Approaches to learning and teaching by the Chinese

David Kember and David Watkins

in Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199541850
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Approaches to learning and teaching by the Chinese


There is a common perception that Chinese students have a tendency towards rote learning. Rote learning has been associated with a surface approach to learning, which is normally envisaged as less desirable than a deep approach, particularly in higher education. Abundant research into approaches to learning has shown that such an approach to learning should lead to poor learning outcomes. However, in spite of the negative perceptions of rote learning, there is now much evidence that Chinese students in a number of countries outperform their Western counterparts in international comparisons of educational achievement. This article describes various Chinese approaches to learning that have evolved over a period of time and further takes on how the teachers play their role in the process of Chinese learning. It states that there is evidence of Chinese teachers showing a high level of pastoral care for their students, particularly outside the classroom.

Keywords: rote learning; Chinese learner; higher education; international comparisons; educational achievement

Article.  10614 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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