The practice of having students involved in fights read morality books at a middle school in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City is commanding positive public attention.
Rather than suspending students involved in fights, Nguyen Van Troi Middle School makes them spend recess in the school library reading ethical books within two weeks, according to Trinh Vinh Thanh, head of the Go Vap education and training division.
Teachers supervise the reading sessions and such students are required to write their reflections on each book.
After the two-week period, on Mondays, the students will take turns sharing moral stories from the books they read in front of the entire school.
“The school refrains from suspending students’ studies, as this approach lacks public approval and is not endorsed by educational experts,” said Thanh.
Expressing his perspective, Thanh remarked that at this age, students often exhibit a mentality geared toward seeking attention, sometimes resorting to negative actions such as engaging in fights and broadcasting these brawling events online.
“Why not create positive avenues for children to express themselves?” Thanh said.
“It’s a way to help them self-regulate their behavior.”
Students, teachers favor the approach
“I comprehend that if students engage in fights, they are breaching school rules and will undoubtedly face consequences,” said Truong Cong Gia Khanh, an 11th-grade student in Tan Binh District.
“However, between the two options of a two-week suspension or reading morality books during recess for the same duration, I believe the latter is a more effective approach."
According to Khanh, students of all backgrounds, whether high-achievers or struggling learners, tend to relish missing school.
Either exemplary students or those who struggle academically share this sentiment.
“When the schedule indicates classes but the school announces the teacher’s unavailability, the entire class would applaud and cheer,” the student stated.
“For those who are disinclined to study and lean toward disruptive behavior, the prospect of being suspended from school serves as a reward rather than a punishment.”
The case of a female student in District 12 a few years ago was a prominent example as she shared an unexpected revelation about being expelled from school due to a fight, stating, “The school expelled me, and that’s exactly what I wanted.”
According to Tran Hong Lan, a literature teacher in District 6, the suspension of students, who are not studying well, poses a challenge for them to keep up with the curriculum.
Lan expressed her endorsement, stating Nguyen Van Troi Middle School’s approach is both humane and effective, aligning with student psychology.
“Students should continue attending school regularly to avoid missing lessons while simultaneously facing consequences for their misbehavior,” the teacher said.
“I highly value the disciplinary method of reading moral books.
“It’s a form of discipline that should be emulated.”
Adding to the discussion, Nguyen Hoang Ha, a 12th-grade student in District 1, suggested that schools and teachers carefully choose high-quality ethics books to achieve the desired effect of the reading discipline.
“At our age, we tend to be less receptive to adult advice while not all content in books is accurate,” Ha said.
“In fact, some books can be overly dogmatic, leading to boredom after just a few pages.
“Moral books should consist of convincing practical stories rather than dictating what young people should or should not do.”