Insight from a case study in building STEM education for Vietnam education.

Author: Hoang Long Nguyen

Nguyen, Hoang Long, 2024 Insight from a case study in building STEM education for Vietnam education., Flinders University, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

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To become a new place for high-tech manufacturing, Vietnam needs to quickly increase the availability of Vietnam's skilled workers in STEM fields. Therefore, the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) introduced a new education curriculum to promote interdisciplinary education integrating STEM education in 2018. Integrating STEM education is still a massive challenge for Vietnam. There is a lack of consensus in definitions or approaches related to STEM education, a lack of quality teacher teams, and differences in teachers' beliefs about STEM education. Under the pressure of educational reform, Vietnamese education may be able to replicate practices to improve education quality. The integrated STEM education model from the Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS) has the potential for some insights after 20 years of maintaining STEM interdisciplinary learning.

The ASMS had solutions to difficulties to overcome in implementing interdisciplinary, such as the need for a well-prepared curriculum, consensus in instructional practices, and a desire for shared/distributed leadership.

The literature highlighted many challenges in implementing educational reforms in Vietnam, especially the need for instructional leadership and suitable teachers' professional development. Therefore, in the challenging context of integrating STEM education in Vietnam, the ASMS is a potential place to look at and discuss to evaluate what can be learnt and perhaps replicated. Therefore, aiming to bring insights for Vietnam education in integrating STEM education, the study sought to capture what can be learnt from the process of developing ASMS from its start, 20 years ago. The study seeks to bring an understandable version of building an interdisciplinary learning environment at ASMS to Vietnamese school leaders and teachers. Considering the above missions, the study was designed as a case study using portraiture as the method.

The data was collected from interviewing the founding principal, extracting and distilling information from press releases related to the ASMS, and observing public events at the ASMS. The study's key finding is encapsulated by a unique topography portrait and narratives capturing the early years of ASMS. While the portrait was built using the collage technique with various images and news about ASMS, the narratives were written using a combination of interpretation, preoccupation, and autobiography. The findings helped detail the formation of ASMS, providing an accessible picture of building an interdisciplinary learning environment. In addition, the findings helped to consolidate recommendations for implementing interdisciplinary learning.

Potential insights for the Vietnam context were pointed out, including applying theme-based learning for the interdisciplinary curriculum; focusing on co-teaching, project/problem-based learning, and student-centred approaches in improving the professional development of Vietnamese teachers; bringing other professions to the classroom as teachers; and building partnerships with universities. In addition, ideas for Vietnam's educational leadership in integrating STEM education are provided, including encouragement in adopting and tailoring a localised leadership model, paying attention to improving instructional leadership, and carefully enhancing school authority.

Keywords: Vietnam education, STEM education, interdisciplinary, STEM school, Australian Science & Mathematics School, portraiture.

Subject: Education thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2024
School: College of Education, Psychology and Social Work
Supervisor: Dr Michael Bell