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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 14 Issue 2

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Special issue editorial
China-Europe Higher Education Cooperation: Opportunities and Challenges
Yuzhuo CAI
Front. Educ. China. 2019, 14 (2): 167-179.
Abstract   PDF (275KB)

This article introduces Frontiers of Education in China’s special issue on China-Europe higher education cooperation. It is more than simply an introduction to the five studies collected for the special issue. Rather, it provides an overview of higher education cooperation between China and Europe from the perspective of opportunities and challenges. Such background information will help readers not only better understand the studies included in the special issue, but also link these studies to a bigger picture of China-Europe higher education cooperation.

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Research article
International Mentorship and Research Collaboration: Evidence from European-Trained Chinese PhD Returnees
Jin JIANG, Wenqin SHEN
Front. Educ. China. 2019, 14 (2): 180-205.
Abstract   PDF (502KB)

Drawing on a unique dataset that combines returnees’ survey data and their information on research publications extracted from the Scopus database, this study systematically examines whether and how international doctoral mentorship for Chinese students in European countries promotes research collaboration before and upon the return of these Chinese PhDs to China. The results show that a considerable proportion of European-trained Chinese PhD returnees had co-authorship with their supervisors during their PhD study, and most of them maintained this research partnership after returning to China. In addition to the co-authorship during doctoral study, some individual characteristics (e.g., gender and marital status) and organizational factors (e.g., country of doctoral study and current work unit) were also found to contribute to international research collaboration upon the return to China of these Chinese PhD holders. This study sheds new light on the mobility and research collaboration of international students and provides policy implications for promoting Sino-foreign student exchange and research collaboration.

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Deconstructing Doctoral Students’ Socialization from an Institutional Logics Perspective: A Qualitative Study of the Socialization of Chinese Doctoral Students in Finland
Gaoming ZHENG
Front. Educ. China. 2019, 14 (2): 206-233.
Abstract   PDF (595KB)

While socialization has become a major lens of research in doctoral education, this paper advances the theoretical foundation of the socialization process in doctoral education by using the institutional logics theory. Specifically, it proposes an analytical framework for understanding the socialization of doctoral students, where it is seen as a process of reconciling different or even competing institutional logics that drive students’ development in doctoral education. The framework has been applied in an empirical study of ten doctoral students in Finland who were funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC). While proving the usefulness of the analytical framework, the study shows that CSC doctoral students mainly face the competing logics of profession and corporation during socialization. Influenced by a strong profession logic, the Chinese students have transformed themselves into novice professionals and knowledge producers. Corporation logic competed with profession logic in the management of doctoral students and has resulted in a lack of teaching experiences in doctoral training and a weak recognition of professional identity in the students’ host universities. The influence of family logic, inherited from CSC doctoral students’ cultural backgrounds, has been decoupled in the socialization process and has led to a strong sense of loss in handling the supervisory relationship between supervisors and students. Based on the findings of this study, the author provides several recommendations for host universities, supervisors, doctoral students, the CSC, and the Chinese Embassy in Finland to enable them to work together and help CSC doctoral students tackle the aforementioned challenges.

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Academic Integration of Chinese Students in Finland and Germany: A Comparative Perspective
Hanwei LI
Front. Educ. China. 2019, 14 (2): 234-256.
Abstract   PDF (250KB)

It has been recognized that international students studying in non-Anglophone countries face more challenges in integrating into local higher education institutions for a number of reasons, such as the local language barrier and cultural differences. This study aims to understand the challenges and coping strategies of academic integration in non-Anglophone countries from the students’ perceptive, taking Chinese students as an example and using a qualitative approach based on semi-structured interviews with 58 Chinese students in Germany and Finland. It shows that, despite learning environment differences between Finland and Germany, Chinese students face similar challenges, including individual ones, such as the mismatch between their academic background and learning requirements, or contextual ones, such as a lack of consideration for international students in the pedagogical approach and curriculum design adopted by the host higher education institutions. The results challenge the existing stereotype of Chinese students and present evidence of students’ resourcefulness in generating novel approaches to develop their learning capabilities. It also shows that traditional learning techniques may be used as pathways to achieving deep learning and understanding.

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Prospect and Limits of China-EU Relations in Higher Education: A Danish Case Study
Anthony WELCH, XU Xiuyan
Front. Educ. China. 2019, 14 (2): 257-283.
Abstract   PDF (418KB)

Along with China’s economic growth, the notable rise of its universities and innovation system has inspired growing interest in how the higher education institutions (HEIs) of the European Union (EU) cooperate with Chinese HEIs. Beginning with a review of China-EU higher education relations, this paper presents a case study of a Sino-Danish collaborative programme in which cooperation and programme quality were limited by both partners’ different aims over time, and their alternate quality assurance systems. We suggest a proper collaborative level and discipline should be developed before the establishment of cooperation by taking relevant policies, merits and disadvantages of both partners, into consideration. This paper also points out that limits in collaboration can be alleviated, if a number of elements can be used effectively, such as China’s significant EU knowledge diaspora. Given this and other listed factors, including favorable policies introduced by the Chinese government, there are substantial prospects for extending China-EU collaborative relations and exchanges.

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Challenges of Chinese and European Universities in the Modernization and Global Context
Front. Educ. China. 2019, 14 (2): 284-308.
Abstract   PDF (290KB)

Higher education systems need to increasingly transform in order to face new challenges of society in a modern and global context. Both Europe and China are facing challenges in restructuring their higher education systems and embracing the potential for higher education to deliver innovative teaching and learning as well as social and economic services for a changing society. This paper analyses the challenges to European and Chinese universities today and elaborates on the implications of these challenges for EU-China higher education collaboration. An analysis of challenges and relevant strategies in these two contexts can offer us insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each system. This can act as a solid basis for future collaborations or as potential barriers. Thus, this paper endeavors to fill in the gap regarding EU-China higher education cooperation by reducing the knowledge deficit and bringing mutual understanding, respect, trust, and ultimately benefit to both sides.

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A Comparative Study of Pre-Service Teachers’ Views on Ethical Issues in Classroom Assessment in China and the United States
Xumei FAN, Robert JOHNSON, Jin LIU, Tiejun ZHANG, Xuegang ZHANG, Xiumei LIU
Front. Educ. China. 2019, 14 (2): 309-332.
Abstract   PDF (257KB)

The purpose of this study was to compare pre-service teachers’ views of ethical issues in assessment practices in the US and China. Focus group interviews were conducted among 16 pre-service teachers from the US and 15 pre-service teachers from China. Results indicated that the inclusion of effort in grading is a key issue for the pre-service teachers in both the US and China. American pre-service teachers have more consistent views with experts regarding using multiple assessment methods and communications about grading. Pre-service teachers in both countries appeared to have consistent views with experts regarding the confidentiality and standardized test preparation. The findings of this study can help build guidelines regarding ethical issues in classroom assessment.

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Book review
9 articles