What is a “good learner”?

Vietnamese youth are “unruly” in the eyes of conservative people, who say they reject traditional values and do “not learn well”. 

Vietnam, OECD, international competitions

Hoang Huy, a student and author of an article titled “Five reasons for you not to try to learn too well” on VietNamNet, has raised a strong debate. 

According to Huy, Vietnamese parents are confident that children will be happy in their lives if they do well in school. Parents tend want children to learn hard to gain high achievements at school.

However, Huy believes the viewpoint does not fit with modern times.
In order to become a good learner in Vietnam, Huy said one has to spend most of free time studying – at school, at home and at extra classes. This means that students will not have free time for hobbies such as playing sports, doing physical practice and travel. 

Second, in order to become a good learner in Vietnam, one needs to be good at all learning subjects. Students do not have time to think about what they are best at and what they love the most.

“As a result, good students get high scores in all learning subjects, but they don’t have deep knowledge in any specific field,” Huy wrote.

A high school teacher in Hanoi, agreeing with Huy, noted that students nowadays tend to get bored because they have no specific interest.

“When I asked a student what he liked the most, the student replied that he did not know and he never thought about that,” the teacher said.

“This is because students’ heads have been filled with too much nonsense,” he commented.

Huy said in order to become a good learner in Vietnam, one needs to have deep knowledge in many different fields that may not be used in the future.

“Even though you do not intend to become an engineer, you will still need to learn derivatives,” Huy noted.

Being a good learner means that one needs to repeat exactly what teachers say. “Tam” must be a good person, while “Cam” must be bad (Tam and Cam are the two personalities in a Vietnamese fairy tale).

In order to study and learn well, he has no other friends except Facebook, computer and smartphone and doesn’t have time for entertainment and enjoy life, Huy wrote.

Vietnamese students rank high at international competitions, but in the eyes of parents, the Vietnamese educational system has problems.

“If referring to OECD’s ranking, Vietnamese students are very good and so is Vietnamese education. But why do Vietnamese parents still want to send their children to schools in Europe and the US, the countries which are below Vietnam in the ranking?” asked Nguyen Hoang Mai, a parent in Hanoi.

Ngan Thanh  (VietNamNet Bridge)

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