Confucian heritage culture learner’s phenomenon

Ngai-Ying Wong from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, has written an article with the interesting title: Confucian heritage culture learner’s phenomenon: from “exploring the middle zone” to “constructing a bridge”. The article was published online in ZDM on Tuesday. The article gives some interesting insight into aspects of the Chinese culture, and it did represent several new issues and aspects to me. Besides, it is the first scientific article that I have ever seen (within our field, at least) that includes martial-art pictures. In the article, Wong also draws upon variation theory (which derives from the work of Swedish scholar Ference Marton and colleagues). Here is the abstract of the article:

In the past decades, the CHC (Confucian heritage culture) learner’s phenomenon has spawned one of the most fruitful fields in educational research. Despite the impression that CHC learners are brought up in an environment not conducive to learning, their academic performances have been excelling their Western counterparts (Fan et al. in How Chinese learn mathematics: perspectives from insiders, 2004). Numerous explanations were offered to reveal the paradox (Morrison in Educ J, 2006), and there were challenges of whether there is “over-Confucianisation” in all these discussions (Chang in J Psychol Chin Soc, 2000; Wong and Wong in Asian Psychol, 2002). It has been suggested that the East and the West should come and discuss at the “middle zone” so that one can get the best from the two worlds. On the other hand, at the turn of the new millennium, discussions on mathematics curriculum reform proliferate in many places. One of the foci of the debate is the basic skills—higher-order thinking “dichotomy”. Viewing from the perspective of the process of mathematisation, teaching mathematics is more than striking a balance between the two, but to bridge basic skills to higher-order thinking competences. Such an attempt was explored in recent years and the ideas behind will be shared in this paper.

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