Frontiers of Education in China

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


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Equity, Resilience, and Achievements in High Performing Asian Education Systems
Wing-On LEE,Chenri HUI,LOW Ee Ling
Front. Educ. China.  2016, 11 (3): 267-271. 3868/s110-005-016-0023-5
Abstract   PDF (116KB)
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Reciprocal Learning between Canada and China in Teacher Education and School Education: Partnership Studies of Practice in Cultural Context
Shijing XU, F. Michael CONNELLY
Front. Educ. China.  2017, 12 (2): 135-150.
Abstract   PDF (236KB)

In this introduction we describe the purpose and structure of the Canada–China Reciprocal Learning in Teacher Education and School Education Partnership Grant Project sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2013?2020, and describe the project’s practice-based methodology along with a discussion of selected preliminary results. The papers presented in this special issue of Frontiers of Education in China animate our discussion by bringing forward important school-based activities and results. The heart of this work is the collaborative activity and voices of Chinese and Canadian educators. We illustrate our concept of reciprocal learning and how we apply this concept in our Partnership Grant Project. We believe that we have heavily benefited from the productive work and impact that has been made in the field of comparative education and we have put our emphasis on Reciprocal Learning as Collaborative Partnership throughout our project.

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Educational equity and institutional safeguards —an analysis of compulsory education for Chinese rural migrant workers’ children
FAN Xianzuo , PENG Pai
Front. Educ. China.  2008, 3 (3): 321-330.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (197KB)
The educational inequity of rural workers’ children is a unique social problem in the transition stage of China. Based on the specific survey in such provinces as Hubei, Henan, Anhui, and other provinces, a conclusion can be drawn that the reasons for the educational inequity of rural worker’s children are very complicated, among which the system is the most essential factor. Therefore, institutional safeguards should be provided to realize the education equity of rural worker’s children.
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Study on life education for college students —a survey on students in Guangzhou
XIAO Xingyan
Front. Educ. China.  2008, 3 (3): 448-459.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (216KB)
Due to the social environment of China’s reform and opening up, as well as China’s education system with knowledge impartation as its focus, some college students lack the humanistic care and education of value and significance of life. Universities should plan effective activities to make students realize the importance of life. They should provide students with such education as life conscience, failures in life, the ability to make a living and the values of life in order to have a clearer knowledge of life education, so that the students can set up a positive, healthy and correct life view, realize the value and meaning of life, and finally learn to respect life.
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China in the Center: What Will It Mean for Global Education?
Front. Educ. China.  2017, 12 (1): 3-28. 3868/s110-006-017-0002-8
Abstract   PDF (305KB)

This paper begins by reflecting on the significance of the 16th World Congress of Comparative Education Societies which was held at Beijing Normal University (BNU) in August 2016. Part I focuses on China’s experience in educational development since the late 1970s, and the support provided by organizations such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the World Bank, which facilitated the rapid restoration of China’s universities after the Cultural Revolution and supported a dramatic social and economic transformation. Part II goes on to profile China’s rich educational civilization and suggests that the normal university is uniquely suited to bringing that to a wider world. Part III overviews China’s programs of support for educational development in Africa and Southeast Asia, and suggests that these embody forms of dialogue and reciprocity that have the potential to open up refreshingly new approaches to educational thought and practice in the global arena.

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Chinese Teachers’ Professional Identity and Beliefs about the Teacher-Student Relationships in an Intercultural Context
Li WANG,Xiangyun DU
Front. Educ. China.  2014, 9 (3): 429-455.
Abstract   PDF (264KB)

This paper presents a qualitative study of immigrant Chinese teachers’ professional identity and beliefs about the teacher-student relationship in an intercultural context. Theoretically, this study takes its departure from a sociocultural perspective on understanding professional identity. The empirical analysis in the study drew mainly upon ethnographic interviews with a group of Chinese language teachers in Denmark concerning their life experiences, perceptions, and beliefs. The results of this study suggest that teachers’ beliefs about their roles as teachers and about student-teacher relationships are shaped by both their prior experiences and backgrounds and the current social and cultural contexts in which they are situated. Changes of context (e.g., from China to Denmark) often lead to a transformation of their professional identity and beliefs. Being a teacher in an intercultural context often exposes them to the confrontation of diverse challenges and dilemmas. On one hand, teachers in this study generally experienced a transformation from being a moral role model, subject expert, authority and parental role to being a learning facilitator and culture worker. On the other hand, they developed diverse individualized coping strategies to handle student-teacher interactions and other aspects of teachers’ professional identity.

