Research of Master Tran Vu Linh
US Vietnam Talent International School Teacher

The subject History was often considered quite boring, “difficult” for many students because the amount of knowledge to remember is quite “massive” as well as the characteristics of the subject is difficult to associate with modern reality. Therefore, the teachers of History are constantly exploring and improving new and interesting teaching methods to help students acquire knowledge more effectively. And at UTS, the History teacher has implemented a very unique method: “Applying the art of shadow play in teaching History”.

The application of shadow play to teaching, especially the teaching of History in high schools is very new. US Vietnam Talent International School is the first international school in Ho Chi Minh City to pioneer the introduction of shadow play into teaching history and initially achieve encouraging results.

The project “Applying the art of shadow play in history teaching” was implemented for the first time in the 2020-2021 school year with the participation of 34 students in grades 10 and 11. After 2 months of implementation, the students completed four works with the content of two themes: “Resistance against foreign invaders from the 10th-15th century” and “World War”. These are the first works, which uts teachers and students devote a lot of enthusiasm and investment both in form and content. Although the knowledge and experience of shadow play is still limited, the products the students create are still extremely impressive and convey the story and historical context as the theme.


The goal of the learning project is to both stick to the standard of knowledge, while aiming to build an exciting training space for History and learn the specific skills of shadow play. Therefore, while writing the shadow play script, the students need to ensure the following 3 factors:

• Ensure historicity: ensure accuracy in terms of time, events, characters.

• Building images for characters (especially the main character), making it easy for viewers to identify and encourage the creation of the visual part, building the character’s personality and actions.

• Detailed outline of the image, sound, actions of each character. Because the puppet is a “static” character and it only really “lives” when it knows a flexible combination of sound and action.

At this project, the puppets are designed from materials that are easy to find or reuse such as hard plastic cover, cardboard, bamboo chopsticks, zinc, parachute cords, studs … The upper parts of the puppet’s body are linked together by studs or parachute cords, ensuring the joints in the hands, legs, head compared to the torso must be “dynamic joints”.

Through the project “Applying the art of shadow play in teaching history”, UTS has succeeded in:

• Create an interesting learning space, contributing to help students love history.

• Innovation of teaching methods, new subject approaches.

• Contribute to the preservation of shadow play, a national art form that needs to be preserved and promoted extensively.

• Stimulate the creativity of students throughout the entire process of participating in the project.

In conclusion, the application of ball puppetry in History really brings more space to explore for students. Proud to be one of the first schools in Ho Chi Minh City to apply this 4.0 teaching method, UTS has given students a new perspective on history as well as traditional folk art. UTS-ers not only hones its skills in this unique folk art, but also stimulates creativity – one of UTS’s six core values.

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