I was surprised to learn
from my Vietnamese friends that some Vietnamese schools discourage their pupils
from writing with their left hands and even force left-handed children to use
their right hands. Every time they use their left hands, they get a whack from
Is this just an urban
legend or is there any truth to it? If yes, why? What is the historical
background of such a strange restriction on pupils? We are in the 21st century
and such closed-mind practices should be stopped.
The Ministry of Education
and Training has never promulgated any regulation prohibiting pupils from using
their left hand for writing, according to Le Tien Thanh, head of the ministry’s
Primary Education Department.
Thanh said that if
teachers forced left-handed pupils to write with their right hands it was their
In reference to the
historical background of the restriction, Thanh said most Vietnamese were right
handed and families and teachers encouraged children to use their right hands.
Cultural researcher Huu
Ngoc said in Vietnamese culture, individuals were programmed to follow the
He said that in his
childhood, he had never seen any one writing with their left hand.
"Everyone held their pen-brush and chopsticks in their right hand," he
According to Dr Nguyen Thi
Kim Dung, a researcher at the Education Reserach Institute, some schools and
teachers did restrict left-handed students, but she did not support the
Hoang Hoa, the mother of a
left-handed son, wanted her boy to write the way he wanted. However, when he was
at pre-school, her son’s teacher advised her to instruct him to use his right
hand or he would have big difficulties at primary school.
Hoa consulted her friend,
a teacher at a renowned primary school in Ha Noi, and received the same advice.
Hoa’s son, who is in
second grade, now writes well with his right hand and performs other tasks with
his left hand. — VNS