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Opportunities and Barriers: Gendered Reality in Chinese Higher Education
Bohong Liu, Yani Li,
Front. Educ. China.  2010, 5 (2): 197-221.
Abstract   PDF (315KB)
In the field of Chinese higher education, gender is still a significant issue, as is a general ignorance of gender discrimination against women. Issues related to gender can be observed throughout the process of education: at the time of entering an institution, during the educational process and as an outcome of education. The following seven aspects of sexual discrimination occur in Chinese higher education system: (1) Fewer opportunities for women in higher education than for men; (2) within disciplines and specializations there exists the phenomena of gender segregation and diffluence; (3) considerable gender difference exists in the distribution of school resources; (4) teaching materials and teaching content are gender discriminatory; (5) within higher education institutions, student organizations have a degree of gender imbalance; (6) campus culture has a hidden agenda of gender discrimination; and (7) employment prospects for women tend to be unequal and discriminatory.
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China’s Strategy for the Internationalization of Higher Education: An Overview
Front. Educ. China.  2014, 9 (2): 151-162.
Abstract   PDF (201KB)

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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Configuration of the Teacher–State Relationship: The Shanghai Experience
ZHAO Zhenzhou,ZHU Zhiyong,RUAN Linyan
Front. Educ. China.  2016, 11 (3): 322-337. 3868/s110-005-016-0026-6
Abstract   PDF (226KB)

As one of the most prominent cases of high performing education systems in Asia, Shanghai has received widespread attention in recent years. The existing literature has shown that the formation of a high performing education system in Shanghai is closely associated with the high-quality teaching force. The purpose of this paper is to explore the experience of Shanghai in configuring the teacher–state relationship and building the teaching profession against China’s background of centralized education. Our analysis was framed around three key actors that have reshaped the relationship between teachers and State in the post-Mao era, including the establishment of teaching as a profession, schools, and the labor market. Based on policy analysis and empirical evidence from Shanghai, the research findings indicate Shanghai’s own experience in building the teaching profession, teachers’ professional well-being, and other subjective perceptions related to school management and the labor market.

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Balanced development of compulsory education: Cornerstone of education equity
ZENG Tianshan, DENG Youchao, YANG Runyong, ZUO Xiaomei, CHU Zhaohui, LI Xiejing
Front. Educ. China.  2007, 2 (4): 469-493.
Abstract   PDF (377KB)
Balanced development of compulsory education is not only the cornerstone of education equity, but also the fundamental part for realizing a harmonious society. There have been several achievements in balancing the development of compulsory education in China, such as narrowing the gaps in compulsory education between rural, urban, and other areas. However, the development of compulsory education is still confronted with several issues, including the gaps between rural and urban schools, the gaps between teacher’s situations in rural and urban area, higher drop-out rates of rural compulsory education than that of the national average level, etc. Based on the analysis of these issues and reasons, the suggestions for the policy-makers are as follows: (1) it must be further clarified that governments at all levels must take all responsibilities for the balanced development of compulsory education so as to integrate local authorities’ input and the central government’s subsidies; (2) the allocation mechanism of resources for compulsory education should be set up with qualitative and fair growth  as its aim; (3) The quality standard for compulsory education based on the national curriculum standard should be worked out for playing the role of quality inspection in the fair development of compulsory education, and a relevant system of responsibility should also be established; (4) A national unified card for compulsory education should be adopted, which would help abolish extra fees for non-permanent-resident students receiving compulsory education in other places and (5) civilian-sponsored schools should be encouraged to offer compulsory education.
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Exploring Relationship between Teaching Practice and Student Learning: Comparative Analysis Using Large Data Bases
Front. Educ. China.  2014, 9 (4): 475-492.
Abstract   PDF (217KB)

