“In the process of educational transformation in Vietnam, implementing STEM lessons is an indispensable part, requiring teachers to update their knowledge regularly,” shared Dr. Ha Lam Son, Master of Physics, and an officer in the Secondary Education Department, Hanoi Department of Education and Training.
Dr. Son is the 6th generation of his family to work in the field of education, and it has been part of him for as long as he can remember. Hence, for Mr. Son, education is not just a job; it is his life. With the rapid changes that have taken place over the past 30 years, regularly updating knowledge and retaining the spirit of learning, self-change and self-renewal have been critical.
During his career in education, Dr. Son has worked in general and specialized education, and student training, before becoming an expert in charge of general education at the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, working directly with schools and teachers. With each new environment, novel techniques need to be learned. Such as new tools and resources, updated scientific knowledge, and different teaching methods to maintain a high level of interaction between teachers and students. Mr. Son overcomes the challenge of education transformation by consistently dedicating his time to refresh his knowledge and takes a hands-on role in developing science classroom activities to explore the difficulties his colleagues may encounter while teaching. This is part of the student-centered approach that has helped Mr. Son quickly adapt to the transformation of STEM education since he was assigned to be in charge of STEM education at the department.
STEM education in Vietnam’s new general education curriculum is still developing. Awareness of STEM education and how to create and teach lesson plans remains challenging for school teachers. As teachers have different perceptions, there remains a challenge in implementing STEM lessons in schools, especially integrated and interdisciplinary lessons. The capacity building of teachers in developing lesson plans and building STEM education programs in schools in Vietnam is being prioritized by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET). The Technology Enhanced Learning Vietnam project implemented by Kenan and sponsored by the Boeing Corporation since 2018 has contributed to gradually improving and enhancing the knowledge and skills of teachers in STEM teaching and learning.
Dr. Son has been a positive influence on the teachers, as he understands the difficulties that schools, principals, as well as teachers face. This has been important in motivating and encouraging many teachers to confidently experiment and participate in the learning process transition to adapt more efficiently to STEM education.
“Teachers are very creative; they just sometimes lack confidence. I am always looking for teachers who possess a can-do attitude, dare to try and contribute to creating the best environment that fosters experiments.” – shared Dr. Son. That is also why, for him, collaborating with Kenan creates a “resonance” (or completeness), speaking in the language of physics, as it empowers him to grow his passion for STEM education. In the project Kenan is collaborating with the MoET to implement, Dr. Son, as a member of the Master teacher group, has reached out to many other educators who are also passionate about STEM Education, from global to local. While working in the Hanoi Department of Education and training (DoET), Dr. Son found teachers willing to change, inspire and suggest paths to progress their work. With the belief that education transformation only happens when teachers are confident in the knowledge they share with their students, Dr. Son and the master teachers are providing critical support to the Boeing Technology Enhanced Learning Vietnam project, jointly implemented by Kenan Foundation Asia and Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training.
Find out more about Kenan’s work to transform education at www.kenan-asia.org/21st-century-education