Vietnamese Studies is a distinctive subject falling within the realm of Social Sciences and Humanities at Vinschool. It is taught across primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary levels.
The course aims to provide students with a profound understanding of the people and the nation of Vietnam through the lens of Social Sciences. Within the subject, students will explore the diverse facets of Vietnam and its people, encompassing aspects such as Culture, Social Structure, Economic Characteristics, Science – Education, and Places and Environment.
Through inquiry-based methodologies, students engage in observation, investigation, analysis and evaluation of the interrelationships between individuals and various dimensions of society, including customs and practices, economic activities and characteristics, and significant locales within communities and the country, etc. Through these insights, students will analyse the impact of different factors on the thoughts and behaviours of the Vietnamese people. Additionally, they will critically assess the ongoing transformations in Vietnam and speculate on the implications of the changes for the future of the Vietnamese people.
Upon successful completion of the programme, students are expected to be equipped with comprehensive knowledge and skills to address the following inquiries: 1) Who were Vietnamese people in the past? 2) Who are they in the present? 3) Who will they be in the future? 4) How will Vietnam progress?
Throughout the journey of learning about the Vietnamese people and their land, students are expected to critically evaluate the core values of the country. They will learn to earnestly contemplate these values, appreciate, take pride in, and express gratitude for the positive values, while also being able to analyse the negative aspects of Vietnamese society. They will be capable of presenting arguments and making projections about the future of Vietnam, the values that need to be preserved, upheld, and promoted for the Vietnamese people in the present and the future.
The course aims to ignite and foster a profound sense of national pride within each student, simultaneously nurturing indispensable life skills needed in modern society. Students are also expected to apply the knowledge and skills gained from the course, engage in a deliberate reflection on their role as global citizens, and actively contribute to the advancement of their homeland and the world.
The curriculum follows a concentric model, with a central focus on the people and the nation of Vietnam, as well as the dimensions of Culture, Social Structure, Economic Characteristics, Science – Education, and Places and Environment, explored across the academic years. This approach enables students to develop a diverse and comprehensive understanding of the people and the nation of Vietnam. The learning content is tailored to the students’ cognitive levels and perceptions, beginning with fundamental concepts and progressively advancing to deeper and more complex topics as students transition to lower secondary and upper secondary levels.
The course looks closely at the influence social factors have on shaping the thoughts and behaviours of individuals and the Vietnamese community as a whole. When examining Vietnam’s historical development or envisioning future progress, the focus is directed towards social factors rather than political or historical aspects. Major national themes such as the formation of Vietnamese nationalism or Vietnam’s foreign policies with other countries are not explicitly addressed. Instead, the five aspects of Culture, Social Structure, Economic Characteristics, Science – Education, and Places and Environment play a pivotal role in guiding students to analyse social factors and their impact on both the individual and the collective Vietnamese people, as well as the development of Vietnamese society and the nation.
In this educational model, each theme is carefully designed to keep both teachers and students focused on understanding the people and the nation of Vietnam. Both teachers and students understand that the themes are taught and learned to deepen students’ understanding of Vietnam’s people and its rich cultural heritage. With this approach, a variety of themes are covered throughout an academic year to maintain students’ interest. The exploration of specific aspects across multiple years helps cultivate each individual student’s profound understanding.
At the primary level, students will approach aspects from their own perspective and the situations closest to themselves. In grades 1-3, students will approach topics in a “natural” instead of “academic” way. For example, when exploring Social Structure, students start by describing activities of people in their neighbourhood or school instead of learning about the structure of a social organisation. Moving to grades 4-5 involves a more academic approach, with students analysing simple concepts and their connections to human beings. In this stage, specialised concepts like “customs and practices” and “social structure” will be introduced.
Upon entering secondary school, students embark on an exploration of various aspects from both personal and societal perspectives. They are expected to understand the interrelationships between academic concepts and people in the broader context, with a specific focus on the Vietnamese population. For instance, within the “Places and Environment” domain, the goal is not only imparting knowledge about significant locations and the environmental features in Vietnam but also encouraging them to analyse the reasons people form specific emotional bonds with specific places, and the subsequent benefits and behavioural implications of these bonds, both positive and negative.
