20 March, 2024

Happy students achieve more: a revolutionary shift on the importance of wellbeing in Vietnam

Five way to wellbeing | BIS Hanoi
Known for having a great respect of teachers, hard-working students and a structured approach to learning, education in Vietnam primarily focuses on academic achievements and grades.

But a new focus on student wellbeing at Nord Anglia Education's British Vietnamese International School Hanoi (BVIS Hanoi) has seen primary students more engaged, inspired and successful with their studies.

It was during the COVID-19 pandemic, that BVIS Hanoi Vietnamese as an Additional Language (VAL) Teacher and Vietnamese Coordinator Hoang Thi Phuong Trang recognised the importance of wellbeing for primary student learning, and embarked on a journey to deeply explore the possibilities and understand the long-term benefits.

“In the initial stages, I noticed how excited my students became when we engaged in wellbeing activities. As we transitioned to virtual school, I saw a remarkable increase in engagement when they were happy. I recognised how powerful student wellbeing was during that time – my students were achieving outstanding results, despite the challenging circumstances,” Ms Trang said.

Ms Trang went on a mission to learn more – reading studies on the importance of wellbeing in education, and conducting her own research in the classroom. Her primary teaching colleagues did the same, working closely together in each year group to collect and create resources, organise targeted professional development training for teachers, and build a wellbeing structure for primary students.

Five way to wellbeing | BIS Hanoi

With great leadership from Deputy Head of Primary Peter Rao and other Head of Years, the Five Ways to Wellbeing programme was introduced for primary students at BVIS Hanoi.

“We’ve found that the programme is a wonderful way to support our students to feel good – it facilitates positive teacher-student relationships, outstanding learning practices and builds a collection of skills, like resilience, to thrive through day-to-day challenges,” Ms Trang said.

“It’s also led to improved communication within the school community – between parents, teachers and students. It’s given us more opportunities to share updates, photos and information, and understand each other. We often hear parent feedback about how much they love seeing their child enjoying student wellbeing activities and receiving messages of gratitude. They greatly appreciate our teachers’ efforts, and look forward to magic moments that their child experiences throughout the day.”

The Five Ways to Wellbeing at BVIS Hanoi is made up of five core actions that nurture student wellbeing and feed overall happiness, based on the New Economics Foundation in the United Kingdom.

  • CONNECT: Strengthen positive relationships with others, including friends, family, colleagues and the wider community.
  • BE ACTIVE: Engage in physical activity and exercise to improve physical health, like walking, running, dancing and playing sport.
  • TAKE NOTICE: Be mindful and fully present in each moment, and pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and the world around you.
  • KEEP LEARNING: Be curious and engaged in lifelong learning and growth, always looking to gain new skills, and pursue hobbies, passions and interests.
  • GIVE: Carry out acts of kindness, and give back to others.

“This programme at BVIS Hanoi is helping to re-shape education in Vietnam, and it’s exciting to see a direct connection between student wellbeing, engagement in learning, and exceptional academic results,” Ms Trang said.

“The importance of wellbeing in education is clear. Our primary students go on to secondary school with resilience, determination and a drive to succeed. And year-on-year, our secondary students’ hard work and talents see them achieving results that place them well above the world average in globally recognised qualifications, IGCSE and A-Levels.”

As a Nord Anglia Education school, the British Vietnamese International School Hanoi is well known in Hanoi for challenging social norms to put student success at the heart of their educational offering. Known around the world as a top performing school, BVIS Hanoi achieved the Wellbeing Award For Schools from the National Children’s Bureau and Optimus Education in 2022.