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Crossing cultures: Teaching Confucian heritage students


Crossing cultures: Teaching Confucian heritage students Dr Phiona Stanley Learning and Teaching Unit UniSA Workshop Outline Cultures of learning Socratic and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Crossing cultures: Teaching Confucian heritage students

Crossing cultures Teaching Confucian heritage
Dr Phiona Stanley Learning and Teaching Unit UniSA
Workshop Outline
  • Cultures of learning
  • Socratic and Confucian learning cultures
  • Western teachers and CHC learners
  • Dealing with learning cultures in contact
  • Our way? Their way? A third way?
  • Implications

Cultures of learning
What do you know about Confucius and Socrates?
Why are they relevant to UniSA in 2010?
Confucian-heritage cultures (CHCs)
  • (PR) China
  • Hong Kong (SAR)
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam
  • Korea
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Most international students at UniSA are from
  • Of course, not all learners are homogenous
  • And things are changing, esp. in mainland China!

Socratic culture of learning
  • 'The unexamined life is not worth living. ...
  • Wisdom begins in wonder.' (Socrates, 470-399 BC)
  • dialogic (dialectic) method of inquiry
  • teachers questions ? construction of knowledge
  • hypothesis testing and elimination
  • forces students to examine own beliefs
  • students taught to question knowledge
  • Western rationalism / logic

Confucian culture of learning
  • 'I am not one who was born in the possession of
    knowledge I am one who is fond of antiquity, and
    earnest in seeking it there.' (Confucius, 551 -
    479 BC)
  • Centrality of five relationships filial piety
  • Role of teachers students owe strong duties of
    reverence and service to their teachers
  • Texts are revered correct answers valued
  • To study without thought is labor lost
  • but thinking without study is dangerous indeed

UniSA learning cultures in contact
Cultures of learning
  • taken-for-granted frameworks of expectations,
    attitudes, values and beliefs about how to teach
    or learn successfully
  • A culture of learning frames what teachers and
    students expect to happen in classrooms
  • Jin and Cortazzi (2006, p. 9)

Confucian cultures of learning
  • Confucian heritage students stereotyped as
  • quiet, passive rote learners
  • respectful of teachers / teaching materials
  • unable or unwilling to think critically
  • reluctant to express opinions
  • (Atkinson, 1997 Ballard Clanchy, 1991
    Bodycott Walker, 2000)
  • Chinese learners are not accustomed to actively
    participating in class teachers teach and
    students rarely speak out of turn (Gibbs, 2005,
    p. 6)
  • Some evidence that Chinese students cultures of
    learning are starting to change
  • (Biggs, 1996 Cheng, 2002 Curro McTaggart,
  • Gan, Humphreys Hamp-Lyons, 2004 Gieve and
    Clark, 2005 Shi, 2006)

A quiz!
  • Why might Confucian heritage (CH) students be
    reluctant to speak up in class?
  • How might CH learners feel about copying ideas
    from textbooks, and why?
  • How do CH students address their teachers and why
    might they feel uncomfortable with Australian
    ways of addressing teachers?
  • How might CH students feel about Western
    educational norms practices?

Cultures of Learning in contact
Discussion Spot the difference!
  • Look at the pictures on the next two slides
  • What are some differences?
  • Why might there be problems if a learner comes to
    context 1 from context 2?

  • CELTA training context

Group work in Australia
Typical HE classroom in China
Case studies jigsaw reading Cultures of
learning in contact
  • Two cases studies
  • Jenny in Vietnam
  • Liu Hong in China
  • Read your case study
  • Find someone with the other case study
  • Describe your case study and what the problem is
  • Discuss the culture of learning assumptions being
    made by the people in the case studies
  • Cases adapted from http//

What to do?
Our way?
Our way (Liao 2004)
  • Methodological universalism
  • Educational research
  • Evidence-based research as context-blind
  • Cultural/educational assimilation model becoming
    part of global academic community
  • Context specificity
  • Cultural resistance?
  • Assumptions about students needs/identities
  • Unclear expectations?

Students way?
Studentsway (Yu, 2001 Zhang, 2004)
  • People do successfully learn with all sorts of
    teaching methods
  • Issue of methodological imperialism?
  • Methodological relativism context approach
    (Bax, 2003)
  • Discredited model of learning
  • transmission
  • constuctivism
  • What about non-CHC students?
  • (Are we any good at Confucian-style teaching?)

A third way??
A third way? (Bjorning-Gyde Doodgan, 2004 Hu,
2002 Senior Xu, 2002)
  • Cultural fusion models
  • Negotiated third space between two cultures
  • Lack of consistency in theoretical underpinning?
  • Teachers/students may lack adaptation skills
  • Expected graduate qualities of Australian
    education, e.g. Participation in discussions
    learned through Socratic-style teaching?