Transitioning from the latter part of secondary school to high school, students delve into the investigation and analysis of factors that have been shaping modern Vietnamese society. Examples include exploring the impact of beliefs and societal trends on the Vietnamese economy, and consumer behaviours. Another facet involves examining how technology and global social phenomena influence the Vietnamese education system. Students are expected to delve into the transformations in Vietnam and analyse their impact on the thoughts and behaviours of the Vietnamese people. Ultimately, the goal is for students to assess the values worth preserving, traditional values requiring adaptation, new values to embrace or avoid, and to speculate on the nation’s developmental trajectory. In this process, students also reflect on their role in the development process.
In addition to the aforementioned approaches, the curriculum places a significant emphasis on cultivating and refining crucial skills for individual students. For grades 1-6, the programme incorporates a skill set comprising five strands: Questioning, Research, Analysis, Evaluation and Reflection, and Communication. Grades 7-12 utilise a skill set including five strands: Questioning, Research, Analysis & Discussion, Evaluation and Reflection, and Explanation & Communication.
A pivotal skill within the programme is the ability to engage in debates on social issues. This allows students to express their opinions in a scientific manner, while demonstrating respect and an open-minded approach to various perspectives. The overall structure of the course is designed to meet this objective. Skills are divided into three levels, with “discussion” applicable to grades 1-6, “debate” to grades 7-8, and “argumentation” to grades 9-11. The discussion skill expects students to exchange information they have learned and collected on a topic in a civilised and open manner. The debate skill expects students to exchange perspectives on an issue and apply basic steps to defend their own viewpoint and listen to others’. Finally, students are expected to apply argumentation skills to formally participate in argumentation projects and defend their own viewpoints in a scientific manner while respecting and accepting different perspectives. The programme will integrate activities to develop and enhance these skills throughout the learning process.
For grades 1-4, students start to engage with discussion skills through pair or group activities. The programme sets specific points at the end of each topic for students to learn and begin developing these discussion skills.
From grades 5-6, discussion skills will continue to be woven throughout the learning process. At the end of terms I and II, students will have the opportunity to showcase their skills through a group discussion in the classroom.
Moving on to grades 7-8, the skills progress from discussion to debate and are honed throughout the learning journey. Students will have the opportunity to debate an issue at the end of terms I and II.
By grades 9-11, students are introduced to formal debate methods. They will showcase their skills in the end-of-academic-year debate project. 9th graders will debate an issue with their classmates, while 10th and 11th graders will debate with students in their grade level.
In this model, in each term/school year, students will “explore” various social topics. Through inquiry, students will deepen their understanding of the topics, analyse, evaluate, and reflect on them throughout the term/school year. By the end of the term/school year, students will “apply” their knowledge and skills to discuss, debate, and argue their viewpoints on a specific topic.
2. Course Objectives:
- Engage students in a thorough exploration of Vietnam and the key factors shaping the behaviour and mindset of its people.
- Prompt students to critically examine traditional values and cultural norms, leading them to draw conclusions about their impact on individuals and Vietnamese society.
- Foster an appreciation for Vietnam’s diverse and rich cultural heritage, instilling pride and awareness among students.
- Cultivate students’ understanding of the significance of preserving both tangible and intangible cultural values in the country.
- Boost and encourage students’ inquiry skills, enabling them to observe, research, analyse, evaluate, reflect, and express opinions and arguments on social phenomena in Vietnam.
- Develop and refine students’ inquiry skills to enable them to observe, research, analyse, evaluate, reflect, and speculate about the future of Vietnam from various perspectives.
- Encourage students to assess how the younger generation can apply knowledge, skills, and modern technologies to contribute to the development of their community and country.
- Enhance students’ ability to discuss issues scientifically and persuasively, particularly within the context of social issues in Vietnam and the world.
- Prompt students to reflect on their roles in Vietnamese and global society, with the expectation that they actively contribute to national development.