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Challenging the Western stereotype: Do Chinese International Foundation students learn by rote?

Mathias, J.; Bruce, M.; Newton, D.P.

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Abstract

The dissonance between Eastern and Western learning approaches is regarded as an obstacle for Chinese students in adjusting to Western education environments, and one of the reasons is the lack of an understanding of Chinese learning approaches, that is, Chinese learners are uncritically perceived as rote learners. This paper investigates Chinese international foundation students’ learning approaches when they were in China and here in the UK. Their experiences indicate that, similarly to UK students, Chinese students learn with the intention of understanding, they use memorisation only when they fail to understand or have examination pressure. Consequently, Chinese students adjust well to Western teaching styles. Some difficulties they experienced in classrooms are due to language problems and a lack of understanding of Western cultural backgrounds and expectations. Moreover, similarly to UK students who leave home for the first time, the greatest challenge is to develop self-regulated learning. The paper argues that, although Eastern and Western teaching styles are significantly different, students’ underlying learning approaches can be similar in China and the West.

Citation

Mathias, J., Bruce, M., & Newton, D. (2013). Challenging the Western stereotype: Do Chinese International Foundation students learn by rote?. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 18(3), 221-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/13596748.2013.819257

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 22, 2012
Publication Date Sep 5, 2013
Deposit Date Aug 15, 2013
Publicly Available Date Mar 31, 2015
Journal Research in Post-Compulsory Education
Print ISSN 1359-6748
Electronic ISSN 1747-5112
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 3
Pages 221-238
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/13596748.2013.819257
Keywords Understanding, Memorising, Learn by rote, Chinese students, Academic adjustment.

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