Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 665–693 | Cite as

The implementation of a social constructivist approach in primary science education in Confucian heritage culture: the case of Vietnam

  • Ngô Vũ Thu HằngEmail author
  • Marijn Roland Meijer
  • Astrid M. W. Bulte
  • Albert Pilot
Original Paper


Social constructivism has been increasingly studied and implemented in science school education. Nevertheless, there is a lack of holistic studies on the implementation of social constructivist approach in primary science education in Confucian heritage culture. This study aims to determine to what extent a social constructivist approach is implemented in primary science education in Confucian heritage culture and to give explanations for the implementation from a cultural perspective. Findings reveal that in Confucian heritage culture a social constructivist approach has so far not implemented well in primary science education. The implementation has been considerably influenced by Confucian heritage culture, which has characteristics divergent from and aligning with those of social constructivism. This study indicates a need for design-based research on social constructivism-based science curriculum for Confucian heritage culture.


Social constructivist approach Primary science education Confucian heritage culture Divergent Alignment 

Tóm tắt

Lý thuyết kiến tạo xã hội đang ngày càng được nghiên cứu và vận dụng nhiều trong giáo dục môn khoa học ở nhà trường phổ thông. Mặc dù vậy, hiện vẫn còn thiếu những nghiên cứu có cái nhìn đầy đủ về việc thực hiện lối kiến tạo xã hội trong hoạt động giáo dục khoa học cấp tiểu học ở nền văn hóa kế thừa Nho giáo. Nghiên cứu này nhằm mục đích xác định mức độ thực hiện lý thuyết này trong hoạt động giáo dục khoa học cấp tiểu học ở nền văn hóa kế thừa Nho giáo và nhằm giải thích sự thực hiện đó từ góc nhìn văn hóa. Các phát hiện cho thấy trong nền văn hóa kế thừa Nho giáo, lối dạy học kiến tạo xã hội đối với môn khoa học vẫn còn chưa được thực hiện tốt. Nó bị ảnh hưởng đáng kể bởi văn hóa kế thừa Nho giáo, là nền văn hóa có cả những đặc điểm tương đồng lẫn khác biệt với những đặc điểm của tư tưởng kiến tạo xã hội. Việc tìm hiểu cho thấy cần có những nghiên cứu về xây dựng chương trình môn khoa học cấp tiểu học theo lối kiến tạo xã hội phù hợp với nền văn hóa kế thừa Nho giáo.



The authors are very grateful to NUFFIC, the Dutch organisation for international cooperation in higher education, for providing the first author with funding to do this study. They also wish to thank the two primary schools, Đông Ngàn and Quan Hoa in Vietnam, for providing the first researcher with good opportunities to do classroom observations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ngô Vũ Thu Hằng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marijn Roland Meijer
    • 2
  • Astrid M. W. Bulte
    • 3
  • Albert Pilot
    • 3
  1. 1.Hanoi National University of EducationCau Giay DistrictVietnam
  2. 2.Communication Centre of Chemistry (C3)Den HaagThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathemactics EducationUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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