A teacher in Ho Chi Minh City has launched a project to inspire his students to learn literature by making films based on real-life stories.
“Học Văn Từ Cuộc Sống” (Learn Literature from Life) is the project initiated by Do Duc Anh, a teacher at Bui Thi Xuan High School in District 1.
Anh said that the idea of creating the project came when he was asked by a Bui Thi Xuan alumni, “Life is a big, great and everlasting work, but why can we only feel a little bit about it?”, three years ago.
The project includes three phases, the first of which teaches students theory about essay writing styles to write scripts for videos.
The next provides learners with the skills to work in groups, solve problems, and manage time, while the third is about practicing and finishing films.
Twelve movies were made after three months of implementation under the topic “Saigon – Young Perspectives” with the participation of students from four 11th grade classes at the school.
“I picked the topic on Saigon because this is where my students live and study,” Anh said, using the former name of Ho Chi Minh City.
The films depict portraits of Ho Chi Minh City through students’ points of view, including the issue of abortion, modern life in the city, street vendors, young cancer patients, single mothers, as well as children who have to work at a very early age to earn a living.
“The students had to finish all the assignments of the main curriculum,” Anh said about his students. “Meanwhile, they had to go out for filming and interviews, then go back home to do montage work.”
Sometimes they even stayed up until 3:00 am to work on their movies, Anh said.
After three months of participating in the project, many students admitted that it has helped them learn more about the city, which they once thought they know well.
“People always think about Hoi An when mentioning an ancient street,” a representative of a group who made a movie about an ancient street in the middle of the city said at a meeting to report the project’s results on November 26.
“When we made our film, we found an ancient street where many Chinese people live in District 5. That was a new world with customs we had never known, and foods we had never tasted before.”
Another group, who made a flick on young cancer patients, said they have come to understand more about what is called “energy” after seeing how optimistic the little patients were.
A member of a third group whose movie focuses on abortion said they felt lucky since they have parents who love them after visiting the graves of abandoned babies.
At the meeting, the students also expressed their gratitude to the teacher who created the project, which has taught them a lot.
“We want to say thank you a lot,” Chau Kim Bao, a student from class 11A13, emotionally said to his teacher, Do Duc Anh.
“You taught us not only with books but also with love, passion, and creativity. We have learned a lot during the last three months. It’s important knowledge that we will carry along with our lives,” Bao added.
Not only did it attract students, but the project has also won over parents.
Tran Thanh Thuy, the parent of a student from class 10A10, also thanked the teacher and his school.
“I was surprised,” he emphasized. “I wondered why my son spent a lot of time on this and often worried that he stayed up late for chit-chat, not study.
“I didn’t imagine that learning literature from life could bring many benefits like this,” he added.
Nguyen Nguyet Le, deputy principal of Nguyen Thi Dieu High School, who joined the meeting on November 26, commented that “Học Văn Từ Cuộc Sống” has brought a new style of teaching which not only reflects the heart of teachers but also their dynamism and creativity.
“Besides providing students with skills like essay writing (script-writing), film editing, teamwork, and time management, the project has touched students’ hearts, reviving their positive feeling about life and people,” Le said.
“They will know how to love and care more about people around them as well as how to live more responsibly once they have been touched.
“I’ve learned a lot of things to apply at my school,” she added.