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Vietnamese group kick-starts free education project that won Obama-initiated program’s contest

A Hanoi-based volunteer group has recently kicked off a project, which won a contest under a program launched by U.S. President Barack Obama last year, in Vietnam in the hope of improving education for children.

Vietnamese group kick-starts free education project that won Obama-initiated program’s contest
Vietnamese group kick-starts free education project that won Obama-initiated program’s contest

Titled “iTeach,” the project launched by the group “Giấc mơ Việt Nam” (Vietnamese Dream Club) was one of the three Vietnamese projects to win the “2014 Seeds for the Future” competition of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative program initiated by President Obama to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia, the group said.

According to the organizer, “iTeach” aims to give educational aid to children in remote areas in Vietnam and the Philippines.

It was hosted by the Saving Innocent Lives Amidst War Inc. in the Philippines early this year.

In Vietnam, “iTeach” has run free classes for 3rd and 4th graders from ethnic minorities at Yen Lap Elementary School in Cao Phong District in the northern province of Hoa Binh since April 10.

A theory developed by American psychologist Howard Gardner is being applied to these classes, operated with a piece of software called Learning Management System.

The theory was outlined in Gardner’s book “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences” published in 1983.

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences says that humans have several different ways of processing information and these ways are relatively independent of one another, according to Wikipedia.

Since 1999, Gardner has identified eight intelligences: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

Each kind of intelligence plays the same important role as the others in human life.

Many teachers, school administrators, and special educators have been inspired by Gardner’s theory, as it has allowed for the idea that there is more than one way to define a person’s intellect.

The Vietnamese Dream Club said on its Facebook page that students will gain much knowledge through topics taught in “iTeach” classes.

The club added that learners will have also an opportunity to approach the topics in various ways that are compatible with eight types of intelligence.

In each class, volunteer teachers help students learn about a selected topic in the fields of natural and social sciences through activities like group working, presentations, experiments, and quizzes.

Each student has a learning diary to record their impression and opinion about the classes.

The organizer said the application of the multi-intelligence approach theory to education will encourage students to explore themselves and help them understand that each individual has their own learning way and outstanding ability, which will in turn make students more confident to improve their creativeness and nurture their passion of studying.

Founded in 2011 by a group of students from Hanoi, the Vietnamese Dream Club is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-religious voluntary organization, the group said on its website.

Since establishment, the organization has devoted itself to educational projects for Vietnamese children, especially poor kids in remote areas.