Discussion Potential issues
  • Can teachers adapt their practice? Do they?
  • Can students adapt? Do they?
  • What does effective adaptation depend on?
  • Who should adapt, when teachers in Australia
    teach students from Confucian-heritage cultures?
  • Does it depend on where classroom is physically?
  • Does it depend on students future needs, e.g.
    Australian uni study?
  • Does it depend on the proportion of CHC/other
  • How might adaptation (teacher or student) take
  • In at the deep end?
  • Gradual accommodation of teaching/learning

Bridging the gap
  • Starts with teacher / learner awareness
  • Principled eclecticism
  • Examination of own and students practices
  • Make expectations explicit, with rationale
  • Find out students (perceptions of) future needs
  • Have this discussion with students (.ppt
  • What else?

References Further Reading
  • Atkinson, D. (1997). A critical approach to
    critical thinking in TESOL. TESOL Quarterly,
    31(1), 9-37.
  • Ballard, B., Clanchy, J. (1991). Teaching
    students from overseas A brief guide for
    lecturers and supervisors. Melbourne Longman
  • Bax, S. (2003). The end of CLT a context
    approach t language teaching. ELT Journal, 57(3),
  • Biggs, J. B. (1996). Western mis-conceptions of
    the Confucian-heritage learning culture. In D. A.
    Watkins J. B. Biggs (Eds.), The Chinese
    learner Cultural, psychological and contrextaul
    influences. (pp. 45-67). Hong Kong Comparative
    Education Research Centre, University of Hong
  • Bjorning-Gyde, M., Doogan, F. (2004). TEFL
    practice and reform in China Learning, adapting,
    succeeding, creating. Paper presented at the The
    2nd International Conference of IATEFL China.
  • Bodycott, P., Walker, A. (2000). Teaching
    abroad Lessons learned about intercultural
    understanding for teachers in higher education.
    Teaching in Higher Education, 5(1), 79-94.
  • Cheng, X. (2002). Chinese EFL students' cultures
    of learning. In C. Lee W. Littlewood (Eds.),
    Culture, communication and language pedagogy (pp.
    103-116). Hong Kong Hong Kong Baptist University
  • Curro, G., McTaggart, R. (2003). Supporting the
    Pedagogy of Internationalisation. Paper presented
    at the 17thIDP Australian International Education
    Conference. Retrieved 3 March 2008, from
  • Dooley, K. (2001). Re-envisioning teacher
    preparation Lessons from China. Journal of
    Education for teaching, 27(3), 241-251.

  • Gan, Z., Humphreys, G., Hamp-Lyons, L. (2004).
    Understanding successful and unsuccessful EFL
    students in Chinese universities. The Modern
    Language Journal, 88(ii), 229-244.
  • Gibbs, M. (2005, July). Proceed with caution. EL
  • Gieve, S., Clark, R. (2005). 'The Chinese
    approach to learning' Cultural trait or situated
    response? The case of a self-directed learning
    program. System, 33, 261-276.
  • Hiep, P. H. (2007). Communicative language
    teaching Unity within diversity. ELT Journal,
    61(3), 193-201. Holliday, A. (1994). Appropriate
    methodology and social context. Cambridge
    Cambridge University Press.
  • Holliday, A. (2007). Response to ELT and the
    spirit of the times. ELT Journal, 61(4),
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    pedagogical imports The case of communicative
    language teaching in China. Language, Culture and
    Curriculum, 15(2), 93-105.
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    instructional practices A Chinese case for an
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  • Hu, G. (2005b). Professional Development of
    Secondary EFL Teachers Lessons From China
    Electronic Version. Teachers College Record.
    Retrieved 4 June 2007, from http//www.tcrecord.or

  • Jin, L., Cortazzi, M. (2006). Changing
    practices in Chinese cultures of learning.
    Language, Culture and Curriculum, 19(1), 5-20.
  • Liao, X. (2004). Readers Respond (2) The need
    for communicative language teaching in China. ELT
    Journal, 58(3), 270-273.
  • Senior, R., Xu, Z. (2002). East meets West
    Language teachers from different contexts
    discover similar goals. English Australia
    Journal, 19(1), 65-74.
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    a new generation? A questionnaire study of
    Chinese students' culture of learning English.
    Language, Culture and Curriculum, 19(1), 122-147.
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    China Trends and challenges. TESOL Quarterly,
    35(1), 191-194.
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    a secondary school teacher of English in the
    People's Republic of China Challenging the
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    China Progress and resistance. TESOL Quarterly,
    35(1), 194-198.
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    misconceptions and frustrations. Hwa Kang Journal
    of TEFL, 10, 101-114.