This special issue introduction specifies several rationales for its focus on the relationship between teaching practice and student learning. Worldwide teaching reforms show some converging policy patterns with shared assumptions around the role of teaching practices in shaping students’ learning outcomes as their bases. These assumptions and policy patterns are seriously challenged by various countering arguments and critiques. Such a contentious situation demands extensive and solid empirical knowledge for its productive resolution at a conceptual level and for guiding the development of the relevant teaching reforms in different countries. However, such knowledge is not available readily in the exiting literature, which is fragmented and limited, with few studies based on large databases from a comparative perspective involving non-Western countries and regions. It goes on to introduce four studies in the special issue that use international databases and comparative analyses involving different countries/regions and highlights their contributions to the much-needed empirical knowledge. Finally, it calls for further and more extensive research along this line of empirical exploration.

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Being Chinese or Being Different: Chinese Undergraduates’ Use of Discourses of Chineseness
Gillian SKYRME
Front. Educ. China.  2014, 9 (3): 303-326.
Abstract   PDF (355KB)

Myths about “the Chinese learner” developed from an outsider perspective abound in the Western world. The focus of this article, however, is how discourses of Chineseness were used by the Chinese international students themselves who, as undergraduate students in a New Zealand university, were the subjects of my doctoral research. It examines the students’ notions of Chineseness and how these served in explaining their own narratives, either through identifying with, or distancing themselves from, “Chinese” traits, indicating alternatively a shared experience of the challenges of the new academic culture, or marking themselves out as having a special ability to thrive within it. Whichever way they used them, the discourses seemed to serve a purpose of fortifying their sense of identity and membership. By the end of their study, they were able to reflect carefully on their experiences and discuss new third space identities in which both Chinese and New Zealand values were forging new realities for them.

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China’s New National Curriculum Reform: Innovation, challenges and strategies
GUAN Qun, MENG Wanjin
Front. Educ. China.  2007, 2 (4): 579-604.
Abstract   PDF (344KB)
This paper presents systematically China’s New National Curriculum Reform (CNNCR). It covers the background, origin, essence, goals, features, evolvement, schedule, implementation, the alignment in primary, secondary and middle schools’ curricula and inter-subjects, the outcomes and the challenges and strategies of CNNCR.
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Social class differences in parent educational expectations: The relationship between parents’ social status and their expectations for children’s education
YANG Chunhua
Front. Educ. China.  2007, 2 (4): 568-578.
Abstract   PDF (299KB)
To achieve the overall goals and purposes of education is closely related to the living environments of students. Different family backgrounds will put children into a situation where they face unfair competition. According to a survey conducted in China’s Urumqi and Changchun about parents’ awareness of educating their children, this paper will suggest that families with different backgrounds have different expectations for their children’s education. Moreover, it suggests that parents’ social status is related to their children’s education expectations. Therefore, we can find that parents’ social status influences their children’s education, and their positions in social class are related to education.
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Rural left-behind children’s academic psychology in Western China and the school management countermeasures
YAO Jihai , MAO Yaqing
Front Educ Chin.  2008, 3 (4): 535-546.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (202KB)

Left-behind children refer to those left behind by parents working away from home and taken care of by only one of the parents or relatives because one or both of the parents go out to work in the city. By using questionnaires, this study involves 8 627 rural pupils chosen from 10 provinces to examine academic psychological characteristics, containing academic self-concept, teacher-student relationship and the student attitudes towards school; and then it discusses the school management countermeasures. The results show: (1) children living with parents have the best academic performances; (2) children left behind with both parents working out show better than those living with one of the parents on academic psychological performance; and (3) children left behind with only one of the parents working out performs the worst, especially when only living with the father. Therefore, much more attention should be paid to those children.

