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Learning and Teaching in the Chinese Classroom

Responding to Individual Needs

Shane N. Phillipson, Bick-har Lam

Publication Year: 2011

A major concern of all education authorities around the world is the challenge that schools face in catering for learner diversity. That this concern is shared by authorities in East Asia, including the Education Bureau (EDB) of Hong Kong, is surprising given the high academic achievement of students from this part of the world. This book helps to meet this challenge for teachers in East Asia by focusing on specific research that helps explain the basis for diversity in the Chinese learner. Although there are many textbooks that cover the basic principles of educational psychology, few do not focus on the Chinese learner. This book makes the link between the broad field of educational psychology and how these theories contribute to our understanding of the Chinese learner. This book is unique in that it draws on recent research to illustrate the application of these theories, thereby helping teachers and students in teacher education progammes understand the variability in student achievement. Our book is based on the idea that the Chinese context is in many ways different to other cultural contexts, and that teachers can make a difference to the outcomes of student learning. We also draw on our many years of experience in educating future teachers where our students want us to focus on the Chinese classroom. Our student-teachers also want to be educated by professors who are themselves researchers. In drawing on research about the Chinese learner we also bring to our student-teachers the richness and value of educational research. We also encourage our student-teachers to think of themselves as “professional researchers” in terms of developing an understanding of the research literature and in finding solutions to their classroom problems.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Series: Hong Kong Teacher Education


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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword (Lee)

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pp. ix-xi

Chinese teachers and learners have become an increasingly fruitful focus for educational research, not least because Asia, especially China, has been drawing worldwide attention on account of the unprecedented economic and technological development. Beyond the classical Confucian Heritage Culture, there is a curious ...

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Foreword (Kennedy)

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pp. xiii-xiv

Teachers play a fundamental role in the social and economic development of any society. Their preparation as professionals to meet the challenges of post-modern living is a key priority for both governments and universities. Many changes have taken place in teacher education since the establishment of formal institutions of ...

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pp. xv-xviii

This book is one of a number of volumes in the Hong Kong Teacher Education Series, published by Hong Kong University Press. Our aim is to bridge the gap between a number of theories in educational psychology relating to both learning and teaching, and the Chinese learner; and to do so, we rely on some of the relevant ...

About the authors

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pp. xix-xx

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1. The Contexts of Teaching in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 1-30

This chapter discusses: (a) the philosophical foundations of teaching in the East and West and their relevance to contemporary education; (b) the advantages and degeneration of Confucian education; and (c) the reform of classroom teaching in the twenty-first century in the context of Chinese culture. It aims to develop a solid ...

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2. Constructivist Perspectives on Learning

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pp. 31-61

This chapter considers constructivist perspectives on learning, which involve a shift from viewing learners as responding to external stimuli to seeing them as ‘active in constructing their own knowledge’ and consider that ‘social interactions are important in knowledge construction’ (Bruning et al. 2004). For constructivists, ...

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3. Behavioural Models of Learning

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pp. 63-94

Among the earliest approaches to the study of learning were the observations of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1927) and American psychologist John B. Watson (1930). Pavlov was initially interested in the mechanisms of salivation, using dogs as his experimental animals. Inducing his dogs to salivate was easy—simply feed ...

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4. The Role of Intelligence in the Diversity of Learners

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pp. 95-126

In response to the publication of The Bell Curve (Herrnstein and Murray 1994), an American Psychological Association taskforce published a review on the general field of intelligence (Neisser et al. 1996). They based their review on the following grounds: ...

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5. The Role of Creativity in the Diversity of Learners

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pp. 127-143

Most psychologists consider that creativity and intelligence are very different concepts. However, there are many definitions of creativity and many different approaches to researching it, which sometimes makes it a confusing area to study—though several of the publications cited in this chapter can help to reduce some of the confusion. ...

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6. Understanding the Development of the Self

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pp. 145-173

In psychology, self-development refers to a wide range of knowledge, encompassing physiological, psychosocial, psychoanalytic, personality and learning theories. This chapter aims to develop a general understanding of how learners perceive themselves through the processes of socialization, environmental interaction and self-concept ...

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7. Motivation and Effective Learning among Chinese Learners

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pp. 175-202

Think about how you would feel if you were asked unexpectedly to sing in front of a class of Secondary 2 students. Although you are taking singing lessons, you may feel a little nervous because you do not have much experience of singing in public. On the other hand, you are curious about how it would feel to sing in front of an ...

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8. Language Development of Chinese Learners

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pp. 203-229

This chapter describes the development of first language (L1) and second language (L2), and the relationship that exists between language development and the acquisition of knowledge. Many textbooks on educational psychology include sections on the broad relationship between language and cognitive development, ...

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9. The Social Context of Learning

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pp. 231-262

To understand the complete range of factors that influence learning, it is important to consider the social context of learning—that is, the broad group of external factors that either contribute to or inhibit student learning, especially in relation to academic achievement. These factors are in the environment, external to the student. ...

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10. Teachers as Researchers and Teacher Development

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pp. 265-290

This chapter, which outlines the roles of teachers in the twenty-first century, will help readers develop a personal orientation towards teacher development and lead them to understand the professional capacity of teachers in these challenging times. The chapter focuses on professional teachers in East Asia, particularly in countries ...

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11. Lesson Planning, Assessment and Learning

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pp. 291-341

This chapter discusses lesson planning, learning and assessment and the impact of educational reforms on classroom teaching and learning. As the central theme of this book is the importance of recognizing the diversity of learners, the chapter therefore focuses on helping teachers to meet society’s expectations as they support ...


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pp. 343-354


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pp. 355-381


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pp. 383-393

E-ISBN-13: 9789888053926
Print-ISBN-13: 9789888083428

Page Count: 352
Illustrations: b/w
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Hong Kong Teacher Education