Our Home Economics students never take paper-based exam
Seventh graders at Olympia have just finished their final exam of Home Economics. Notably, this exam is not conducted like regular paper-based exams in Vietnam. Truong Thi Hong Hue, a Home Ec teacher who joined Olympia since the first day has shared about the flexibility of assessment in this particular subject.
Reduced paper-based exams
Với đề bài "Tasked with “preparing a proper meal course for a family”, many students had sparkles in their eyes as they were so excited about making a full meal. Exam-induced stress and anxiety are no more seen as “although this is the final assignment, I felt stress-free and comfortable. Cooking has become much more interesting. While I was in the kitchen, my family kept smiling at me. Such a novel feeling,” shared one student.
At Olympia, there have never been any paper-based exams on Home Ec. The students are assessed based on their assignments and intradisciplinary or interdisciplinary projects from grade 3 to 12. This new assessment approach not only motivates students to learn with passion but also provides teachers with input across multiple factors.
The outcomes of one Home Ec assignment
It is more interesting that parents also participate in their children’s learning and assessment. Their assessment makes up of 50% final outcomes, equal to teacher assessment. The engagement of parents motivates students to learn and reinforces parental bond. “We will be no longer worried about our child when we are on business trips. He can take care of himself. We were very happy and also anxious looking him manage in the kitchen,” told a parent.
Truong Thi Hong Hue – Home Ec teacher at Olympia
This assignment is a proven success of innovating assessment approach. Students must analyze the food, plan a healthy diet, calculate the cost, learn about proper cooking techniques to ensure food security, etc. All these steps are practical enough for them to develop their Home Ec competence beyond textbooks. Plus, the recording of preparation and making reports by slide or video help improve their analytical skills, creativity, and computer literacy. By presenting their reports, they can boost up not only their communication and presentation skills but also their self-esteem.
“Flipped classroom” model in Home Economics at Olympia
On top of assessment approach, we also innovate Home Ec teaching methods at Olympia. The curriculum is designed to be empirical and interesting. Students develop knowledge and skills mostly through practical experiments and experience.
Practical experience is applied to any topic of Home Ec and students spend a lot of time on first-hand practice. For example, given the topic of “Clothes and fashion”, students must design an outfit; or in “Home and home security”, they learn about the steps to make a smart home. Instead of paper-based theories, practical experience is a much more effective method to impart knowledge and get it applied to their own lives.
The Olympia’s School Board of Management and Home Ec academic team have a clear target at innovating learning and teaching methods. “Flipped classroom” model is applied to most of the blocks this year to increase the practice time under the vision “learning materials are gathered from the real world and students will learn and bring back to their lives”..
Hue said, “In a regular class, teachers are supposed to lecture about new lessons while students must do their homework. But in “flipped classroom”, students study new concepts at home and teachers and students discuss and experiment together in class. In other words, students develop their self-taught, problem-solving, and independent thinking skills at home while honing their teamwork, communication and computer literacy skills in class through discussion, presentation and debate.”
Home Economics is very much aligned with work and life skills
Many parents and students see Home Ec as “supplementary” and inferior to Maths, Literature, Foreign languages, etc. Hue said, “Throughout years working, talking and discussing with many people, sometimes I am disappointed as Home Ec is not attached to much importance and sometimes taught by non-experts. However, since the 2018 reform was launched, I have seen more dedication and commitment from teachers and school board to Home Ec. I am very happy with such positive changes.”
In 2019, Hue was offered to compile the textbook Home Economics 6 (formal education program 2018) – Module From pen to life. The book was printed and used by all schools since schoolyear 2021-2022.
“I was excited when I graduated and joined Olympia. It has been nearly 11 years. There is nothing as main and supplementary subjects at Olympia. Besides general competency, Home Ec aims at the development of specific skills at home, at work, and in society. This subject also covers various fields in which students can choose to pursue.”
In every grade, Home Ec is poised to equip students with specific knowledge and skills. “In elementary school, students are expected to be able to use common home appliances in a safe manner, make some simple craft products and understand the importance of Home Ec. In secondary school, they learn to fully design simple Home Ec products. By high school, they learn about work ethics, professional manners and general vocational training,” said Hue.
Every subject plays a significant role in the development of students, including Home Ec. Olympia has made every effort to provide flexible and practical teaching methods and innovate assessment approach centered on multi-disciplinary and empirical experience to support its students along the journey to the future.