"My school has organized experiential activities at historical sites in Hanoi twice a year. These trips are all meaningful to me, and they also help boost our national pride," Nguyen Anh Duc, an eighth-grader at Hanoi's Lomonosov Education System, told The Hanoi Times.
Nguyen Vu Canh Hao, Anh Duc's classmate, said heritage education through visiting cultural relics can be combined with history lessons. "Visiting heritage sites makes my learning process more attractive. It arouses my interest in learning and helps me understand the lessons better," Hao added.
Students on a visit to the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Photo: The National Museum of History
Tran Lam Giang, a sixth-grade student at Nghia Tan Secondary School in Cau Giay District, told The Hanoi Times that experiential activities increase intimacy among classmates, so she gains more confidence in sharing and presenting her opinions to her classmates and teachers.
"Not only do I gain more knowledge about culture and history, but I also develop my social skills and enhance my creativity. Through experiential activities outside the classroom, I understand the lesson and master knowledge about cultural heritage," Giang said.
All these comments are in response to the Hanoi Education Department's program to promote heritage education programs for students. Classes in Hanoi often tend to be theoretical and lack practice, so this is a breakthrough for the city's education sector to better acquaint students with history and heritage.
Under the program, Hanoi schools will conduct extracurricular study tours to historical sites in the capital. The city's Department of Education and Training has asked schools to develop plans to teach revolutionary traditions and cultural heritage using the method of advanced educational trends in the world, with an emphasis on taking students to cultural and historical relics in Hanoi rather than to distant places.
"My son's class once went on a field trip to the northern port city of Haiphong, more than 100 kilometers from Hanoi. Through Hanoi's heritage education program, the destinations chosen by my child's school will be in the city. This helps children understand local historical and cultural traditions and makes us feel comfortable as they only have to travel a short distance," Hoang Thi Trang Nhung, mother of a sixth-grade student at an international school in Tay Ho District, told The Hanoi Times.
Students of the Lomonosov educational system visit the Museum of Hanoi. Photo: Lomonosov Secondary School
"I like this creative way of teaching history, which gains educational significance and brings peace of mind to parents," Nhung said.
Truong Hoang Minh, father of a fifth-grade girl in Cau Giay District, told The Hanoi Times, "First of all, the fact that the students visit a place close to home will help parents feel at ease. Instead of traveling several hundred kilometers, children will only have to travel a few dozen kilometers, and we will feel much less stress. Short trips will cost much less, which will help reduce the burden on parents," Minh said.
Le Thi Quynh, a resident of Bac Tu Liem District, added that she once tried to take her son to the Temple of Literature and some other relics in Hanoi to help him understand history and cultural values, but the child refused. "If it is an extracurricular study tour, my child would accept it. I think it is very interesting. Children will experience and learn proactively," Quynh said.
She urged that educational content should be practical and appropriate to the age and cognitive level of students so that they can apply the knowledge in their studies and promote students' positivity, initiative, and creativity.
Lomonosov students gain a lot of useful knowledge during the extracurricular study tour. Photo: Lomonosov Secondary School
According to the plan, Hanoi's Department of Education will coordinate with the city's Department of Culture and Sports and local relic management boards to ensure that the content of the tours and the way they are conducted are scientific, accurate, and appropriate for students.
Hanoi has set a goal for 2025 that all schools in the city will organize visits to historical relics and local cultural heritage for students at least once per academic year.
Currently, Hanoi has the largest number of monuments in the country, with more than 5,900 scenic relics, including one World Heritage Site (Thang Long Imperial Citadel) and 20 special national monuments; nearly 1,800 intangible cultural heritage sites; and more than 1,200 traditional festivals. Therefore, the task of heritage education for students in educational institutions is always considered as one of the key tasks.
Designing a detailed curriculum
Regarding the experiential activities organized for students, Tran the Cuong, Director of Hanoi's Department of Education and Training, said he is concerned about the safety of students' study tours but above all, he valued such a model.
"As Hanoi is the cradle of historical and cultural relics, not only people from all over the country but also foreign tourists want to visit and learn about them. Therefore, to avoid congestion and save time, schools must closely coordinate with the capital's monument management departments to design a detailed educational program so that experiential activities are useful and effective for students," Cuong stressed.
Ta Ngoc Chi, a parent in Dan Phuong District, told The Hanoi Times: "I think schools need to make specific plans when organizing experiential activities so that they are effective for students."
"Before the trip, teachers should give students questions and exercises about the relics. After the trip, students should be required to report in various forms, perhaps by answering simple multiple-choice questions. The purpose is to make heritage education activities meaningful for students," Chi said.