Volunteers inspire rural students with science

September, 04/2016 - 09:00

While other groups and organisations support poor children by donating money, food or books, Make A Simple Wish group chooses education to help.

Novel approach: The Make A Simple Wish group decided to help students learn in a new way. Photo courtesy of the group
Viet Nam News

By Minh Thu

Besides the pursuit of knowledge, Trần Ánh Linh, 17, a high school student in the US, also learns in order to get involved in social work.

She currently studies at Emmaus High School in Pennsylvania. When she returned to Việt Nam, she connected her friends and founded a group called Make A Simple Wish.

“We have a chance to receive a developed education and live in an international environment, so we want to share what we have learned with children in our homeland, especially those who live in remote areas,” said Linh.

The group was founded to organise educational activities for students in rural areas. While other groups and organisations support poor children by donating money, food or books, Make A Simple Wish group chooses education to help.

“We decided to introduce a new learning method using science and technology to the students in the remote areas where they have few chances to approach new things,” said Linh.

Since last year, Linh has convinced Vietnamese students from high schools across the US to join her.

The group has visited schools in the northern province of Lai Châu, the southern province of Bến Tre and HCM City.

The group has co-operated with provincial groups, local youth unions, and university teachers and students to introduce the “Learn to Learn” method to students.

They use Lego pieces to tell stories. During the assembling process, the students would create their own stories about the models they were working on.

This method is based on STEM education, an approach used to develop students’ science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.

“That’s what we learned from our school, and now we want to bring this method to Vietnamese students,” said Trần Anh Khoa, from Eyer Middle School, Pennsylvania.

“This method helps students develop their own creativity and imagination,” Khoa said. “They also find inspiration and joy while learning because this method combines learning and playing.”

This method is totally new for students in rural areas. Nguyễn Thị Thanh Thảo, a teacher from Lê Hoàng Chiếu Primary School (Bến Tre Province), said the new learning method also inspires teachers like her.

“The students are eager for extracurricular activities from the Make A Simple Wish group,” she said.

“I also feel happy when my student radiantly shows me that he can make his snake robot move, which he failed to do one day before.”

Lê Thúy Loan from the HCM City University of Economics said she highly appreciated the Make A Simple Wish group for introducing a new learning method to students in rural areas.

“The group’s activities provoke a passion for science and technology for the students and make them nurture new thinking and creativity since primary education,” she said.

In addition to learning time, the group also offers spiritual food for the students through cultural activities like singing contests and drama performances.

With support from other agencies, the group raised funds for poor students from Lê Hoàng Chiếu Primary School. Accordingly, they donated containers to store clean water for the school, which was a dire need because Bến Tre is one of the southern provinces suffering saline water intrusion.

“Visiting the poor students’ families, we realise how lucky we are,” said Linh. “The students have to help their parents after schooltime, some of them are motherless or fatherless and their lives are so difficult.

“We were born in big cities so we haven’t experienced agricultural work. This is also a precious chance for us to learn about life.”

For the members of Make A Simple Wish, the activities in the rural areas are truly meaningful because they have a chance to help those who are less lucky than them. And through the work, they also learn about the value of sharing, experience new things and improve themselves.

“Education and knowledge bring many opportunities for the students, and that’s the most effective way for them to be confident when they grow up,” said Linh.

“We just want to sow a seed of science in the student’s mind. We hope that what they learn today would benefit them tomorrow.” VNS

Technology teaching: Members of Make A Simple Wish teach students how to control robots. Photo courtesy of the group