Vietnam Adventures - the full story

Posted 13 Sep 2017 11:30am

Vietnam Adventures

In June 2016 the Institute of Professional Learning and The University of Waikato collaborated on the provision of a professional development course for teachers and principals at Vinschool, Hanoi, Vietnam. Vinschool is a private schooling system that is rapidly expanding in Vietnam. As such it has its own curriculum and values. In contrast to our New Zealand curriculum where we have considerable freedom to design our schools and curricula, Vinschool teachers must integrate their newly developed Vinschool direction and the strict requirements of the national system. However, they are keen to learn new ways of teaching and learning and are eager to create modern learning environments where learners are at the centre and programmes are more tailored to learner needs and aspirations.

Andrea Ford and David Bradford developed a series of modules and workbooks for the principal course and Mary Jamieson and Helen Kato created a series of seven modules and workbooks for the teacher course.  Then in June 2016 they all headed off for a much warmer time of year in Hanoi. And it was definitely warm! 35 teachers and 35 principals from kindergarten, primary, junior high and senior high schools participated in the courses. The teachers had been identified by their employers as excellent teachers. They were very appreciative of the opportunity to work with the IPL and Ande, David, Mary and Helen quickly gained an understanding of the cultural and contextual differences between Vinschool and our New Zealand schools.

In November 2016, Andrea Ford and Mary Jamieson returned to Hanoi to complete a needs analysis for Vinschool and to visit classes of some of the teachers from the course. After discussions with Vinschool leadership, it was decided that the teacher course would be repeated and extended to include Ho Chi Minh City as well as Hanoi in July 2017. In addition to this, an action learning project that involved online support was designed to follow the face to face in-country modules. Vinschool are currently developing their own online learning platform and venturing down the train the trainer model of teacher professional development.

This July Mary Jamieson was accompanied by Leigh Hynes to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City where they facilitated the series of seven modules developed in 2016 for the teacher course. They spent 2 weeks in Hanoi and another 2 weeks in Ho Chi Minh City. A key feature of the course is the integration of facilitator modelling and the explicit explanation of deliberate acts of teaching. Having a better understanding of the context of Vinschool teachers certainly made it easier to revise and fine tune the course to better target areas of need.

The Vinschool teachers are an amazing group of dedicated people. They are diligent and work in a very demanding system. However, they are also fun loving and interested in the wider world. Vietnam is a country of contrasts, from the madly busy cities to the paddy fields and mountains. Their history of occupation by foreign nations is evident in its architecture and cuisine and there is a massive amount of building and development occurring. They are finding their place in the world and as such, they are looking to develop their children into lifelong learners and future problem-solvers, just like us.

Read more about the Vietnam adventure (including sight-seeing pictures) on our blog...