University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU Hanoi

Two seminars – One direction

For over a month, the Faculty of Vietnamese Studies and Language, with the Division of Literature as its key member, organized two seminars with the participation of many experts, scientists and leading educators. It focused on the innovation of teaching contents and methods in teaching Vietnamese literature, a minor under the undergraduate program in Vietnamese studies. The seminars raised many issues from small questions such as the works and authors that need to be taught to general ideas such as whether subject or genre should receive more focus, or whether Vietnamese cultural foundation and the traditional way of teaching literature should be focused on more. The challenge of creating a complete and effective bachelor's program in Vietnamese studies through intensive modules has attracted many experts, scientists and teachers who came from prestigious research units.
Two seminars – One direction

At the first seminar (October, 2015), the main theme taken by Faculty of Vietnamese Studies and Language was the development of programs and the innovation of teaching contents and methods concerning Vietnamese folk literature and Vietnamese medieval literature. The participants, including Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Huu Son and Dr. Bui Thi Thien Thai from Vietnam Institute of Literature and Assoc.Prof.Dr Duong Tuan Anh from Hanoi National University of Education and Assoc.Prof.Dr Tran Nho Thin and lecturer Nguyen Hung Vi from USSH, VNU, shared a common recommendation to reform the approaches to Vietnamese literature for students majoring Vietnamese Studies. Accordingly, the priority given to gender-humanity-tradition and modernity- history-culture is taken as a motto in choosing materials and designing textbooks for the above modules. The important requirement is to avoid teaching Vietnamese literature in a purely theoretical way but to take a more career-oriented approach. Which genres of Vietnamese folk literature (proverbs, legends, jokes and tales, folk songs) were to be introduced was another highlighted debate.

At the second seminar (November, 2015), teachers and professors discussed two continuing modules, namely Vietnamese Modern Literature and Introduction to Vietnam Literature. Many straightforward, frank and bold comments were raised by literary professors during the discussions, creating a pedagogic and academic atmosphere. Dr. Pham Xuan Thach  (Dean of the Faculty of Literature, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU) proposed a better approach to literary studies that combined music and movie instead of the "narrow" approach based purely on literary texts. He also emphasized the standards based on which to choose representative Vietnamese works and authors. Assoc. Prof. Li Hoai Thu, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Ba Thanh and lecturer Bui Viet Thang focused on the academic aspects and pedagogical standards required of teaching Vietnamese Studies. Meanwhile, Assoc. Prof. Pham Thanh Hung (Faculty of Literature, University of Social Sciences and Humanities), Dr. Nguyen Duc Mau and Dr. Do Hai Ninh (Institute of Literature) paid more attention to the originality of teaching methods that breaks with archaic ways, emphasizing productivity and independent thinking of students majoring Vietnamese literature under the perspectives of area and cultural studies. Mr. Pham Xuan Nguyen reminded other participants of the need for clear periodization and the international element of teaching literature.

The seminars cultivated a genuine academic atmosphere through various discussions and suggestions on the development of training programs and the necessity of a Vietnamese Literature Textbook for undergraduates. "Referendums" among the community such as this seminar signal a vigorous transformation of pedagogical thinking and the necessary human resources for fulfilling that thinking in a unified and efficient way.

Author: ussh

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