Crossing cultures: Teaching Confucian heritage students

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Crossing cultures: Teaching Confucian heritage students. 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 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Crossing cultures: Teaching Confucian heritage students

  • Crossing cultures: Teaching Confucian heritage studentsDr Phiona StanleyLearning and Teaching UnitUniSA

  • Workshop OutlineCultures of learningSocratic and Confucian learning culturesWestern teachers and CHC learnersDealing with learning cultures in contactOur 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)TaiwanVietnamKoreaJapanMalaysiaSingapore

    Most international students at UniSA are from CHCs

    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 inquiryteachers questions construction of knowledgehypothesis testing and elimination forces students to examine own beliefsstudents 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 (parent/child)Role of teachers: students owe strong duties of reverence and service to their teachersTexts are revered; correct answers valuedTo study without thought is labor lost; but thinking without study is dangerous indeed

  • UniSA: learning cultures in contact

  • Cultures of learningtaken-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 learningConfucian heritage students stereotyped as:quiet, passive rote learnersrespectful of teachers / teaching materialsunable or unwilling to think criticallyreluctant 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, 2003; 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 slidesWhat are some differences?Why might there be problems if a learner comes to context 1 from context 2?

  • CELTA training contextGroup work in Australia

  • Typical HE classroom in China

  • Case studies jigsaw reading: Cultures of learning in contactTwo 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:

  • What to do?

  • Our way?

  • Our way (Liao 2004)Methodological universalismEducational researchEvidence-based research as context-blindCultural/educational assimilation model; becoming part of global academic community

    Context specificityCultural resistance?Assumptions about students needs/identitiesUnclear expectations?

  • Students way?

  • Studentsway (Yu, 2001; Zhang, 2004)People do successfully learn with all sorts of teaching methodsIssue of methodological imperialism?Methodological relativism: context approach (Bax, 2003)

    Discredited model of learning transmission; constuctivismWhat about non-CHC students?(Are we any good at Confucian-style teaching?)

  • A third way? (Bjorning-Gyde & Doodgan, 2004; Hu, 2002; Senior & Xu, 2002)Cultural fusion modelsNegotiated third space between two cultures

    Lack of consistency in theoretical underpinning?Teachers/students may lack adaptation skillsExpected graduate qualities of Australian education, e.g. Participation in discussions learned through Socratic-style teaching?

  • Discussion: Potential issuesCan 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 students?How might adaptation (teacher or student) take place?In at the deep end?Gradual accommodation of teaching/learning cultures?

  • Bridging the gapStarts with teacher / learner awarenessPrincipled eclecticismExamination of own and students practicesMake expectations explicit, with rationaleFind out students (perceptions of) future needsHave this discussion with students (.ppt available!)

    What else?

  • References & Further ReadingAtkinson, 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 Cheshire.Bax, S. (2003). The end of CLT: a context approach t language teaching. ELT Journal, 57(3), 278-287.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 Kong.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 Press.Curro, G., & McTaggart, R. (2003). Supporting the Pedagogy of Internationalisation. Paper presented at the 17thIDP Australian International Education Conference. Retrieved 3 March 2008, from, 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 Prospects.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), 360-366.Hu, G. (2002). Potential cultural resistance to pedagogical imports: The case of communicative language teaching in China. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 15(2), 93-105.Hu, G. (2005a). Contextual influences on instructional practices: A Chinese case for an ecological approach to ELT. TESOL Quarterly, 39(4), 635-660.Hu, G. (2005b). Professional Development of Secondary EFL Teachers: Lessons From China [Electronic Version]. Teachers College Record. Retrieved 4 June 2007, from

  • 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.Shi, L. (2006). The successors to Confucianism or a new generation? A questionnaire study of Chinese students' culture of learning English. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 19(1), 122-147.Wu, Y. (2001). English language teaching in China: Trends and challenges. TESOL Quarterly, 35(1), 191-194.Xinmin, Z., & Adamson, B. (2003). The pedagogy of a secondary school teacher of English in the People's Republic of China: Challenging the stereotypes. RELC Journal, 34(3), 323-337.Yu, L. (2001). Communicative language teaching in China: Progress and resistance. TESOL Quarterly, 35(1), 194-198.Zhang, L. (2004). CLT in China: Frustrations, misconceptions and frustrations. Hwa Kang Journal of TEFL, 10, 101-114.