Khanh was concerned that not all students of the school know and understand the value of these "specialties" of their homeland.

He said that they passed and saw the relics or landscapes every day without knowing what they were. According to Mr. Khanh, many students in Lai Tan village, the resettlement area of the commune, did not know that their hometown had a paper flower craft village or an area commemorating the famous comrade Nguyen Chi Dieu, although they were just a few kilometers away.

The new general education curriculum for the upper secondary level, which was effective from the school year 2022 – 2023, has made local education as one of the seven compulsory education subjects and activities, accounting for 20% of whole content and is the core program. Although it has been prepared quite carefully, the determination of the equivalent content of local education to other subjects is still a pressure to schools in Thua Thien Hue.

The innovation of the curriculum and textbooks once again affirms the importance of the objectives of education of local culture through subjects, especially through vivid and engaging experiential activities, said Ms. Dao Thi Huong, Vice Principal of Phu Hai Primary School (Phu Vang).

Thua Thien Hue with its poetic nature, ancient tombs, temples and rich culture are favorable conditions for designing and organizing experiential activities that help students discover the beauty of the landscape and environment, as well as the cultural values expressed through poetry, folk games or a rich combination of traditional craft village products.

According to Mr. Nguyen Tan, Director of the Department of Education and Training, there is a need of the cooperation of the people and the parents to bring about a comprehensive education effect. Developing a student-oriented program requires focusing on training teachers who are able to inculcate and shape students’ understanding of the local culture. The local education program is not meant to promulgate the provincial ideas and beliefs, but it needs practical lessons. Schools should aim to integrate subjects in local education.

Story and photo: Hue Thu