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Bowdoin College

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Vietnam: Culture, Social Change and Development


For a Vietnamese child, first grade is their introductory gateway to society. It is the first time they will be working within a large group of people their own age, learning how to become an effective and contributing citizen to the community they’re within. Much of the first grade curriculum focuses on how students should behave not only in the classroom, but outside the school walls. This case study was conducted in the Le Loi Primary School in Hue, Vietnam. My goal was to uncover the main moral values instilled at the first grade level. For two weeks I observed in one first grade classroom, watching the students as they learned, played, and interacted with one another. I determined that an emphasis was placed on conformity and obedience. This wasn’t simply apparent in the way teachers demanded a student’s attention, but through interactions between students, the curriculum, and the teaching methods. Ultimately students are taught to comply with what society wants by behaving in specific ways to fit the accepted and recognized cultural norms. Students are molded into the citizens that Vietnam wants running their communities: loyal, obedient, and pragmatic in the sense that they conform to the established norms– they don’t try to create their own. Overall much of the school day is based on this importance of conformity and obedience.


Education | Educational Sociology | Elementary Education and Teaching | Social Psychology and Interaction


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