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Characteristics of training and fostering programs and requirement of teaching method innovation in the Party school nowadays

(LLCT) - In implementation of the Party's resolutions on training and fostering leaders and managers, the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics has made many renovations in designing the program, curriculum, and developing the teaching staff, teaching methods. Thus, initial quality and efficiency has been achieved. However, there have emerged some issues, particularly on the curriculum, textbooks, and teaching methods. In light of this, the article focuses on identifying and analyzing the four characteristics of the training and fostering program in the Party school system; at the same time, points out the need for renewing the current teaching methods in the Party school system.

Keywords: training and fostering program, characteristics of training and fostering program, renew the teaching method.

1. Identifying the characteristics of training and fostering program in the Party school system

A training program is a design of overall activities of a training process for a course or a certain type of training, which contains the objectives, content, methods, forms of organization, and other requirements for testing and evaluating the training results. The training program reflects the training objectives, viewpoints, or philosophy of each training institution, to meet individual, organizational and social requirements.

The training objective of the Party school is to create a contingent of cadres who are “hard-working to serve the organization, the class and the people, the country and mankind”. To this end, the characteristics of the training and fostering program can be identified as follows:

Firstly, to reflect and interpret the contents of the scientific viewpoint, revolutionary human viewpoint, dialectical methodology.

To produce a contingent of cadres who serve the organization, the class and the people, the country and mankind, the training program provides fundamental, modern and systematic knowledge on science, practical theories of social development, the way to socialism, the methodology and approach to implement the missions of each revolutionary period, through which learners can establish a scientific viewpoint, revolutionary human viewpoint, and the dialectical methodology to realize the Party’s objectives and ideals. Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh Thought are the theories that set the ideological foundation for the learners.

President Ho Chi Minh repeatedly reminded us that the teaching and learning of political theory must take Marxism - Leninism as the root and the ideological foundation and guideline for the Party’s actions. He said: “First, we must take the documents on Marxism-Leninism as the root”(1). He emphasized that the teaching and learning of Marxism-Leninism must “follow the principle: experience and reality must go hand in hand”(2).

Secondly, to reflect and interpret the views, principles, mottos, and decisions of the Communist Party of Vietnam; laws and policies of the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

To implement the Party’s goals and ideals, learners at the Party school must be imbued with the Party’s line, the State’s policies and laws. The Party’s lines and policies are the documents which are called the Party’s resolutions (platforms, statements, resolutions, directives, decisions, conclusions, and such) of the Party’s Congress or the Party’s leading organizations. The Party’s resolutions demonstrate the Party’s goals; the class’s nature; views, principles, mottos and regulations on organization and operation; directions and tasks at each revolutionary period. The resolution is the declaration, the political message affirming the position, the political ideological foundation to unify the Party’s forces. It is also the guiding flag of the Party’s thoughts and actions that all Party members must understand and implement.

The State’s policies and laws aim to realize the Party’s principles, mottos and decisions into a mandatory system of common norms and rules promulgated or recognized by the State to regulate social relations, to serve and protect the interests of all groups of people in the society.

Ho Chi Minh once said: “Studying the Party’s policy to understand it and implement it right is the way we practice Marxism - Leninism. The Party’s policy towards our resistance war and national construction is to apply Marxism - Leninism to the circumstances of our revolution”(3). At the same time, “only by grasping the revolutionary’s line can we identify the direction to follow to achieve the Party’s goals in the current revolutionary period”(4). His instruction affirms that the unique characteristics of the training and fostering programs at the Party school must focus on the contents of the Party’s lines and views, the State’s policies and laws, in association with the current political situation of the country.

