Impressed by the “special” teaching style of a foreign teacher

Learning should go alongside practicing, teacher is the leader, guiding students to new knowledge… those are the highlights in Mr. Carl Halford’s teaching method in Cambridge International Programme (CIP) at JIS, and they help to engage his students in every lesson.


Discover the brain from something “familiar yet strange”
On the afternoon of August 29th, in the Biology Lab, 6th-grade students of CIP at Japan International School (JIS) had a practice session after the lesson on human brain called "What does the brain do?". This is an activity in the Science curriculum under the guidance of Mr. Carl Halford (British teacher) and supported by Ms. Ngo Tran Tam Dan (Homeroom teacher).

When first seeing the pig's brain, Pham Uyen Linh expressed her interest in exploring the brain from this strange object. Linh with her group wore glasses, masks, gloves, blouse and began to touch the skull. Initially gingerly touching something “familiar yet strange”, Linh's group slowly became bolder in separating the skull and cutting the film protecting the pig's brain with scissors.

Members of the other three groups also invested in this special leaning object and eagerly discussed each part of the brain. Students were very excited when they peeled the film protecting the  brain and saw each part of the cerebral hemisphere.

"I know more about the brain. The brain is protected by a hard-shell cranium, there is a protective film covering the brain and blood vessels feeding it, inside we have brain hemispheres and wrinkles. Today is very fun!", said Linh, and she added that visual learning helped them remember knowledge right in the classroom.

As we know, Mr. Carl prepared pig’s brain for each group of students. In the lesson about brain, he had students read books at home and answers questions such as: What are the parts of the brain, what are the functions of each part, what will happen when the brain is in trauma, how to deal with brain injury, etc.

At the end of the class, Mr. Carl and students together discussed matters relating to the brain, with emphasis on possible negative impacts on the brain and methods to protect it, and how to have a strong and high-functioning one.


At many schools in our country, students can only see the brain in textbooks and pictures. Students at JIS are experiencing it differently, with leaning goes alongside practicing. For the brain lesson, students were shown videos about the brain’s parts and the function of each part, then they had the chance to observe first-hand, to touch and feel those things. They even had extra exercise on the relationship between brain weight and body weight of each animal.

Collecting “garbage” to create an imitation human body

As someone who has worked in medical field, Mr. Carl has extensive knowledge of biology, especially human subjects. In addition, with the Cambridge International Programme that teach knowledge in real life, this foreign teacher has created innovative ways to keep students excited and engaged in each lesson.

During the lesson, Mr. Carl was the leader, raising issues concerning the content. The communication between teachers and students are in English, any student who did not understand can communicate in Vietnamese with the Support teacher. The atmosphere here was quite fun and exciting. Students were encouraged to give their answer without fear of being wrong.

Uyen Linh giving a presentation on the original imitation human body

Every week, 6th-grade students in CIP have 6 Biology lessons. In the lesson about human body organs, students were divided into four groups to make simulation pictures of human body parts such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, stomach … The special thing in these pictures is that the parts are made from throw-away things like bottles, rolls of toilet paper, balloons … and they are coloured by their imagination, accompanied by footnotes in English. People cannot take their eyes off these unique pictures when entering their classroom.

“Open” lesson help students relaxed and excited in asking questions without fear of being wrong.

According to Ms. Tam Dan, the next Biology lesson will be about fauna and flora. Students will be taken to JIS farm located in Thanh Cao commune, Thanh Oai district, Ha Noi to make reports on food chain they find there.

Video: Impressed by the "special" teaching style of a foreign teacher on VTC14 channel

Ngoc Khanh