Culture Corner

By Phuong Thanh (Mint) Pham | Posted: Monday November 3, 2014

What our students think teachers should know about Vietnamese Students. Phuong Thanh (Mint) Pham compares education in New Zealand and Vietnam.

There are a lot of differences between studying in New Zealand and in Vietnam. In Vietnam I studied at a private school that included primary and secondary students. Here my school is a public school for students from Year 9 to Year 13. In Vietnam the class size is bigger and students have to clean their classroom after school. This is important because we have lunch together during the day at a big table and then afterwards we sleep for an hour on mats in the classroom. I think it makes us more energetic, but I find it hard to wake up.

Each period the teachers have to come to our class to teach, rather than us going to other classrooms, but here the students change classrooms. In the classes here people can sit anywhere they want. It’s quite cool because in Vietnam we have to sit in one place and stick to that place.

The rules are different too. If we use mobile phones in Vietnam, we have to go to the office. We can’t use them, but here we can use the phone as a dictionary or to look up information. 

We cannot talk in class in Vietnam and have to be very quiet to listen to the teacher, but this is quite boring. Here I feel more comfortable when I study because I can sit anywhere I want, use the phone to search for information and we are more independent and can help each other rather than just asking the teacher. It makes it easier to study.

The teachers in New Zealand are more enthusiastic, but teachers in Vietnam have other ways to make their students focus on their work.

I prefer the New Zealand teaching style because I feel excited in every class and the way they teach makes me more independent.

In Vietnam, we have to learn 13 different subjects, compared to six here, and we don’t have the option to choose any subject that we like. Subjects are very difficult and we have a lot of tests and exams, for example at the beginning of the class or a 15-minute test to revise all we’ve learned.

Kiwi students are very independent, outgoing and very passionate about their subjects, but sometimes they are not very serious during their classes. Vietnamese students are tired of the subjects, but work very hard and work together.

We wear uniform but the difference between New Zealand and Vietnam is that girls have the option of wearing kilts or trousers. And we just wear a jacket on special occasions. We can wear any shoes or colours that we want, but we have to wear white blouses and dark trousers. 

In Vietnam we don’t have many sports, just P.E. but we have a lot of activities and performances, so students can show their talents.

I have just come back from a school trip to Lake Tekapo with my school here. The place was so beautiful and I loved the sunrise. In school in Vietnam they don’t have overnight trips like this so it was very special for me.

Phuong Thanh (Mint) Pham is a Year 12 student at Logan Park High School in Dunedin. She comes from Hanoi in Vietnam.   

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