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Teaching and Learning in Chinese Higher Education



Since the entry of twenty-first century, Chinese higher education has gone through immense and rigorous changes in quite a few aspects, such as speedy and substantial increase in enrollments, educational resources relocation, and an emphasis on internationalization. Many of these higher education reforms are initiated and issued by Chinese government in pursuit of building more world-class universities. Accompanied by these changes, some shifts in teaching and learning have also emerged in Chinese higher education. Even if these shifts are not nationwide phenomena, they may represent a trend that deserves interpretation. This chapter focuses on some major shifts in teaching and learning within Chinese higher education context in the last two decades and discusses the potential reasons and implications.
Teaching and Learning in
Chinese Higher Education
Chang Zhu
, Chun Cao
and Qian Meng
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussel, Belgium
Changchun University of Science and
Technology, Changchun, Jilin, China
Since the entry of twenty-rst century, Chinese
higher education has gone through immense and
rigorous changes in quite a few aspects, such
as speedy and substantial increase in enrollments,
educational resources relocation, and an emphasis
on internationalization. Many of these higher
education reforms are initiated and issued by Chi-
nese government in pursuit of building more
world-class universities. Accompanied by these
changes, some shifts in teaching and learning
have also emerged in Chinese higher education.
Even if these shifts are not nationwide phenom-
ena, they may represent a trend that deserves
interpretation. This chapter focuses on some
major shifts in teaching and learning within Chi-
nese higher education context in the last two
decades and discusses the potential reasons and
Characteristics in Chinese (Traditional)
Teaching and Learning
In a society, education and its many manifesta-
tions do not exist in isolation but closely relate
to the societal and cultural environments (Ozer
2015). Chinese students are largely brought up
in collectivism cultures and Confucian ideals.
Hofstede (2001) identied six national cultural
dimensions, among which the dimension of col-
lectivism versus individualism is often researched
together with the dimension of power distance,
particularly in terms of cross-cultural education.
In comparison to many Western countries, China
is rated rather high in both collectivism and power
distance. Chinese students from collectivism cul-
tures are often regarded to obey teachers, engage
less in class discussions and activities, and tend to
avoid the attention of teachers. Of relevance, Chi-
nese students from cultures characterized by high
power distance tend to view it as an inappropriate
behavior to question and challenge teachers and
instead behave rather respectfully in response to
the instructors. In collectivism cultures, it is
highly valued to pursue harmonious relationships
among group members in a given community.
This can also be reected in studentteacher rela-
tionship in that Chinese students usually do as
much as they can to maintain good relationships
#Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018
M. A. Peters (ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory,
... For academic personnel, stressors include high pressure to publish and taskrole balance management put extra burden on their shoulders (Graça et al., 2020). This situation can be even harsher for Chinese university teachers due to the ambition of building more worldclass universities (Zhu et al., 2018;. According to a survey conducted among Chinese university teachers in 2013, more than 36% of young teachers reported that they were facing great stress, and job stress has been a critical negative factor affecting their job satisfaction (Liu and Zhou, 2016). ...
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Utilizing the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model as the theoretical framework, this study examines the relationship between job stress, job burnout, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment among 1,906 university teachers in China, and investigates teachers' differences across groups. The result of SEM indicates that job burnout and job satisfaction could play mediating roles between job stress and organizational commitment. The result of multi-group analysis shows that for national university teachers, the positive effect of job stress on job burnout is the highest among three types of university teachers, the negative effect of job burnout on organizational commitment is lower compared with provincial university teachers and the negative effect of job burnout on job satisfaction is lower compared with provincial university teachers. Only for provincial university teachers, the job stress can significantly positively predict organizational commitment, and the independent mediating effect of job burnout is significantly greater than job satisfaction. The practical advice to enhance Chinese university teachers' organizational commitment was provided in the end.
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The Section of Higher Education in China in the Encyclopedia of Educational Phi-losophy and Theory has been completed and published online by the publisher — Springer. The Section is edited by Fengqiao Yan and Yuzhuo Cai upon the invita-tion by Michael Peters, the editor of Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. The Section introduces contemporary higher education in China in multiple aspects and provides a critical analysis of the challenges in the development of Chinese higher education. The Section consists of 11 chapters, which are briefly in-troduced as follows.
