(excerpt from Multigrade and Bilingual Classes in VietNam, Ministry of Education and Training, VietNam, and UNICEF VietNam, Hanoi, VietNam, 1998.)


Teacher Training Modules on

Methods and Techniques of

Multigrade Teaching and Learning



MODULE 5: Selection and Development of Local Topics

I. The aims for development of local topics for teaching and learning

In the National Primary Curriculum, there is a 10-15% window to teach local topics across all subjects. However, so far not much attention has been paid to this issue by either the provincial education services or district education services. This needs to be reconsidered soon.

II. Local topics taught at primary schools are very meaningful as well as beneficial:

1. Some principles for selecting and writing local topics for primary multigrade and bilingual education.

2. The local topics must be:

III. Procedures for selecting and writing of local materials

1. Checklist for developing local topics: The following nine areas could provide the basis for the development of local topics:
  1. Geographical features
    - topography
    - geography
    - beauty-spots
    - climate, etc.

  2. Flora:
    - natural plants or trees
    - plants grown by people

  3. Fauna:
    - wild animals, tame animals, pets

  4. Transportation and Construction:
    - transportation system
    - construction works
    - traditional architecture (houses, communal houses, pagodas, temples, tombs, graveyards, etc.)
    - construction materials

  5. Population:
    number, features, distribution

  6. Cultural activities of different ethnic groups:
    - festivals, fairs, games
    - traditions and customs
    - traditional musical instruments, traditional songs and dances
    - folk songs, traditional songs, idioms, proverbs, sayings...
    - typical art works, literature works
    - traditional costumes

  7. Local history:
    - Local cultural personalities
    - historical characters
    - major historical events of the locality

  8. Production:
    - traditional handicraft trades and local products
    - tools of local production and livelihood

  9. Environment and sanitation:
    - protection of forests and natural resources
    - protection and improvement of water sources


    Step 1: Choose the topic (content of local topic correspond to 15% flexible component of the national curriculum).

    Step 2: Choose resources.

        Q. Which resources suit this topic best?

    Step 3: Finding out what the students already know.

        Q. What do the students already know about this topic?

        Q. What else about the topic are they interested in finding out?

        Q. How will the children tell me what they know?

    Step 4: Write understandings about the topic.

        Q. What do we want the children to learn about?

    Step 5: Introduce the new resources that will help the children learn about the topic.

    Step 6: Develop the topic through the different curriculum areas (e.g. mathematics, Vietnamese language/ethnic minority language, art...).

    Step 7: Allow the students to share what they have learnt about the topic.

    Step 8: Assess the students learning. Evaluate the teaching strategies.



Sample Topic for Trees

Topic: understandings for trees

Make a chart of one tree

Comparing the trees you and your partner chose with those of other people:


Summary Chart of Some Trees


Sample Topic on Animals (ELEPHANT)

What do we know about elephants?

Comparison Chart


Summary Chart


Guide teachers to develop a list and choose topic following 8 planning steps.


Sample Topic on Culture

Ethnic Minority Costumes


Traditional Musical Instruments




Sample Lesson on the Topic of Social Issues:
Traditional Costume of the Red Dao

    the red dao

  1. Objectives and requirements of the lesson:

  1. Preparation for the lesson

  1. Teaching and Learning Activities:

  1. Whole class activities: (12 minutes)

  1. Group activities - 13 mins.
  2. Whole class activities 5 minutes.

    putting on the costume

  1. How to put on the costumes 10 minutes


Worksheet for Students of Grade 3 - 4

  1. What are the main parts of the Red Dao costumes?

  2. Tick the right statements(X):

      a) The Red Dao do not have separate pans and shirts.

      b) The male costume is different from female costume.

      c) The Red Dao costume has the color of indigo.

      d) The Red Dao embroider on their clothes to make them more beautiful.

  3. Choose suitable word(s) to fill in the blanks: (weaves, embroiders, Dao, new, beautiful, beautiful and durable)

      a) The Red Dao girl .............. her clothes herself.

      b) In festivals and New Year holidays, the Read Dao boys and girls wear their ............ clothes, .......... scarf, .......... belts to go out.

      c) Everyone says that the Read Dao has a very ............ costume.

  4. examples

    • The Dao people [embroider] a pattern on their costume
    • The Dao people wear their full costume for special [festivals]
    • Each ethnic minority group in Vietnam has its own special [costume]
    • A Dao person wears a thick [belt] around her waist


Worksheet for Students of Level 5

  1. What are the main parts of the Red Dao costume?

  2. The main color of the Red Dao costume is (tick (X) the right answer):

    • Blue

    • Black

    • Red

    • Dark blue

    • Indigo

    • White

  3. Tick or draw the correct information on the chart below:


    Separate shirt

    Separate pants

    Waist chain








  4. On which parts of the Red Dao costume are the designs embroidered?

  5. What kind of pictures embroidered on the Red Dao costume?


Sample Lesson on Local Trees

Red sugar cane

I - Objectives and requirements:

1. By observing the red sugar cane, students know the appearance characteristics of the red sugar cane (from simple to detail depending on the grade group).

2. Students know the benefits of sugar cane to animals and human.

II - Preparation :

III - Class activities :

1. Whole class activities (4 minutes): teacher introduces the new lesson.

2. Group activities (10 minutes):

3. Whole class activities (6 minutes):

Teacher checks the outputs of discussion and make charts.

Teacher asks students to name parts of the sugar cane in ethnic minority language.

4. Group activities (10 minutes):

  • Discussion based on teacher's questions in mixed level group.

    • What animals use sugar cane?

    • What do people use sugar cane for?

  • Students exchange work sheets between groups to cross-check.

5. Whole Class activities (10 minutes):

    students learning
  • Teacher hangs pictures of sugar cane and animals using sugar cane.

  • Students observe and check the output themselves.

  • Teacher checks the outputs of discussion and fill in charts.

  • Teacher reviews the lesson by using a piece of card-board to hide part by part of the picture and asks students to recall what they have observed.

  • Teacher guides the students to play the Sticking Game (sticking the word cards to the picture charts).

(excerpt from Multigrade and Bilingual Classes in VietNam, Ministry of Education and Training, VietNam, and UNICEF VietNam, Hanoi, VietNam, 1998.)