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The Influences of the Chinese Modern Family Changes on the Socialization of Children
Wang Chenggang, Liu Dan
Front. Educ. China.  2006, 1 (1): 161-167.
Abstract   PDF (105KB)
This article mainly introduces the contemporary changes in Chinese family and especially analyses the transformation of family structure and type, family housing conditions, family relationship network, the relationship between husband and wife and parenthood. In addition, it discusses the influence of family changes in the socialization of children. Then it expounds the new transformation in children s socialization because of family, school, mass media, etc. Finally, it discusses its challenge and reflection to family and pedagogue.
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BRICS and International Collaborations in Higher Education in India
Front. Educ. China.  2015, 10 (1): 46-65. 3868/s110-004-015-0004-4
Abstract   PDF (226KB)

International cooperation and collaborations played an important role in the economic and educational development of several countries. In the 1950s and 1960s external aid was an important modality to establish cooperation between countries, especially between developing and developed countries. Cross-border activities in higher education used to take place mostly through cooperation projects and academic exchange programmes. The political returns to aid declined during the post-cold war period. Therefore, incentives to extend aid declined and markets and trade became more accepted modes of cooperation and collaboration in all sectors including education. International collaborations of today are very often motivated by economic incentives and are mediated through markets. The franchising and twinning arrangements, establishment of branch campuses, and promotion of cross-border student mobility are examples of market-based collaborative efforts in higher education. This paper discusses Indian cooperation and collaborations with foreign institutions focusing also on such efforts among the BRICS countries. It argues that the collaboration efforts among the BRICS countries may be more influenced by government-to-government efforts than mediated by markets. The paper shows that the BRICS countries at present are more engaged in cooperation and collaborations in higher education with developed countries. Collaborations among the BRICS countries are rather limited and are still at the nascent stages. Therefore, government initiatives and public action are needed at this stage to promote cooperation and expand collaboration in higher education among BRICS countries.

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Achieving Equity and Quality in Japanese Elementary Schools: Balancing the Roles of State, Teachers, and Students
Front. Educ. China.  2016, 11 (3): 272-298. 3868/s110-005-016-0024-2
Abstract   PDF (305KB)

The aim of this paper is to explore perspectives on equity, quality, motivation, and resilience by focusing in depth on the perspectives of educators in one small, semi-rural school in Japan. The paper is intended to provide rich, in-depth data and discussion as a way of providing insights from different perspectives into findings from large-scale international assessments. The two key questions addressed in the paper are, (1) How are equity and quality achieved and maintained in Japanese elementary schools? and (2) How are student motivation and resilience perceived and fostered in Japanese elementary schools? These questions are addressed through analysis of key official documents related to the questions, together with analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with education professionals working in an elementary school. The paper will contribute to understanding the perspectives of teachers in a particular school context in Japan on the roles of state, teachers, and children themselves in the task of achieving and maintaining equity and quality in a high performing education system.

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Leaning toward the Centers: International Networking at China’s Five C9 League Universities
Front. Educ. China.  2015, 10 (1): 66-90. 3868/s110-004-015-0005-1
Abstract   PDF (1210KB)

Scholarly relations between developed and developing countries have long been characterized by imbalances and asymmetries. The “centers” in the North give direction, provide models, produce research and function as the pinnacles of the academic system while institutions in developing countries copy their development from the “centers.” Recently, the academic world is becoming more multi-polarized, forcing a reconsideration of traditional concepts and theories. China is a good example. One effective approach has been to actively engage with the international community. This article reviews international networking at five C9 League universities. It finds that Chinese universities benefit from global engagement, with an imbalance between their engagement with developed and developing countries. As Chinese power rises, such an imbalance appears increasingly inappropriate.

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Racism, Equity, and Quality of Education for International Students in South Korean Higher Education Institutes
Jin-Hee KIM
Front. Educ. China.  2016, 11 (3): 338-355. 3868/s110-005-016-0027-3
Abstract   PDF (268KB)

This study aims to understand equity issues of international students’ learning in Korean higher education institutions by engaging with the issue of racism and identifies how international students in Korea reshape their learning trajectory and how we could provide equitable and quality education for international students. Espousing a qualitative case study design, six students from different background were interviewed to examine features of perceived institutional racism based on their learning experience in Korea. Major findings showed that internationalization has not been fulfilled in terms of engaging with international students although Korean government and higher education institutions have developed relevant policy to attract international students. This study indicates that Korean universities need to reconstruct their social, cultural, and institutional systems to embrace equity, diversity and inclusiveness to empower international students’ capacity.