Thirdly, to reflect and interpret the contents and methods of practicing revolutionary qualities

President Ho Chi Minh reminded us that in order to achieve the Party’s goal, a contingent of cadres who are both “moral and professional”, both virtuous and talented, but morality is the root. Ho Chi Minh affirmed: “The key to success or failure is primarily determined by whether the cadres are imbued with revolutionary morality or not”(5). The essence of revolutionary morality, as pointed out by Ho Chi Minh, includes: loyalty to the Party and the people; devotedness to the goals of the Party, the revolution and the people; placing the interests of the Party and people higher than one’s personal interests; working hard  to study Marxism-Leninism, self-criticism and criticism to improve ideology, enhancing the work and the fellowship for mutual progress; and “industriousness, thrift, integrity, uprightness, public-spiritedness and selflessness”.

According to his teachings, revolutionary morality is not naturally granted but is gradually developed and consolidated through daily and durable practice and training. Therefore, in order to obtain revolutionary morality, each cadre and party member must practice and cultivate the ideology through various ways, such as by studying, and training at the Party school. Only by learning new theory can we strengthen our revolutionary ethics, maintain our stance, and improve our understanding of political theory; Only learning at Party schools can provide us with principles, methods, and ways to practice revolutionary morality, thus, reinforce our confidence in communist ideology, views and moral qualities.

Fourthly, to reflect and interpret the contents of leadership, management skills and experience of revolutions inside and outside Viet Nam.

On discussing the teaching in the Party school, Ho Chi Minh highlighted that the teaching of political theories should focus on the method, know-how and experience of revolutions in Viet Nam and other countries.

Teaching the working method is a must, for example, “when encouraging people to show their love and loyalty to the country by working hard and paying tax with rice, etc., we must explain carefully, encourage them and arrange the work well so that the people understand and cooperate with us. We must take advantage of our recent victory in diplomatic struggle, by considering its influence on our side and the enemies’ side in order to make use of it. We must teach our cadres and comrades on how to do this”(6).

Thus, it is necessary to teach leadership skills. Proper leadership must:

1. decide all issues properly. To make it right, it is important to reflect the people’s experiences, because people are the ones who are impacted by the results of our leadership.

2. organize to implement correctly. To do so, people’s engagement is important.

3. oversight properly. To do so, people’s oversight is important(7).

Teaching and learning the experience of communist parties, especially on the construction of socialism: “What methods and forms must we use, and to what extend should we follow to move towards socialism? Those are the questions facing our Party today. To solve those problems well, to avoid making mistakes, we must learn from the experience of our country-fellows and apply them creatively”(8).

2. Approach to the requirement of teaching method renovation in the Party school

Method, in the Greek language “methodos”, means the way, how it works to achieve the goal. This meaning shows that the structure of the method includes actions and means necessary to transform the object to achieve the goal. The power of the method is in providing effective tools to do and achieve your goals. Francis Bacon (1561-1626), an English philosopher, compared the method as a torch that lit the way for people to walk in darkness. Rene Descartes (1596-1650), a French philosopher asserted that it would rather not seek the truth than to seek the truth without a scientific method.

Teaching is the process of interaction between teachers and learners to achieve the goals. How to make the interaction between teachers and learners happen and how to organize the teaching to achieve the objectives are the methods of teaching

Teaching methods are ways of organizing activities between teachers and learners, so that learners gain knowledge, skills, thoughts, attitudes, and form quality and competencies in line with the training’s objective and requirements in specific conditions and environments. From the above approach, it can be affirmed that teaching methods depend on such fundamental factors as training objectives; training programs; quality and ability of teachers; quality and ability of learners; the study environment; and teaching facilities.

As for the Party school, President Ho Chi Minh said: “Our Party organizes a school for its cadres to improve their theoretical level to solve the requirements of the revolutionary mission and the real situation of our Party, so that the Party can perform its work better and fulfill its great revolutionary mission”(9); “The Party school is a school to train advanced soldiers who strive for the cause of the proletariat. They are all core cadres of the Party. Learning theories is not about to make you become plain theorists, but to serve your work better”(10); “You should not study just for good marks nor by rote”(11), but should: “learn the spirit of Marxism - Leninism; learn the Marxist-Leninist stance and methods to apply that stance, point of view and method to well solve the real problems in our revolutionary work”(12).

