Reflection of the UK study visit
Nguyen Tran Chan Ai, teacher at Nguyen Van To Junior High School, HCMC shares about the East Asia Teachers’ Professional Training Study Visit in the UK, February 2015.

The trip to the UK between 2 and 6 Feb. 2015 is a great experience for me not only cultural exchange but also for my professional knowledge.

Setting foot on British soil, a new world opened before my eyes: high-tech infrastructure and clean roads. The buildings and houses built according to an ancient style still look impressive, royal and romantic. Although London and Bristol are modern cities, they still uphold their long-standing civilization and character and in addition the people there are really nice. They are extremely polite, cool, and helpful . Whatever nationality you are, they are ready to help. They are very intelligent and professional: I met Mrs. Vicky Gough, School advisor at the British Council UK; Mr. Jon Jones, Vice principal; Dr. Dan Nicholls, Principal at Bristol Brunel Academy; Mr. James Beadle, Events Officer; and many other talented teachers, who gave us an amazing, informative, and useful study visit. 

Education in Britain is what I wish it to be in my country, Viet Nam. It is open and developing. Academies have their own ways to develop but have the same purpose_ that is to maximise the students’ achievements. Moreover, the principals have the right to choose the curriculum as well as textbooks suitable for their schools. This may make teachers more flexible and creative and students may feel more confident and interested in their study. There is no concept of repeating the class (students will repeat the class if they cannot pass the exam). But these students will be taught privately until they can keep pace with the other ones in the class. I also saw a happy learning environment with enthusiastic, well-qualified teachers in many classes. The students are so disciplined and ready to learn. Well-equipped school facilities as well as modern teaching aids in the schools we visited play a very important role beside teaching staff. They contribute to the effectiveness of the teaching and learning. I really felt impressed with the words of Mr. Dan Nicholls who said: “Teach less, learn more” or “ choose the beautiful things to teach”, and other words from the teacher in Bristol Brunel Academy; “when we recruit someone as a teacher, we want he/she to tell what he/she is going to do, not what he/she is going to be asked to do”. I think I will apply these sentences or phrases in my job and I am sure that I can be successful.

Finally, I am very happy when I can have more friends from other parts of my country (Ha Noi, Viet Nam) and the world (Britain, Indonesia and Korea). Despite only staying and working with them for a short time, we gained mutual understanding shared information about our cultures and our education systems. 

Generally, the study visit to the UK brought us an overview of an updated and modern education system, an admirable society with respectful people. We will choose to apply what matches with ours.