Students of the Foreign Language School of the Vietnam National University in Hanoi act in a play based on a literary work by Kim Lan. (Photo: baomoi.com)
Giving students an opportunity to act in a play based on a literary work boosts their interest in, and engagement with, literature. Students are allowed to choose a favorite literary work, write a script, and design the staging themselves.
Since 2002, literature teachers at the Foreign Language School of the Vietnam National University in Hanoi have been using this student-centered method to get students more involved with the literary works they are studying. Students read a literary work, then stage a play or organize a game or other cultural events related to the work. This gives students a more active engagement with literature and develops their creativity and teamwork skills.
“My class will act in a play based on Dam San, a famous epic of the Ede people of Vietnam’s Central Highlands. The work demonstrates the Ede people’s great ambition to conquer nature”.
“We are doing a play inspired by “A Phu Couple”, a short story by the well-known writer To Hoai. We were impressed by the ethnic dances, folk games, and other festive activities in the story and are bringing it all to the stage”.
“Role play helps us better understand works of literature while giving us an opportunity to show off our acting talent”.
These are some examples of students’ response to the role play method in literature teaching.
This idea has spread to many schools. Mr. Nguyen Anh Chung, Head of Phan Ngoc Hien secondary school in the southernmost province of Ca Mau, said: “Our plays recreate Vietnamese society in past eras. We hope the meaningful messages in classic literary works will teach students how to behave and be good citizens”.