Utilizing the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) as the theoretical framework, this study proposed a moderated mediation model investigating the complex functioning mechanisms of how self-efficacy beliefs and leader support can be related to research motivation among Chinese university teachers. A group of 310 Chinese teachers working in different universities completed an online survey. Results from structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis revealed distinct influencing paths from the predictor variables (i.e., self-efficacy and leader support) to the outcome variables (i.e., intrinsic and extrinsic research motivation). Specifically, self-efficacy beliefs predicted both mastery and performance goal orientations; mastery goal orientation, in turn, positively affected intrinsic and extrinsic research motivation. In contrast, leader support was non-significant for the both types of goal orientations, but exerted strong direct influences on the both types of research motivation. Bootstrapping methods in SEM showed that it was primarily the mastery goal orientation that mediated the relationships between self-efficacy beliefs and research motivation. Furthermore, the results from the SEM and simple slope analysis revealed that leader support moderated the association between self-efficacy and extrinsic research motivation.
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Despite the upsurge in interest in e-learning (or online learning) in Chinese higher education, little is known about the ways in which lecturers design and run their online courses, or about how they perceive e-learning. This paper reports the results of interviews with higher education teachers in China working in conventional, campus-based universities, concerning their conceptions and beliefs of e-learning. The interviews were analysed from a grounded theory perspective that gave rise to seven emerging themes, namely: the ‘centrality of the lecture’, ‘online cooperative learning’, ‘network learning’, ‘student learning’, ‘lecture plus online work’, ‘infrastructure and access’ and ‘professional development’. Discussion of these emerging themes helps us understand the ways in which these teachers think about e-learning and teaching, the beliefs they hold about their ‘e’ practice, the ways in which they implement e-learning, the problems they face in incorporating e-learning into their courses and the ways in which they perceive e-learners. This provides a fascinating and unique insight into e-learning in Chinese higher education. Evidence shows that it is a complex area with many influences, some of which can be attributed to social, cultural and Confucian-heritage factors. It is concluded that, despite enthusiasm by some for innovating e-learning, the dominance of traditional teaching methods in China suggest that the conditions for mainstreaming e-learning in the near future are not strong.
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One of the major current issues in education is the question of why Chinese and East Asian students are outperforming those from Western countries. Research into the approaches to learning of Chinese students revealed the existence of intermediate approaches, combining memorising and understanding, which were distinct from rote learning. At the time, research into the paradox of the Chinese learner was content to establish that the approaches were not consistent with a surface approach and there was, therefore, no reason to anticipate the inferior learning outcomes associated with the approach. This article takes the analysis further to discuss whether the intermediate approaches could be advantageous for academic performance and could contribute to the superior performance, especially in mathematics, of Chinese students. Learning approaches are re-formulated as a continuum between pure surface and deep poles characterised by the presence of understanding and memorisation in the intention and stra...
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The global drive for world-class universities is twinned with a radical movement to create research assessment indicators, and universities have never been pressured as much as today by global rankings. This paper aims to focus on how research assessment exercises have reconfigured the institutional missions of the university in terms of knowledge production, teaching, and service address, by comparing three top research-intensive universities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Japan. It critically investigates how far and in what ways academics in the three systems have been pressured to respond to these exercises. The empirical findings show that all the three cases have been affected severely and that Hong Kong universities are the most internationalized and Mainland universities are the most productive in research outputs, as also evidenced in recent QS rankings. The paper argues that the global ranking regime has created a Double Bind for East Asian universities, and has brutally dominated their institutional reconfigurations. To turn the tide, the manipulated emphasis, flawed methodology, and unethical desirability of global university rankings and research assessment exercises should be avoided to help universities healthily and meaningfully focus on real missions to which they should commit themselves. Meanwhile, critical reflections and policy actions are particularly urgent on the indigenousness of knowledge exploration and production by higher education systems in East Asia and other post-colonial contexts. Furthermore, the paper anticipates that the importance of teaching and service will be revitalized in the new stage of East Asian universities, e.g., the Chinese University 3.0.
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Previous studies have provided evidence that learner autonomy is an important factor in academic achievement. However, few studies have investigated the autonomy of distance education students in e-learning environments. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the e-learning autonomy of distance education students who are responsible for their own learning. For this purpose, as the first step of the study, an e-learning autonomy scale was developed. Analyses of the validity and reliability of the scale were carried out with the participation of 1,152 distance education students from Anadolu University, Open Education System. The scale has an internal consistency coefficient of α = 0.952 and a single factorial model that explains 66.58% of the total variance. The scale was implemented with 3,293 students from 42 different programs. According to the findings, student autonomy in e-learning environments is directly proportional to level of ICT use but not affected by program or gender.
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Over the past decades, the internationalization of higher education in China has had considerable achievements, and has contributed to the current transformation of the Chinese system into one of the largest and arguably most promising ones in the world. Setting the Chinese experience in an international context, this article assesses the latest developments. It argues that China's internationalization of higher education is part of a much larger process of cultural integration between China and the West. From this perspective, it concludes that although China's recent developments deserve to be noted, China has a considerable distance to go before its aspirations to create truly world-class universities are fulfilled.
