Concerned about the spread of coronavirus, the Ministry of Education and Training has asked schools in Vietnam to temporarily suspend students. Therefore, online learning is the method applied by all schools. However, a big question for schools is how to ensure that the students still acquire the necessary knowledge and skills without direct guidance from teachers as well as interaction with classmates?
International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP), the high quality and prestigious international school in Ho Chi Minh City, has adjusted its teaching method creatively with the help of modern technology. The lessons are not only delivered in a unique way sent daily through technology applications, but teachers also apply many small “tips” to encourage students to learn. This helps students still gain a relative amount of knowledge and interaction, even though they are not in class to meet teachers and friends.
For preschool students, the encouragement of learning must be more subtle because the curriculum is based on the Reggio Emilia method, which means that knowledge is integrated into fun activities. Teachers will not judge based on scores and listen to each child’s aspirations and encourage him or her to go further to achieve higher results.
Every morning, instructional videos will be posted on the school’s Seesaw social network for students and parents. Then, teachers will encourage students and their parents to do it at home and send back the results with video or photos. The video sent out only guides the children to sow seeds at home. However, the results that the students sent back surprised the teachers. Some children send pictures of themselves making a paper house for pets, some children send videos of making sprouts from green beans. More specifically, some students did a little experiment, changing the color of roses by placing flowers in different colored water bottles.
When the results are obtained for the first time, they will be instructed to go one step further, to monitor and document the development of that living species. Then, teachers will skillfully explain to each child the knowledge of physics or chemistry based on their works.
Since the preschool children are young, the teachers are always monitoring closely to make sure all the children are watching the videos and submitting their assignments. If they see a student who is not accessing Seesaw or not posting, the teaching assistants will call parents to remind them. In addition, teachers also arrange for parents and children to book an appointment to chat directly with the teachers or friends to ‘study in a group’ via Google Meet or Skype. Therefore, through technology applications, students can still meet and interact with teachers and classmates online.
For primary school children, the amount of knowledge is more. They also have an important MAP test in May. Therefore, in addition to the school’s internal Seesaw social network, teachers make full use of applications of video chat such as Google Meet, Skype, or Zoom to keep them on track.
“Primary teachers are always online from 8.00 am to 3.30 pm on Google Meet so that students can present assignments and consult whenever needed.” Mr. Nathan Bennetts, primary school leader, explained how teachers support their students.
“Students are excited about this new way of learning as photo chat apps allow them to meet their classmates and teachers. There are some children who visit just to say hello because they miss school and their teachers.”
“Teachers arrange for the children to have a chat with pictures 3 times a day, at 10.00 am, 11.00 am and 1.30 pm so that teachers can provide deeper support for each student. In addition, at ISSP – popular international school in Ho Minh City, educators also use FlipGrid application so that children can share their feelings and thoughts via video with classmates and teachers. In that way, educators can promptly support students to develop not only intellectually but also emotionally.” Mr. Francis McShea, 3rd grade teacher shared.
When going back to school, all students from early years to primary will be re-tested according to the ‘process assessment’ and ‘summary assessment’ methods to review their knowledge and skills missing. After that, teachers will individually design appropriate lessons for each student to fill in the unsettled knowledge and skills. This helps them achieve good results in terms of assignments and get the necessary personality training.
Mr. Lester Stephens, principal of International School Saigon Pearl, the reliable Ho Chi Minh international school, commented: ‘ISSP always encourages students to be independent. Therefore, the past online learning process has been a great experience for students to improve their thinking, analytical, and problem-solving abilities. These will be necessary skills for them to easily step out into the world and integrate into life.”