Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc: “The school cares deeply about character education”

“Being bright and brilliant is good, but it is more important to have a good personality!”, that is the message anyone who comes to JIS will be able to see and they can understand better through witnessing lessons and activities of students in the school. On the occasion of the new school year 2018 – 2019, Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc – Chairman of the School Board recently had an interview in which he frankly shared the educational point of view that JIS is implementing.

Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc – Chairman of the School Board

Create a different environment

Parents have expressed their appreciation for educational achievements as well as unique characteristics of the school in the past school year. Please share the difference in teaching activity here?

Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc: Japanese International School (JIS) was established in 2016 with the core values lies in character education for students. To date, students have made remarkable progress in their academic results, discipline and behaviour during their studies at the school.

JIS students learn three languages: Vietnamese, English and Japanese. The difference is that teachers do not publish grades in front of students. Like the education system of developed countries in the world, we think that students, especially in primary schools, are vulnerable so we do not publish grades in front of the class. In class, all activities are fair to all members.

However, no grading does not mean that there is no test or examination. On the contrary, teachers regularly check with students to see how they are improving in learning languages and other subjects. The results will be discussed with parents to see their child's strengths and weaknesses, and how they can cooperate with the school to better support their children and help them meet the requirements.

With the results they gained in terms of knowledge acquisition and language development, the school appreciated the tremendous efforts of students and co-operation from parents.

So in your opinion, what are the differences in the teaching curriculum of Japan compared to that of Vietnam?

Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc: The curriculum for Moral Education is very well written, close to real life so students can learn easily. Mathematics is more difficult than it is in Vietnam but easy to understand. For example, students at the end of year 3 have studied numbers up to 10 million, year 4 learn 3-dimensional space and axis but in Vietnam, these are taught in year 10.

In all mathematical textbooks, we find that they have very clear ideas when writing: Everything starts with visualization, then summarizes into theory and is reinforced again through practicing, therefore, students learn quickly and understand the nature of the matter.

Another point is that knowledge is repeated in the following school years. This teaching style is like concentric circles, which becomes deeper and deeper through repeating, applying human memory rules so students do not have gaps in knowledge.

Do those differences make it difficult for teachers in their teaching?

Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc: The school is very interested in educating students’ character. I think it is daily work that shape human personality. Therefore, good deeds and actions need to be repeatedly trained to form habits, which gradually transform into each person's attributes.

We have to face many challenges. Take learning for example, when students in year 5 and 6 start here, it is more difficult to change their manners and discipline. International school’s curricula are thought to be light, but here the curriculum is quite heavy, especially when they are learning three languages. Students have to study hard, so teachers and parents are also working harder.

JIS has built 70 rules, which students have to follow and this will take much time to train them. Vietnamese students are indulged in parents’ care and protection, resulting in low independence and weak survival skills. At school, they have to have discipline. Therefore, the training must be very persistent, meticulous and step by step, it cannot be achieved overnight.

That is not to mention at home students may lose that habit. Educating a person first must start in family, then at school and ultimately in society. In our society, the discipline, manners and skills of students have not received much attention, so educating those are truly hard work.
For example, students should know to wash hands before eating and how to do that properly. When they are talking to someone, they should look into that person’s eyes to show respect and confidence in communication. Or what to do when waiting for the elevator or escalator, etc.
Even form small things such as serving rice of the new year 1 students who just finished kindergarten. From the very first day, the children assign 5 people among themselves to be on duty. They will serve rice to other classmates who are standing in line. Before eating, all say thanks to those who prepare the meal. After eating, they clean up after themselves. Therefore, the canteen still looks clean after hundreds of student finish lunch there.

Year 1 students assign among themselves to serve lunch to their classmates

Spread Japanese model of education widely

Last July, the school launched the Cambridge International Program (CIP). Why did the school choose to add this program?

Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc: From the beginning, we have decided to open the Cambridge programme. Japanese education is highly praised in terms of science, technology, economic management, social management … especially human morality. However, the language barrier is a huge problem. Now global citizens must know English. Therefore, the school has started the CIP.

How does the school ensure that the CIP is running effectively while retaining its core value which is moral education in the Japanese way?

Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc: The school is committed to providing moral education, discipline and manners in accordance with the standards of the Japanese. To do that, the school is meticulous, giving each class 2 co-teachers, one Vietnamese, one British. There is also a Japanese teacher who teaches moral education in Japanese as well as instruct, examine and urge Vietnamese teachers to manage students in accordance with Japanese style. The Japanese teachers also exchange and instruct English teachers to better understand the Japanese educational method and to cooperate in the education of students.

In the last school year, the school has set up a Quality Assurance Department to evaluate teachers' lectures in order to draw lessons for better teaching and to improve the quality of education.

The school is committed to providing moral education, discipline and manners in accordance with the standards of the Japanese.

Is there anything you want to do but have not been done yet?

Mr. Dao Xuan Hoc: Japanese education is my choice, after thorough consideration. Moral education is of prime concern and the Japanese education is superior to many developed countries in the world on this.

The school has received many calls and text messages from parents in Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Hung Yen, etc. asking if we have a branch there. But JIS has just been established for 2 years, we want to focus on improving the quality of teaching and developing discipline for our students. There are also many students from remote provinces who come to study and stay in the school’s dormitory.

My ambition is to spread the Japanese educational method widely, let it go beyond this school and present in other schools in Hanoi and nationwide.

Thank you for the interview!

Ngoc Khanh