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【Country Education Profiles】

The Development of Professional Learning Development Responds to the 2018 General Educational Curriculum Reform in Vietnam

The article explores the trajectory of professional learning communities (PLCs) in the Vietnamese context under the lens of a sociocultural approach, in response to the 2018 General Educational Curriculum (2018 GEC) reform. The 2018 GEC aims to develop five essential qualities for students (patriotism, compassion, diligence, honesty, and responsibility) and core competencies (autonomy, self-learning, communication, collaboration, problem-solving, creativity, language, calculation, science, technology, computing, aesthetics, and physique). It is implemented in two stages comprising basic education from Grades 1 to 9, and career-oriented education from Grades 10 to 12 (Nguyen et al., 2020). The author used the 2018 TALIS data along with expert perspectives, to explain the phenomenon of PLC developing trends in the early period of understanding the PLC conceptual origins in Vietnam. Since the first international study related to PLC in the Vietnamese context was published at an international conference in 2013 by Ho et al. (2013), PLC research and practices have been developed into two main streams under the European and Japanese educational perspectives to diversify the Western and Eastern approaches towards school reform in Vietnam.

The development of PLCs through a national educational project known as the Enhance Teacher Education Program (ETEP), which aims to develop selected universities of education and organizations for managing the quality of general education teachers and educational administrators through professional development based on practical needs, and to meet the requirements of fundamental and universal educational reform, has impacted positively the implementation of the 2018 GEC. Given the blended learning activities belong to ETEP, professional learning communities were established, including school-based PLCs and cross-school PLCs for teachers at schools, and PLCs for faculty members in universities of education and general education teachers. PLCs were established to support teachers learning and share their practices to respond to the 2018 GEC reform that has been implemented since 2020. There are approximately 10,000 teachers nationwide and university faculty members participating in ETEP through PLC activities distributed across various regions and provinces (MOET, 2022). The shared practices of teachers and faculty members in PLCs, which have been deployed through the training workshops for implementing the 2018 GEC have contributed to teacher professional development and the improvement of the faculty member’s pedagogical competency.

Furthermore, the movement of PLC is partially impacted by the research and practices in lesson study based on the Japanese perspective towards teacher professional development for enhancing student learning outcomes. It is a fact that schools are the cornerstone of PLC. Consequently, the student learning and school improvement would be achieved through the teachers’ shared practices in terms of applying learning study strategies to their instructional reform (Dinh et al., 2023; Saito & Khong, 2017; Saito et al., 2014).

In addition, the OECD perspective focuses on supporting quality education and equity in education in order to respond to Sustainable Development Goal 4. VVOB which is a non-profit educational organization located in Belgium has adopted the 3 stages-model of PLCs for schools in Ho Chi Minh City, Danang City, Quang Tri province, and Thai Nguyen province in Vietnam (As seen in Figure 1). According to VVOB (2017), PLC principles are characterized by a shared vision, collaborative learning, experience, and reflection and sharing. In addition, a PLC circle with three stages consisting of 1) the initial meeting stage, 2) the try-out stage, and 3) the reflection stage needs to be adopted to achieve the teachers’ shared practices in their learning communities for teachers’ professional development and life-long learning.

Figure 1

PLC Activities in Enhancing Digital Literacy in Thai Nguyen Provice, April 2022

Note. From VVOB enhances the digital literact for teachers and school administrators [VVOB nâng cao năng lực số cho giáo viên và cán bộ quản lí trường học], by T. Truong, 2022, dtinews

According to OECD’s TALIS 2018 Database, results of teacher cooperation in teaching and learning activities emerge as the future of PLC practice in Vietnam. Following the OECD definition in PLC, it refers to teachers’ cooperation characterized by professional collaboration in teachers’ lessons and teachers’ exchange and coordination. One of the most influential factors of teacher cooperation was explored as the exchange and sharing of teaching materials with colleagues (As seen in Figure 2). As a result of rapid technological development, teaching and learning resources have been richer with different sources, especially online materials. Given by a VVOB educational advisor, the expert explained that it was not difficult to understand this result because Vietnamese teachers had good habits in sharing teaching material with other colleagues, especially the same subject teachers via social network groups. However, they sometimes misused the material sharing and exchange leading to spending more time classifying and categorizing the quality and quantity of learning and teaching resources that were really useful for their teaching activities.

Figure 2

The Professional Learning Community Practices in Vietnam

Note. Response options: “Never” (1), “Once a year or less” (2), “2-4 times a year” (3), “5-10 times a year” (4), “1-3 times a month” (5), “Once a week or more” (6).

From TALIS 2018 Technical Report, by OECD, 2019

Eventually, the development of PLC in Vietnam has been integrated into the Western and Eastern perspectives of community-based approaches. This modality is a contemporary pathway to respond to the curriculum reform to achieve 21st-century skills for future Vietnamese human resources in Asia with dynamic development and Western prosperous society. To achieve an in-depth implementation of PLC in research, practice, and policymaking, it needs a comprehensive and systematic approach to its conceptual origins and frameworks, instrument development, and application. Given the historical and cultural analytic perspectives, the development of PLC research and practices in Vietnam will impact educational policy innovation through internal determinants and diffusion. It needs over a decade to transfer the PLC knowledge base and practices into the national and local educational policy to contribute to the 2018 GEC reform and school improvement, especially improve student learning outcomes.



Dinh, H. V. T., Nguyen, Q. A. T., Hai-Tran, N., Thi-Do, L. H., Nguyen, H. T., Dau, L. M., & Phung-Dinh, B. P. (2023). Professional Learning Communities in Vietnamese Primary Schools in the Educational Reform Context: Forms and Challenges [Article]. European Journal of Educational Research, 12(1), 551-565.


Ho, V. T., Nakamori, Y., Ho, T. B., & Ho, S. D. (2013). Study on a model for teacher professional development in Vietnam based on knowledge management. 57th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, ISSS 2013: Curating the Conditions for a Thrivable Planet,


MOET. (2022). Professional learning community for teacher professional development and teacher self-professional development [Cộng đồng học tập từ hoạt động bồi dưỡng, tự bồi dưỡng của nhà giáo].


Nguyen, V. B. H., Vu, T. M. H., Hoang, T. K. H., & Nguyen, T. M. N. (2020). Vietnamese education system and teacher training: Focusing on science education. Asia-Pacific Science Education, 6(1), 179-206.



Saito, E., & Khong, T. D. H. (2017). Not just for special occasions: supporting the professional learning of teachers through critical reflection with audio-visual information [Article]. Reflective Practice, 18(6), 837-851.


Saito, E., Murase, M., Tsukui, A., & Yeo, J. (2014). Lesson study for learning community: A guide to sustainable school reform. Routledge.


Truong, T. (2022). VVOB enhances the digital literact for teachers and school administrators [VVOB nâng cao năng lực số cho giáo viên và cán bộ quản lí trường học]. dtinews.


VVOB. (2017). Technical brief #2: Professional learning communities (VVOB Technical Brief, Issue.


Citation (APA 7 format):

Anh-Tuan Hoang (2023, May 5). The Development of Professional Learning Development Responds to the 2018 General Educational Curriculum Reform in Vietnam. Global education linkages: discovering novel trends from the world.



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