Trần Hoàng Nam
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, a weekly extra class to teach living skills for special students gathers three pupils at Nguyễn Đình Chiểu School.
Nguyễn Bảo Khang (eight), Lê Minh Châu and Nguyễn Xuân Tiến Đạt (both 11) all have eye impairments.
Teacher Đinh Thị Thu Hường loses herself in training the students. She holds her hands to guide them in each skill.
|Teacher Hường guides a pupil to put a plug into a socket. — VNS Photo Hoàng Nam|
In the lesson, lasting for three hours, she guides them to use chopsticks, put water from a big container into small glasses and put a plug into an electrical socket.
To avoid water escaping the glass, she tells the students to put their big finger on the mouth of the glass and listen to the water running.
“It’s difficult to say which skills are easier to teach to such eye-impaired students than others,” Hường told Việt Nam News. “It depends on each student. Some of them are good at these and some others good at those."
|Lê Minh Châu listens to the water running to guess whether the glass is full or not. — VNS Photo Hoàng Nam|
For example, Lê Minh Châu is good at language and communication skills and music but she struggles with delicate movements like tying up her hair and buttoning her coat, she said.
Châu spent a year learning how to tie her hair up, she said.
Hường said she encouraged their parents to let the students do everything themselves so they can be more independent.
Hoàng Thị Tuyết Hằng, Châu's mother, explains why she often does simple things for her daughter.
|Hường teaches her student to hang a coat on a chair. — VNS Photo Hoàng Nam|
“We live 15km away from the school,” she said. “We are always in a hurry to get to school every morning. If I let her do her own things, we would be late.
"Also she spends so much time at school and talent classes every day and we have very little time at home to teach her.”
Châu said the class is very helpful to her.
“Teacher Hường shows me by hand the tasks very carefully and repeats them again and again,” Châu said. “She even assigns me homework to practise the skills fluently by myself. I’m fairly confident now that I can do many things alone. I should practise more to be able to do other more challenging skills like washing my hair.”
Hường said such classes are necessary for the visually impaired pupils, who study at normal schools. There are more than 200 visually impaired pupils in the school, which specialises in teaching such pupils from grades 1 to 9.
|A parent (left) joins Hường (right) in guiding the pupils to use chopsticks. — VNS Photo Hoàng Nam|
“Before and together with learning knowledge, the pupils should know how to do simple things by themselves,” she said. “I think it’s even more important than academic knowledge.”
Nguyễn Thị Hoa, the mother of Nguyễn Bảo Khang, accompanies her son to the class every Sunday and said such a class is helpful to the pupils.
“I’m there at the class and learn the way the teacher guides my son,” she said. “I guide him more at home the same way.”
|The pupils even learn how to decorate a Christmas tree. VNS Photo Hoàng Nam|
Hoa said Khang was born prematurely after being carried for only six and a half months, meaning his eyes aren't developed enough, so he can only distinguish between light and dark.
“I do my best to spend as much time with him as possible,” she said. “But I want to make sure that he can live independently.”
The class teaches the most basic skills from washing oneself, wearing clothes, to washing up, cooking and fixing things. — VNS