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Walking on glass is a life skill, book advises Vietnam's kids

Walking on glass is a life skill, book advises Vietnam's kids

Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 09:59 GMT+7

A book on practicing life skills intended for first grade children cites walking on glass as an example of courage, shocking many Vietnamese parents.

Such an act is believed to be a way to overcome fear, according to the book, published by the Vietnam Education Publishing House in 2013. The ‘courage lesson’ is accompanied by a photo showing a child actually walks on glass with her bare feet.

The book editor, Dr. Phan Quoc Viet, has asserted that such a ‘life skill’ practice does no harm to children.

“Physically, when we make a piece of glass with an area of around 3cm2  and a thickness of 5cm, those pieces that are small and sharp will sink to the bottom, while the larger ones will stay on the surface,” Viet explained.

“So children’s feet will only walk on a smooth surface.”

He added that when asked to choose between walking on glass and gravel, most children at first picked the second choice.

However, after practicing both activities, the children changed their mind, saying they preferred walking on the glass.

“So, walking on glass is not harmful at all,” he concluded.

Viet said he has spent the last 15 years travelling across the country to teach children to walk on glass.

“The book was published over two years ago, and no children have been injured due to this act,” he said.

“No one has sued me for putting this lesson into the book.”

The book was republished this year by the same publishing house, and the glass walking lesson has been removed, due to a change in the educational orientation for elementary students by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training.

Asked why the book does not advise children on how to walk safely on glass anymore, Viet said this knowledge is dedicated to teachers, and later transferred to students.

“There are many ways to teach kids about courage, but walking on glass is a great method," Viet said.

"When I was young, I also walked on pieces of crockery and bottles, and it was normal!"

Viet said children should be taught to become "eagles" instead of "chickens," apparently referring to the need to build up their strength and courage.


The cover page of the book on life skills for first grade children, issued by the Vietnam Education Publishing House in 2013. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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