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Feb 08, 2024 / 07:26

No homework for students over Tet: New thinking for greater efficiency

The general view is to assign a reasonable amount of homework to help schoolchildren have a cool holiday while encouraging them to learn more about traditional values.

“Students should have a relaxed holiday during Tet amid the tense curricula at school to be more efficient when they return after the celebration.” 

Nguyen Thi Hong, Headmistress of Vietnam International School (VIS) in Ha Dong District, Hanoi, said ahead of the week-long break to celebrate Tet [the Lunar New Year], the most important holiday in Vietnam.

 Pupils at Vietnam International School (VIS) in an art performance to celebrate Tet

This Tet, schoolchildren will have between 13 and 16 days off from February 5 [the 26th day of the 12th Lunar month] depending on schools.      

The headmistress’ viewpoint has recently been welcomed by a number of parents who support a worry-free break for their children after pressured curricula from both at school and extra classes. 

As Tet approaches, Nguyen Thi Hong’s stance have received positive reactions from a wide range of people, who are students, parents, educators, and other stakeholders as her idea imply that children can have a good period of time to enjoy the longest break without worrying about homework assigned by teachers before they start the holiday. 

“We advocate an assignment-free holiday as we do not want our students to be burdened with homework or bothered with exercises to ensure that they have a comfortable break and then have motivation for the return,” she shared with The Hanoi Times. 

Nguyen Thi Hong said Tet offers students a chance to relax and spend time with their families. For that reason, the first should be free and easy, which means a lot to them when they return to school after the holiday. 

The headmistress believed that a good break would result in effective learning and teaching for both students and teachers at VIS, the inter-level center of learning that upholds the stance of free-assignment Tet holiday.

 A background of Tet decorations at VIS.

Sharing the same view, Nguyen Xuan Khang, Headmaster of Marrie Curie School in Hanoi, said Tet is the time for students to enjoy and reunite with their families. This year, he repeated the promise he made more than 10 years ago that teachers would not assign homework. 

Mixed viewpoints 

Opinions remain divided on giving students homework during Tet. A common belief among educators and parents is that if students are allowed to play excessively during Tet, they will neglect their schoolwork. Since studying is their primary duty, kids must always have this mindset. 

According to some teachers, students now study for two sessions and retain a lot of information. Therefore, if they don’t review frequently, they risk forgetting what they have learned while the school’s teaching and learning budget is fully utilized. 

Some schools supported the principals’ views, while others did not. In the latest move, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training sent message to schools across the city asking them to fully respect the Tet holiday of no homework. 

Many educational specialists said that learning is not just about studying but also about students’ overall development. Students should take time to relax, visit grandparents and other family members, and engage in other communication-related activities during Tet. They believed that celebrating Tet and playing during that time would help students get to learn more about traditional cultures.  

They said that since students would only be out of school for roughly a week and schools should review their lesson plans and deadlines so that students don’t have to do homework over the Tet holiday. Meanwhile, the post-Tet school schedule should give teachers extra time to review difficult subjects for students.

 Tran Bao Nam, a pupil in Class 3V03 at Victoria Thang Long Primary and Secondary School, is eager to welcome Tet.

Tran Bao Nam, a pupil in Class 3V03 at Victoria Thang Long Primary and Secondary School, Thanh Oai District, Hanoi, said he is looking forward Tet as it’s the time he is allowed to play some kid games on iPad, to visit  his grandparents, play with his cousins and some of his best friends. 

“I’m counting the days until Tet when my mom will give me nice traditional dress and I can get lucky money from adults. Tet is the best time because I can do less homework,” Nam told The Hanoi Times, explaining that he’s happy with the few exercises his teachers give him on Tet. "I feel no burden at all when doing homework for Tet holiday and I can do it quickly to welcome Tet," Nam said in excitement when showing his complete assignment. 

Pham Kieu Linh, a 12th-grader at Vietnam International School (VIS), said she felt released with the upcoming traditional holiday as she will have some time to free her mind from exercises and enjoy music from vinyl records that her dad gave her as Tet gifts. 

But she would not spend the whole holiday on celebrating Tet. “I need to do some maths and English homework, especially I want to take this occasion to draw since it will help me in my next entrance exam,” Linh said. 

Meanwhile, Trinh Trang Anh, a 12th grade student at VIS, said she is eager to celebrate Tet as it’s an opportunity to visit her hometown in the northern province of Thai Binh, about 100 km from Hanoi. 

“As my hometown is far from Hanoi, my family usually takes some time during Tet holiday to visit relatives and celebrate traditional customs and activities held in my village. I expect  little homework to avoid the burden of Tet and it helps me to be well-prepared before returning to school,” Trang Anh talked with The Hanoi Times. 

In a different expression, Tran Minh Chau, Class 11A3, Phenikaa Inter-level School, said she feels exhausted with a pile of homework assigned for Tet. “I have to do a lot more exercises during Tet than usual as my teachers argued that the holiday is an occasion the students have more time for doing homework,” Chau told The Hanoi Times with a sigh. Her teachers said the heavy workload was to prepare students for some exams after Tet. 

From perspective of a mother, Kieu Thi Anh said she supports a relaxed Tet for children since they have time for family reunions after a year and explore the traditional customs that have lasted for generations. However, some homework is necessary for children to review their lessons and prepare for the new ones. “Some suitable homework assignment is helpful for children to remind them of their learning duty and make them ready for the return to school,” Anh spoke with The Hanoi Times. 

Sharing with The Hanoi Times, Nguyen Van Thang, a teacher at Quang Trung Secondary School, believed that some homework for Tet holiday is good for children if the topics inspire them to apply knowledge for practical lessons or encourage them to express their emotions and comment on the traditional holiday or produce some creative items, such as taking photos, recording videos, writing poems, among others. 

Opinions differ on what pupils should do during the longest and most significant holiday. However, the general idea is to provide them with a carefree break in which they can explore and enjoy customs while encouraging them to socialize with others by giving them appropriate homework assignments.

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