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The number of international students engaging in intercultural education and thereby adjusting to cross-cultural transition has risen conspicuously as a consequence of globalization and increased mobility. This process of acculturation has been associated with increased creativity as well as adaptation challenges. This paper investigates international students' psychological and sociocultural adjustment to studying at Aarhus University in Denmark. Both international students (n = 129) and domestic students (n = 111) participated in the study. The international students did not report impaired psychological conditions as compared to the control group of domestic students. However, the international students reported a significantly lower level of social support. Social support and perceived discrimination were significant predictors of both psychological and sociocultural adjustment. Additionally, the level of English proficiency alone predicted sociocultural adjustment. Values of vertical individualism and horizontal collectivism predicted psychological adjustment. Finally, integration was found to be a significantly more adaptive acculturation orientation than separation in regard to sociocultural adjustment. These findings were discussed in relation to relevant international research and it was concluded that international students comprise a resourceful student sample and that the international academic environment at Aarhus University appears to be an adequately cultural and value-oriented good fit as a context of reception for the multicultural engagement of international students.
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In this paper, we examine the local conceptions, interpretations, and implementations of internationalization at one Chinese higher education institution, to provide a more complex and nuanced understanding of internationalization in the globalizing educational context. In particular, we explore the analytical capacity of Marginson and Rhoades High Educ 43(3), 281–309, (2002) glonacal (global + national + local) agency heuristic by examining the local “layers and conditions” of our research site. We found two local conceptions, Xue Shu Feng Qi (a Mandarin phrase relating to the academic culture) and Jie Gui (a metaphor for internationalization) were used by local actors in relation to the inbound and outbound flows of scholars and disciplinary norms that influenced the global and national reputation of the department. We interpret these local concepts as salient “layers and conditions” of the glonacal agency heuristic, providing an empirical example to more fully understand the theoretical implications of this perspective in higher education research.
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Among the factors influencing learners' learning, instrumental motivation, critical thinking and autonomy are thought to be of crucial importance. The present study, thus, set out to investigate relationships between instrumental motivation, critical thinking, autonomy and academic achievement of Iranian EFL learners. To this end, 100 Iranian learners majoring in English language were selected as the participants in the study. For data collection purposes, the participants filled out two questionnaires; one on instrumental motivation, adapted from Kimura, Nakata and Okumura (2001), Carreira (2004), and Takagi (2003), and factors analysed, and another on autonomy developed by Cotterall (1995; 1999). They then sat the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) form B. The participants' GPAs were also requested and collected. The results of multiple correlation analyses revealed that autonomy correlated significantly highly with academic achievement, followed by instrumental motivation and critical thinking, which stood at the second and third places respectively. The results of the multiple correlation analyses also revealed that the relationships between critical thinking and autonomy, and instrumental motivation and autonomy were significant, but critical thinking and instrumental motivation did not correlate significantly. The results of multiple regression analyses revealed that among the independent variables of the study, critical thinking was a significantly stronger predictor of academic achievement, with autonomy and instrumental motivation coming second and third respectively. The implications of the study are discussed.
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A questionnaire was sent to the heads of internationalization in the business schools of all U.K. universities. Sixty-five replies were received. The document covered, inter alia, the internationalization activities undertaken by the respondents’ schools, the intensities with which internationalization had been implemented, motives for internationalizing, approaches adopted (gradualistic vs. simultaneous), possible links with graduate employability, and the role of innate predilections toward internationalization held by senior business school managers. A schematic model intended to explain the speed, extent, and intensity of a business school’s internationalization was developed and tested. It transpired that levels of internationalization activity within the sample institutions were substantial. The degree and/or speed of internationalization within a business school appeared to depend significantly on the financial situation of the host university, managerial inclinations favoring internationalization, financial dependence on foreign students, the desire to attract greater numbers of students from overseas, the size of the business school and the age of its host university, and the belief among senior managers that an internationalized curriculum improved the employment and career prospects of British born as well as foreign students.
The Second Edition of this classic work, first published in 1981 and an international bestseller, explores the differences in thinking and social action that exist among members of more than 50 modern nations. Geert Hofstede argues that people carry "mental programs" which are developed in the family in early childhood and reinforced in schools and organizations, and that these programs contain components of national culture. They are expressed most clearly in the different values that predominate among people from different countries. Geert Hofstede has completely rewritten, revised and updated Cultures Consequences for the twenty-first century, he has broadened the book's cross-disciplinary appeal, expanded the coverage of countries examined from 40 to more than 50, reformulated his arguments and a large amount of new literature has been included. The book is structured around five major dimensions: power distance; uncertainty avoidance; individualism versus collectivism; masculinity versus femininity; and long term versus short-term orientation. --Publisher.