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DOI

10.14221/ajte.2010v35n2.5

Abstract

Swayed by global pressures and poor international academic standing, Vietnam in 2002 initiated further school-wide curriculum change reflecting a student-centred reform agenda. Initial research on implementation is producing mixed results. One explanation is a mismatch with a Confucian Heritage Culture as a social-constructivist philosophy may counter the traditional widespread teacher-centred classrooms in Vietnam. School mathematics is often regarded as culture-independent as similar topics are taught across nations. We take as a premise that the adoption of the reform agenda is a worthwhile goal. Presented are the findings of a small scale study that set out to explore antecedent philosophical predispositions that may promote or obstruct the reform uptake among Vietnamese secondary mathematics pre-service teachers. Using a mixed-method approach, and a counterpart cohort from Australia for comparison, support for constructivist and traditional mathematics teaching and learning approaches were explored in association with teacher self efficacy. The Australians were expected to reflect reasonable support for a constructivist agenda and the Vietnamese perhaps less so. For both cohorts, the quantitative data reflected strong support for a constructivist framework and a modest rejection of traditional approaches with the latter correlated with teacher self efficacy. Indeed, the Vietnamese cohort conveyed a belief more so than the Australians that mathematics is a creative discipline; likely a reflection of having studied more mathematics. Scale inter-correlations provided apparent philosophical paradoxes worthy of further study. From the qualitative data the Australians do seem to be further down the track in espousing a philosophy that incorporated a constructivist agenda. With further culturally connected professional development the Vietnamese may be better prepared conceptually to apply it.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.14221/ajte.2010v35n2.5