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Frontiers of Education in China

ISSN 1673-341X (Print)
ISSN 1673-3533 (Online)
CN 11-5741/G4
Postal Subscription Code 80-979


, Volume 15 Issue 2

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Research article
Political Culture and Higher Education Governance in Chinese Societies: Some Reflections
Front. Educ. China. 2020, 15 (2): 187-221.
Abstract   PDF (310KB)

Over the past decades, higher education governance and university management have become increasingly complex worldwide in a context of unprecedented expansion and diversification. Driven by both external and internal pressures, higher education reforms in different nations have often been reported to follow a similar pattern: shifting from the control model to the supervisory model in nearly all aspects of their relationship with universities. While such a trend in Chinese societies has been well documented in the literature, few people have been able to identify the sticking point of higher education governance there. As a result, the concept of a doomed cycle continues to linger obstinately, viewing power delegation as leading to market disorder which, in turn, leads to tighter control. This article points out the neglect of Confucian political culture and its importance for studies of higher education governance reforms in Chinese societies. It aims to demonstrate that Western theories of and approaches to governance and autonomy in higher education cannot be simply applied to other societies of highly different historical and cultural traditions. By so doing, it attempts to shed some light on debates over governance and autonomy in higher education in a much wider context.

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Ecological Pushes and Pulls on Women Academics’ Pursuit of Research in China
Front. Educ. China. 2020, 15 (2): 222-249.
Abstract   PDF (314KB)

Women academics reportedly exhibit lower research productivity than males. This study first quantitatively explored gender differences in research output based on a survey among 309 Chinese academics teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). Qualitative data obtained through interviews with seven female respondents were analyzed from an ecological perspective. Results showed significant gender differences in domestic publication but no such differences in international publication. Women academics’ pursuit of research was influenced by many factors from and beyond the microsystems of workplace and family, and their coping strategies included soliciting help from seasoned colleagues, attending academic conferences, and joining online communities. The findings highlight the institutional supportive practices and familial environment that are equally important in promoting women academics’ professional development.

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Examining Chinese EFL Postgraduates’ Motivational Regulation Strategies
YAN Chunmei, GAO Yuanyuan, HE Chuanjun
Front. Educ. China. 2020, 15 (2): 250-278.
Abstract   PDF (317KB)

This study set out to explore non-English major postgraduates’ use of motivational regulation strategies in English learning. Subjects for this study were 156 Chinese postgraduates studying in a national teacher education university in central China. A self-reported questionnaire and individual semi-structured interviews were complementarily employed to gather data. The non-English major postgraduates were found to have adopted ten types of strategy to regulate their motivation for learning English, but that these strategies were used infrequently. It was also found that despite the general absence of significant difference, the few that could be ascertained were associated with gender, specialty, and grade. The results suggest a need to provide motivation regulation strategies training, and nurture students’ intrinsic English learning motivation through curricular, instructional and assessment reforms.

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Higher Education Expansion, Selections Based on Non-Cognitive Abilities and Gender Differences: The Case of China
YANG Ying, NIU Xinchun, YANG Fei, HU Pingping
Front. Educ. China. 2020, 15 (2): 279-312.
Abstract   PDF (969KB)

We assess how implicit selections based on non-cognitive abilities may have changed in the context of the great higher education expansion in China, applying the classic supply-demand framework and utilizing the Big Five personality model. Using the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) data from 2012, difference-in-difference (DID), difference-in-difference-in-difference (DDD) and descriptive analyses establish the following three major findings. First, from the generation entering college before the expansion—post-70s—to the generation entering college after the expansion—post-80s and post-90s—implicit selections in higher education based on personality have weakened with the increased supply of higher education opportunities. Second, selections have significantly weakened in terms of the openness dimension of personality, yet there is some evidence that selections have strengthened in terms of conscientiousness. This reflects that open-mindedness has become a relatively higher supply trait and conscientiousness has become a relatively lower supply trait among members of the post-90s generation. Third, selections have weakened only on the openness dimension for males, but on multiple dimensions beginning with agreeableness for females, reflecting a greatly increased supply of higher education opportunities for females with this dominant trait. The finding on strengthened selections based on conscientiousness has important implications for what and how to educate today’s college students.

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Study Abroad Experience and Career Decision-Making: A Qualitative Study of Chinese Students
WU Yihan
Front. Educ. China. 2020, 15 (2): 313-331.
Abstract   PDF (219KB)

This research explores factors influencing Chinese overseas students’ career decision-making. Based on the social cognitive career theory, a semi-structured interview schedule was devised to qualitatively investigate how Chinese students evaluated different factors and coped with career decision-making while studying abroad. The interview transcripts were addressed using thematic analysis. Family influences, overseas social life, and personal improvement were found to be the three key factors in shaping Chinese overseas students’ career decision-making. Moreover, close interconnections were found among the three factors, and these had a combined impact on the decision-making process. The findings highlight the importance of a positive study abroad experience and its impact on international students’ career decision-making.

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Efficacy Perceptions of Preservice and Inservice Teachers in China: Insights Concerning Culture and Measurement
Front. Educ. China. 2020, 15 (2): 332-368.
Abstract   PDF (374KB)

This study comprises the second stage of a research program in which sense of efficacy for teaching (SET) was investigated in Chinese mainland preservice and inservice teachers (PSTs and ISTs, respectively). Scores on SET were calculated and described, and SET comparisons were made between and within PSTs and ISTs. Relative to PSTs, ISTs had higher SET; within both the PSTs and IST samples there were no gender differences; but among ISTs there were some associations of SET with years of teaching, teacher roles, and whether the schools were categorized as advanced or standard. Tentative comparisons are drawn concerning SET in Chinese and Western contexts, and recommendations are made concerning effective measurement of teacher sense of efficacy in China and elsewhere.

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6 articles