VietNamNet Bridge – While parents believe that teachers should not spend time to practice handwriting for their children, educators have been insisting that this is a very important and necessary work to do.

Vietnamese parents protest handwriting competitions

A debate about whether to ask students to spend hours every day to practice writing has been raised after some parents complained that they children have got too tired of practicing writing as requested by the teachers.

Should Vietnamese students need to waste time on practicing writing, if handwriting will play no important role in their lives in the digital age, when they can “write” on computers, laptops or tablets?

It seems that this is not only the story of Vietnamese students, but in many other countries as well. A survey in the UK has found out that 1/3 of adult people said they have not written with their hands over the last half a year.

However, educators still believe that handwriting must not be disregarded, no matter which era people live in.

Headmaster of the Thanh Cong B Primary School in Ba Dinh district in Hanoi Pham Thi Yen, said Vietnamese ancestors had their reasons when saying “the handwriting of a person shows his behaviors.”

Practicing handwriting for students in Vietnam was once underestimated in the 1980s, when the country underwent an educational reform. However, later, the work has been resumed, because educators later realized that this is really an important work.

Yen went on to say that parents themselves would feel more secure when sending their children to the classes, where the teachers have good handwriting, because the teachers with good handwriting are all careful and preserving.

The Khuong Thuong Primary School in Dong Da district in Hanoi every year organizes a handwriting competition for both students and teachers. The awards for the prize winners are the textbooks or pens.

The school’s headmaster Nguyen Thi Xuan Lan believes that the school has been doing well when trying to practice writing for students.

“When students practice handwriting, they not only can practice technique, but they can also practice themselves to become careful and considerate,” Lan said.

“A person with good handwriting would be the person who has good logical thought and aesthetics,” she added.

The Ministry of Education and Training has not made any official statement about the current handwriting practice movement. However, the ministry’s officials all have affirmed on their behalf that practicing writing for primary school students is really a necessary thing.

Head of the Primary Education Sub-department of the Hanoi Education and Training Department, Pham Xuan Tien cited an example to prove the necessity of practicing handwriting for students.

“One day, I led small students to a military camp in an extracurricular lesson. The students were so surprised that the soldiers just needed some minutes to fold their blankets. At that time, they were explained that the soldiers had to practice this every day which helped them become skilful,” Tien said.

Prof Ho Ngoc Dai, a well-known educator, said the students need to practice writing from the first to the third grade. During that time, they need to practice the basic skills needed for their future lives. Practicing handwriting also means learning to become disciplinary and careful.

“It is true that we are living in a high technology age, where we have computers. However, it would be a blunder if we give up practicing handwriting for students,” Dai said.

Van Chung