Based on Marxist teaching principles, the fundamental teaching principle at the Party School is that theory must be attached to reality; learning with practice. In his opening speech at the first theoretical level class opened in Nguyen Ai Quoc School in 1957, President Ho Chi Minh clearly defined the teaching and learning method at the Party School as follows: “Using the learned theories to analyze the victories and failures in our work, the right and wrong sides in our thought, to comprehensively analyze and find the right and wrong sources of their stances, views and methods. These will help us sum up and consolidate our awareness of these problems, then make our work more effective”(13). Thus, the teaching method at the Party school is to increase discussion, seminars, thinking orientation, on the principles of self-criticism and criticism to improve the learners’ self-learning methods. It is necessary to avoid teaching which focuses on cramming, dogmas, and is far away from practice. At the same time, it is important to focus on training the leadership and management styles, problem solving skills, political bravery, and cultivating and practicing revolutionary morality for the whole life.

On the above request, the Politburo’s Resolution No. 32-NQ/TW dated May 26, 2014, on continuing to innovate and improve the quality of training and fostering political theory for leading and managing cadres emphasizes and renews the teaching and learning methods which help to promote students’ activeness, imitativeness, creativity, and student-centered learning. Thus, the teaching method innovation is deployed in the following manner:

First, to innovate teaching methods through learner activities. Teachers do not transfer one-way knowledge, but have to instruct and facilitate students to exchange and discuss more so that they can grasp knowledge, develop qualities and skills needed to meet the objectives of a subject or the training program.

Second, to practice self-study. Practicing the self-learning methods and skills for learners is not only a measure but also the goal of the training process. On providing the teaching, teachers train learners’ skills, habits, will and imitativeness to explore knowledge through case studies, practical problems solving, extra curriculum activities to gradually develop lifelong learning methods and styles.

Third, to enhance individual learning and group learning. Usually, the knowledge levels, skills, attitudes and thoughts among learners are not equal. Combining individual and group learning through discussions, debates, under the instructor’s facilitation is the basis for sharing knowledge, grasping goals of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and thoughts of topics, subjects, and training programs.

Fourth, to combine the teacher’s assessment with the learner’s self-assessment. The assessment of teaching and learning is of its own needs, because the assessment helps adjust the teaching and the learning process. With the requirements of developing the quality and capacity of learners in line with current program objectives, lecturers cannot maintain their monopoly in the assessment but they need to instruct learners to develop their self-assessment skills to adjust their learning styles suitable to the training objective, as well as to adjust themselves in accordance with the real activities.

To conclude, identifying the characteristics of the training and fostering programs associated with the requirements of renewing teaching methods is one of the basic contents which demonstrate the nature of the Party school. From here come some recommendations on renewing the training models, standards, training criteria, developing faculty staff and creating a cultural environment of the Party school.

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Endnotes:

(1), (6) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.6, National Political - Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, p.359, 357.

(2), (7) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.5, ibid, p.312, 325

(3) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.7, ibid, p.218.

(4) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.15, ibid, p.113.

(5) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, page 9, ibid, p.354.

(8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.11, ibid, p.92, 90, 95, 402, 95, 96.

References:

1. Directive No. 23-CT/TW dated February 9, 2018 of the Party Secretariat on continuing to innovate, improve the quality, efficiency of learning, research, application and development of Marxism-Leninism, and Ho Chi Minh Thought in the new situation.

2. Regional Academy of Politics I: To teach and study well political theory at Regional Academy of Politics Region I according to Ho Chi Minh Thought, National Political - Truth Publishing House, Hanoi, 2018.

3. Speech of General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong at the 70th Anniversary Ceremony of Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, www.hcma.vn.

4. Tran Khanh Duc (Editor): Training Manager and Modern School Administration, National University Publishing House, Hanoi, 2019.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Vinh Thanh

Dr. Vu Van Hau

Academy of Politics Region I

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