“The Chinese Learner”: Misconceptions and Realities

Janette Ryan

in International Education and the Chinese Learner

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9789888028450
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207059 | DOI:
“The Chinese Learner”: Misconceptions and Realities

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Western beliefs about the “inherent” characteristics of “Chinese” learners need to be examined so that a genuine dialogue can be established between (and within) these systems, based on an understanding of, and a mutual respect for, the values and individuals within these systems. This requires an examination of whether the usual characterizations of “Chinese” and “Western” academic values are useful, accurate, or valid and the impacts that ill-informed characterizations can have on individuals. This chapter focuses on recent Western debates about “the Chinese learner,” and provides an analysis of both prevailing “deficit” and more recent “surplus” views of Chinese learners, to examine underlying preconceptions about Chinese learners and learner behaviors, and how the views of Western teachers and academics construct the ways in which these teachers operate within these systems.

Keywords: Western beliefs; Chinese learners; deficit; surplus views; learner behaviors; Western teachers

Chapter.  8375 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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