What's Next After the Renovation of the Subject Wellbeing?



Among 21st century skills that humans need to thrive, more than half of them are human and social skills. To answer that growing need of a more holistic program, renovation of Vietnamese national curricula and introduction of various international ones are offered to promote students’ emotional and social skills as well as other life skills. The new line of textbooks for the subject “Đạo Đức” following the Circular number 32 issued by the Minister of Education and Training in Vietnam is the quintessential change.


While it is such an encouraging step for the education of our students in Vietnam, it would pose considerable challenges for school leaders and educators all over the country in how to implement the programs effectively.


 

Modern approaches

Wellbeing or a similar version in the Vietnamese national program called “Đạo Đức” is not new. However, the content is now rebuilt to incorporate research-based elements such as comprehensible themes on self, relationships; the lesson structure or hands-on projects, etc. As always, changes that are this tremendous will create a domino effect that requires all parties involved to follow through.





 

Everyone plays a role


School leaders should provide comprehensive and routine training to keep their current teachers up to speed. However, schools might be slow to put a PD plan into effect due to the limited number of experts in the country as well as the cost to build and maintain such a training program. Teachers on top of dealing with pressures from parents and school to make sure students perform well in other prioritized subjects such as Math, English, literature, etc. will have to simultaneously adapt to the new program as well as keep up with new teaching approaches.


Responsibility will also fall on the shoulders of university leaders. Increased demand for qualified teachers for the subject will push for an upgrade of the teacher training program. If universities fail to provide sufficient competent teachers, it creates a gap in the market and puts even more pressure on the schools.


Parents’ mindsets also play an important part in this equation. Compared to other subjects such as mathematics or English as the second language; Wellbeing is a more qualitative subject in which the outcome is not easily visible and it is also not yet considered a key subject to learn in Vietnam. Therefore, it is essential to get parents on board on the necessity of this subject and how it benefits their children through their whole life.


Finally, the outcome of the subject is complicated for schools and educators to assess. Take for example a lesson on kindness: we can teach children to chant and memorize qualities like “Being kind to others.” However, what we want to achieve is them demonstrating the quality, not just in the classroom setting but also outside of it. That is what leaders and teachers will have to be aware of when designing assessments.


 

At the end of the day, though the path ahead is teeming with obstacles, we can be hopeful for a brighter future for our kids as we know we are on the right one.