This article applies casual layered analysis (cla) (inayatullah, 2004) as a framework to examine factors that affect applying a student-centered learning approach in vietnam. The four layers of cla help disclose weaknesses in the current traditional learning approach, causes that create the problems and hidden beliefs that keep traditional perceptions about learning permanent. The results reveal that changing the students’ present learning approach to student-centeredness does not need a new collection of principles to be imposed on learners. Rather, there need to be changes in both school infrastructures and people’s perceptions. Further studies need to be conducted to determine how to implement these changes so that the new approach can be implanted successfully in the local context.