PROBLEMS WITH THE BEHAVIORIST-CENTRIC APPROACH IN THE CURRENT VIETNAMESE EDUCATION SYSTEM AND RELATED ALTERNATIVES
Project by Polygence alum Quyen
Symposium & Research paper
They started it from zero. Are you ready to level up with us?
The Vietnamese education system is heavily organized around the theory of behaviorism in its teaching paradigm, with little focus on how students accumulate and retain knowledge. Behaviorism is a teacher-centered method which focuses on reinforcement of expected student behavior to reach positive outcomes, punishment to limit undesired actions, and repetition to ingrain information. This approach can be characterized by drill practice, questions and answers with increasing difficulty, and reward systems. Despite being effective for certain learning outcomes and endorsing motivation to an extent, behaviorism poses many problems which will be examined in this paper through a literature review and natural observations of the Vietnamese educational landscape. This paper explores the main issues of a behaviorist-centric classroom, including the lack of understanding of how knowledge is acquired, unacknowledgement of the active human agency, individual learner differences, mechanisms of motivation, and whether certain punishment works in favor of both teachers and students. These traits are very prominent in the classroom of the Viet, where students take a more passive role in learning with no catering to the uniqueness of individuals. The author further examines applicable learning theory alternatives, specifically cognitivism and constructivism, and how they can be emphasized in the Vietnamese system. The implications of these findings can be utilized first in the Vietnamese school system where the psychological aspects of learning have been neglected, as well as in other educational systems in similar countries suffering from the same problem. Moreover, the author draws attention to existing cases of serious corporal punishment that are still justified by many groups. To recapitulate, the Vietnamese classroom’s behaviorist-centric approach poses problems that can be solved with modern learning theories.