Since the 19th century, Chinese societies, as latecomers to modernization, have prioritized Western learning. Modelled on European and North American experiences, modern universities were created to serve this purpose. Having little linkage to their indigenous cultural traditions, they operate in Confucian socio-cultural contexts, with constant and longstanding struggles with their cultural identity. In recent decades, these societies have progressed remarkably well in higher education. Their experience could be seen as a cultural experiment that is placed highly on their sustainable development agendas. The products of their modern education systems especially at the elite level have demonstrated a grasp of both traditional and Western knowledge, with their very best universities well positioned to combine Chinese and Western ideas of a university in everyday operation. Such a bi-cultural condition contrasts sharply to the still largely mono-cultural (Western only) university operating environment in the West. The integration opens further space for their universities to explore an alternative to the Western academic model that has long dominated world higher education. Based on fieldwork at premier universities in Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taipei, this article calls for a reconceptualized view of modern university development in Chinese societies. It argues that the experiment enables their top universities to bring back their cultural traditions to integrate with Western values and contribute to inter-civilizational dialogue.
The purpose of this quasi-experimental study is to examine whether attention cueing benefits learners of ancient Egyptian culture using mobile-assisted instrumentation. A self-regulatory, mobile phone based set of visualizations depicting ancient Egyptian culture served as the primary instrument. A total of 50 learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) from two sections of a reading course were randomly assigned to one of two groups. First, the participants were tested to assess their English reading level and prior knowledge of Egyptian culture. Next, they were randomly assigned to one of two modes: picture-plus-text or picture-plus-text-plus-signal. Immediately after experimental treatment, participants were administered tests of pictorial recall, matching, jigsaw puzzles, and retention as well as cognitive load measurement and attitude questionnaires. Experimental treatment was the independent variable, while the comprehension test, cognitive load questionnaire, and attitude questionnaire were the dependent variables. The results indicated that learners in the cueing condition outperform those in a non-cueing condition for matching and total score, but not for retention. The analysis of cognitive load revealed that learners in the cueing condition experience lower germane load than those in the non-cueing condition. However, the result of the questionnaires indicated that all the students felt mobile phones were convenient and useful in English learning regardless of the presence or not of attention cueing. The results stress the importance of presenting attention-capturing arrows in external representation as it can result in better learning efficiency.
The paper offers a critical appraisal of the global knowledge developments in education using China’s contributions in a fashion similar to a case study. The paper scrutinizes the complicity of Western educational research to euro-centric biases and discusses the pursuit of a global epistemological eclecticism. To support this claim, the magnitude of the global knowledge economy, including country-by-country comparisons, is explored together with data pertaining to the success rate of submissions and citations. These data are used as the basis for arguments that the dominant research practices and developmental work serve Western interests, Western thought and a Western economy tied to standardization rather than eastern epistemological interests.
This study adds to the current literature on teacher technology integration with an investigation into five beginning teachers’ technology use in the language classroom in their first two career-entry years. The longitudinal interview study reveals that these teachers went through a developmental trajectory of technology use towards using it for more diversified instructional purposes and with a greater orientation towards student learning over the years. The study also finds that the teachers’ developing understanding of technology use intertwined with their growing teaching competency and identity. It further finds that school culture not only had a direct influence on their technology use but also moderated the influence of teaching competency and identity on the nature of this technology use. This study concludes with suggestions for promoting research on the support needed for beginning teachers and the school culture in technology use.
This paper is aimed at exploring distinctive features of the decentralization of basic education in Shanghai by drawing on data from Shanghai Program for International Students Assessment (PISA) 2012. While doing the research for this paper, the author found that from a policy perspective, Shanghai had launched a reform policy aimed at transforming the highly centralized education system. This included a devolution of the decision-making authority to local departments of education and a reduction of control over schools. Private school policies were also initiated with the understanding that private schools ought to enjoy autonomy in almost every aspect of decision-making. From the perspective of practice, decentralization of basic education could be categorized as county-based school decentralization. In such a situation, the county bureaus of education wielded decision-making authority over a number of areas in the public school sector, while gradually devolving some decision-making authority to the public schools themselves; and the private schools enjoyed autonomy within their major decision-making areas. Given both the policy and practice of the decentralization of basic education in Shanghai, some suggestions are provided regarding: (1) how to promote school decentralization, and (2) how to balance it with accountability.
Globalization is bringing about a new paradigm of super-diversity which is resulting in all societies becoming more culturally diverse. Interculturalism, as a new model which responds to this increasing diversity, rejects all forms of discrimination based on differences, instead embracing reciprocity and accommodation. Interculturalism theory is characterized by integration, cohesion, and intercultural dialogue. Compared to multiculturalism theory, interculturalism theory discusses how to make a society more cohesive and accommodate people from different cultures. Interculturalism features a stronger sense of whole. Therefore, in intercultural education, intercultural competence is highlighted in order to catalyze dialogue between people from different groups. Interculturalism has a role in increasing the current level of diversity within contemporary Chinese society. Furthermore, Confucius’ ideal of Great Harmony, which values integration while respecting differences, echoes the tenets of interculturalism. In conclusion, interculturalism can serve as an effective theory for cultivating a shared society.
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.