DEvelopment Through


In a changing world 

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Bending Bamboo

Language opens doors—this project is opening Vietnam to the world. It links teachers and students of diverse backgrounds so they may learn from each other. It connects one development sector to another, and then another. As Vietnam rapidly transforms, English is a door to modernize commerce, health, agriculture, engineering, rural and urban livelihoods, and the arts.


The language classroom becomes a hub for holistic and integrated learning. Vietnamese students acquire a second language to join global discourse.  They amplify their voice on the basis of their ideas, data, culture, literature, and life stories. English is a developmental bridge from Vietnam’s villages, towns, and cities to the world.


With a variety of tools—text, website, teacher repository, and classrooms connecting to the world—a Vietnamese-centric language curriculum leads to applied fluency, knowledge, and skills to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. This curriculum also adheres to Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training secondary school standards. 

Spreads from Bending Bamboo textbook

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Uniquely Vietnamese yet Universal 


Vietnam faces hurdles similar to those shared among citizens and youth of many countries.  These reflect the common dilemma of traditional cultures and politics being challenged by the outside.


Second language acquisition plays a critical role.  It grows perspective.  It voices indigenous concerns.  It places cultures and problem-solving approaches alongside each other. Bending Bamboo provides the opportunity to learn and progress together. Three circles of research, learning, and action intersect.


  • A core of learning and research from the university,

  • A global action network of alumni who apply knowledge and skills in communities,

  • A world-gathering Universe of Learning to join ideas and data across walks of life, faiths, and socio-economic position so that future generations may enjoy ennobling environments.

Global classroom

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U.N. SDGs Through Second Language 


This project is called Bending Bamboo. It is a metaphor for a strong organic educational platform that draws upon a vast root system of nationwide and global input. It is the only language learning text in the country that is co-authored by Vietnamese and international educators. It is a communicative approach that features Vietnam’s context and content so as to nurture tasks and norms for sustainable development, social equity, ecosystem resilience, and rural-urban inclusivity. Each chapter begins and ends with Vietnamese profiles of change—citizens from all walks of life who show us all paths of sustainability.


The chapter topics ground the U.N. SDGs in present challenges facing Vietnam. Each chapter of each grade level equips teachers, students, schools, and communities to arrive at lasting solutions. Some are borne of Vietnamese experience. Other solutions arise in learning among partners worldwide.


Electronic Global Classrooms link rural and urban schools, a new experience for Vietnamese schools, and one endorsed by the government. They also connect Vietnam to regular guest instruction and dialogue from other countries. This innovation enriches the Vietnamese educational system so that students hear and share sustainability stories and solutions broadly.


This universe of learning for scholars, schools, and student peers, initiated by Vietnamese youth:

  • Combines online educational and library resources

  • Links classrooms applying SDG knowledge and skills

  • Provides relevant sustainability and resilience case studies

  • Reviews action research in language and development education

  • Offers opportunities for experiential field work

  • Provides scholarships for teachers in the Master’s degree program


IEEE Smart Village and ON Semiconductor generously supported the two-year launch phase of Bending Bamboo.

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Milestones Ahead


A Local Coordinating Committee (LCC), in keeping with the SEED-SCALE method, guides this process. It is a team of Vietnamese and Future Generations educators who cooperate with government, private enterprise and global corporations, diverse groups of teachers, the United Nations and non-profit organizations in Hanoi, and leaders of several provinces.


The LCC coordinates these targets in teacher-training, prototype curricula, action research, and certification of teachers:

  • 2020    Publish text, website, and teacher repository for grades 10-12 with the Vietnamese government.

  • 2021    Begin comparable teacher training and education deliverables for younger age groups—grades 6-9, then 1-5, and finally preschool-kindergarten.

  • 2022    Grades 10-12 teachers equip colleagues in middle and primary schools to create text, website, and teacher repository for grades 6-9.

  • 2023-24    Replicate teacher-teacher training, mentoring, and deliverables for grades 1-5.

  • 2025-26    Replicate for preschool and kindergarten teachers.


The Local Coordinating Committee leads in two forms of research: 

  • They uncover Vietnamese science, data, culture, and life stories, and link these materials to pertinent international information that supports or challenges Vietnamese findings.

  • They equip teachers to conduct ongoing action research to advance teacher-training, improved pedagogy across grade levels, and exceptional products to serve both Vietnam and a Universe of Learning.


This learning process goes forward amidst climate crisis, countryside-to-city migration, overpopulation, and environmental degradation. Vietnam is among five countries most likely to bear the brunt of rising seas and salination of rice paddy and water.  Complicating this climate crisis are 28 new upriver dams that are changing the flow of the Mekong River.


Ironically, Vietnam grapples with all this … even as it enjoys at last a peacetime economy.  With peacetime prosperity now emerging, so too Vietnam faces some of its greatest hurdles ever.

How You Can Get Involved


Bending Bamboo is a metaphor from a plant that spreads as an organic body, beneath ground and in the canopy of forests. It is green and renewable. It is essential to Vietnamese cooking. It forms simple toothpicks and serves as one of the strongest construction materials.  96 million Vietnamese citizens depend on it. And as a language and sustainability curriculum, Bending Bamboo connects Vietnam to a world of co-learners and collaborators.


Bending Bamboo relies on the Future Generations University Master of Arts in Applied Community Development, its worldwide research projects, and the work of its graduates in 41 countries.  At the same time, it contributes its own breakthroughs in research, learning, and action to the collective attributes of the University.


Join one of our study tours to Vietnam. Engage this spreading project in one or more ways:

  • Supporting scholarships for teachers in the Master of Arts program

  • Subsidizing publication of texts for equitable, inclusive rural-urban access

  • Contributing to teacher-training—workshops, forums, certificates

  • Researching the effectiveness of Bending Bamboo process and pedagogy

  • Introducing Bending Bamboo to international corporations and non-profits

  • Creating an online Library Resource Center for all participating schools