Mar 2021, Volume 16 Issue 1

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  • Research article
    ZUO Mingzhang, MA Yunpeng, HU Yue, LUO Heng

    Online learning has become the new educational pattern during the COVID-19 pandemic and is likely to supplement conventional schooling in the post-pandemic world. Lacking prior online learning experiences, the population of K-12 students deserves our special attention. Using purposeful sampling, this study investigated K-12 online learning experiences in China based on a large-scale survey (N = 118,589). Leveraging both quantitative and qualitative evidence, this study supported online learning as a flexible alternative to conventional schooling in emergency situations with a discussion of its benefits and limitations, and revealed key findings regarding K-12 students’ online learning pattern, experiences, and engagement, as well as the influencing factors. The research findings can inform the future design and implementation of online learning programs in primary and secondary schools.

  • Research article
    PENG Aihui, Li CAO

    As part of a large reciprocal learning partnership project between Canada and China, this study explored Canadian teachers’ perceptions of mathematics teaching in elementary schools in China. Using reciprocal learning and Activity Theory as the theoretical lens, we collected data, i.e., classroom observations, group discussion, and informal exchanges from teachers in a pair of research sister-schools in Canada and China. Qualitative data analyses revealed four themes in Canadian teachers’ perceptions of the characteristics of Chinese mathematics teaching: an active teacher-student interaction model of questioning-responding, a mathematical knowledge-package summary at the end of each lesson, integration of the history of mathematics into teaching, and the development and implementation of well-structured lessons. Contributions, implications, and limitations of the study in mathematics education and research are discussed.

  • Research article
    Karen GUO

    The 2014 national curriculum of Australia is a significant initiative that the Australian government has taken in proposing a curriculum that stresses Australia’s engagement with Asia. In practice, this means that Asian cultures, beliefs, environments and the connections between Australia and Asia are embedded in the learning processes of Australian schools. This article provides an analysis of Australia’s engagement with Asia, which is a cross-curriculum priority in the Australian curriculum. In particular, using the example of China, the article examines the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis involved in Australia’s engagement with Asia from an educational perspective, especially during the global pandemic with the spread of COVID-19 affecting the world so significantly. The intent of this analysis is to map out the educational factors involved and consider what might happen to Australian students and schools as a result of their engagement with the educational cultures, beliefs and practices of China. This is connected to the two countries’ economic engagements and people-to-people ties. By considering some of the current discourses that shape the Australia-China relationships, possibilities are opening up to rethink educational positions.

  • Research article
    FUNG Dennis, LIANG Weijun (Tim)

    In science, gravity refers to the universal force of attraction acting on and between all matter. No one on earth can escape the force of gravity. In a similar vein, the stringent requirements of publications, research grants, and research output in the academic world can be metaphorically described as “academic gravity,” the force of which pushes university academics to struggle and strive in pursuit of excellence just to survive in the changing landscape of higher education governed by neo-liberalism and managerialism. This article describes the journey of a junior academic staff member in an Asian university as he coped with various difficulties in establishing a collaborative culture in his department (i.e., the Faculty of Education). Working with a senior colleague (Sunshine-mother hereafter) in the same department, Author 1 began to recognize the importance of collegial collaboration in teacher education generally and in his academic life specifically. However, although he tried his utmost to develop a culture of collaboration amongst his colleagues, he struggled to cope with the tension and stress exerted by academic gravity (i.e., publication production and the pursuit of tenure). Drawing on data collected from a teaching development project and adopting a reflective autobiographic approach, this article delineates the collaborative relationship between Author 1 and Sunshine-mother, exemplifying the important roles that coaching and a free rein (i.e., weightlessness) play in the development of junior teacher-educators under the strong pressure of academic gravity.

  • Commentary article
    Peter Tze Ming NG

    On the December 25, 2020, Prof. Lu Jie, the Emeritus Professor and former Dean of the Faculty of Education at Nanjing Normal University passed away. The sudden news struck me and recalled my nearly 30 years’ friendship with Prof. Lu since 1991, stirring up also my memories of pre-1949 Christian colleges of China, and the promotion of “education of love” at Ginling College and Nanjing Normal University, from the time of Prof. Wu Yifang, Prof. Minnie Vautrin, Prof. Tao Xingzhi and Prof. Lu Jie. In this paper, I shall recall the various meetings with Prof. Lu Jie, and how her life has inspired my re-thinking of the development of “education of love” in China. I shall relate especially her humanistic educational ideals, especially the “education for life” and “cultivating human beings” with Prof. Tao Xingzhi’s “education of love.” Their educational ideals reflected the humanistic education taught at the University of Nanking and Ginling College in the first half of 20th century China. Though the two colleges had brought in a Western style of education, they had exemplified good models of indigenization, especially regarding how humanistic education could become Sinifized in Chinese soil today.

  • Research article
    LIU Baocun, KANG Yunfei

    The dilemma confronting modern university development presents a challenge to the management ability of university presidents, hence a need to review how successful presidents of the past managed. Wu Yifang, the first Chinese woman president with remarkable achievements in education, has thus come to our attention. As President of Ginling College (GC), she was confronted with a preponderance of contradictions, including the conflicts between the ideas of Western universities and Chinese traditional culture, between Christian spirit and social responsibility, between educational logic and the political environment, between traditional inheritance and innovation, and between universal university governance experience and the unique needs of GC. She eventually succeeded in balancing these contradictions with her superb management wisdom, with the management ideas in China’s classical text, the Mean playing an important role in facilitating GC’s development. Wu Yifang’s management style demonstrated a remarkable balance in prioritizing both the pursuit of talent cultivation and social services, based on carefully catering to core principles pertaining to the development of universities and students. Wu Yifang’s management practices and philosophy can thus provide important inspiration for university presidents.