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An analysis and reflection on effective teaching
LIU Wanhai
Front. Educ. China.  2008, 3 (1): 149-161.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (224KB)
Reflecting on nearly half a century’s research on “effective teaching”, this essay attempts to arouse a lot of suspicion, including ambiguous definition of connotation, a false antithesis and the imbalance between teachers and students. Accordingly, this study further reveals hidden thinking obstacles, such as over-reliance on technical rationality, wrong inference and the separation of the dialectical relationship between teaching and learning. As a future research direction, the ideal teaching should focus on virtue rather than efficiency, giving consideration to effectiveness and responsibility.
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An analysis on the status of female faculty in Chinese higher education
ZHAO Yezhu
Front. Educ. China.  2007, 2 (3): 415-429.
Abstract   PDF (377KB)
This paper examines the changing status of women faculty through an analysis of statistics on China s universities from 1994 to 2004. This paper first presents the trend of a drastic increase in women faculty members in recent years. Further details on the academic ranks of women faculty, their age and highest degrees obtained are also presented. A comparison of female representation in faculty ranks is made between China and a few selected countries. Lastly, this paper attempts to account for the low percentage of female professors in higher education. Recommendations for the professional development for women faculty are made in the end.
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The transformation of College English in China
W. James Jacob,
Front. Educ. China.  2009, 4 (3): 466-487.
Abstract   PDF (277KB)
The key factors that pushed College English in China to the stage of transformation are: globalization, student challenges, expansion of enrolment and primary and high school coordination challenge. The theoretical frameworks should cover the concepts of communicative competence, the learning-centered approach and learner autonomy. It then describes the major areas affected by the transformation to a new CE, in which the primary objective is to develop students’ English comprehension and communicative competence: the nature and goal of the curriculum, curriculum requirements, teaching mode, assessment, and administration, In the new CE, focus has shifted from reading to listening and speaking, and special attention is now given to independent learning by capitalizing on advanced information technology; five principles are understood as the underpinnings of the transformation: a shift in orientation towards competence, the dominance of learning, focus on process, emphasis on culture, and increasingly democratic learning.
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The World-Class Multiversity: Global Commonalities and National Characteristics
Front. Educ. China.  2017, 12 (2): 233-260.
Abstract   PDF (284KB)

World-Class Universities (WCUs) are nationally embedded comprehensive higher education institutions (HEIs) that are closely engaged in the global knowledge system. The article reviews the conditions of possibility and evolution of WCUs. Three interpretations are used to explain worldwide higher education: neoliberal theory, institutional theory, and critical political economy, which give greater recognition than the other theories to the role of the state and variations between states. World higher education is evolving under conditions of globalization, organizational modernization (the New Public Management), and in some countries, marketization. These larger conditions have become manifest in higher education in three widespread tendencies: massification, the WCU movement, and organizational expansion. The last includes the strengthening of the role of the large multi-disciplinary multi-purpose HEIs (“multiversities”), in the form of both research-intensive WCUs with significant global presence, and other HEIs. The role of binary sector and specialist HEIs has declined. Elite WCUs gain status and strategic advantage in both quantity and quality: through growth and the expansion of scope, and through selectivity and research concentration. The balance between quantity and quality is now resolved at larger average size and broader scope than before. The final section of the article reviews WCUs in China and considers whether they might constitute a distinctive university model.

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Explaining Hong Kong Students’ International Achievement in Civic Learning
Kerry J. KENNEDY,LI Lijuan
Front. Educ. China.  2016, 11 (3): 299-321. 3868/s110-005-016-0025-9
Abstract   PDF (349KB)

This study identifies predictors of Hong Kong students’ civic learning. It has adopted a cross-sectional quantitative design using secondary data from the 2009 International Civics and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS 2009; Schulz et al., 2010). Multi-level analysis reveals that most of the variance in student achievement can be accounted for by school level rather than individual level factors. Student background variables are largely insignificant suggesting the resilience of many Hong Kong students. Regarding Hong Kong students’ achievements in civic learning, a possible explanation is made and implications are developed for both theory and practice.

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