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Teaching the Chinese Learner: Psychological and Pedagogical Perspectives

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chlerEdited by: David A. Watkins & John B. Biggs

2001, 306 pp

ISBN 10: 962809372X
ISBN 13: 978-0864313812

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER)

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This book is a sequel to The Chinese Learner: Cultural, Psychological and Contextual Influences, which was first published in 1996 and has been widely acclaimed. The 1996 book made a seminal contribution to the field by focusing on the influence of cultural factors on approaches to learning in Chinese societies. Chinese learners were clearly doing some things better than their Western counterparts; but how was this achieved in large classes and harsh educational environments?

The present volume extends the earlier book by focusing on the work of teachers. It analyses the ways in which teachers in Hong Kong and China think about their teaching, and the ways in which they conduct their teaching. Differences between Chinese and Western approaches to teaching are identified, and lessons are drawn for educational reform.


Setting the Scene

1. The Paradox of the Chinese Learner and Beyond (David A. Watkins and John B. Biggs)

Teacher Thinking

2. Towards a Model of Teaching Conceptions of Chinese Secondary School
Teachers of Physics (Gao Lingbiao and David A. Watkins)
3. The Role of Assessment in Student Learning: The Views of Hong Kong and Swedish Lecturers (Bo Dahlin, David A. Watkins and Mats Ekholm)

Teacher Practice

4. Teacher-Student Interaction: Attributional Implications and Effectiveness of Teachers’ Evaluative Feedback (Farideh Salili)
5. Are Chinese Teachers Authoritarian? (Irene T. Ho)
6. Large Classes in China: Teachers and Interaction (Martin Cortazzi and Jin Lixian)
7. Two Faces of the Reed Relay: Exploring the Effects of the Medium of  Instruction (Dorothy F.P. Ng, Amy B.M. Tsui and Ference Marton)
8. Solving the Paradox of the Chinese Teacher? (Ida Mok, P.M. Chik, P.Y. Ko, Tammy Kwan, M.L. Lo, Ference Marton, Dorothy F.P. Ng, M.F. Pang, U.Runesson and L.H. Szeto)
9. Promoting Learning and Understanding through Constructivist Approaches for Chinese Learners (Carol K.K. Chan)
10. Problem-Based Learning in a Chinese Context: Faculty Perceptions
(Stephanie F. Stokes)

Changing Teachers

11. The Influence of Teacher Education on Conceptions of Teaching and
Learning (Thomas K.W. Tang)
12. A Conceptual Change Approach to University Staff Development (Angela S.P. Ho)
13. Transforming Teaching through Action Research (David Kember)
Overview and Conclusions Insights into Teaching the Chinese Learner (John B. Biggs and David A. Watkins)

Education and Political Transition: Themes and Experiences in East Asia, politics,

Return to the CERC Studies in Comparative Education.

cerc-01Edited by: Mark Bray & W.O. Lee

2001 2nd edition, 228pp

ISBN 10: 962-8093-84-3
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-84-7

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC)

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This book is the second edition of a volume published in 1997. Substantially revised and expanded, it throws new light on the links between education and political transition in a dynamic part of the world. Themes addressed by the book include globalisation, internationalisation and localisation; democratisation and nationalisation; colonial and postcolonial transitions; and liberal versus democratic approaches. Individual chapters focus on mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Reviewing the first edition, Philip Altbach commented in the Asia Pacific Journal of Education (Vol.18, No.2) that “these are very worthwhile essays that add significantly to our knowledge of … the region”. Readers will find the second edition an even stronger contribution to the field.

Mark Bray is Director of the Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong. He is also Secretary General of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies. W.O. Lee is Dean of the School of Foundations in Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Prior to taking this position, he was Director of the Comparative Education Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong. Both editors are past Presidents of the Comparative Education Society of Hong Kong; and both have published extensively in the field of comparative education.



  • Education and Political Transitions in East Asia: Diversity and Commonality (Mark BRAY & W.O. LEE)

Globalisation, Internationalisation and Localisation

  • Globalisation, the State and Education Policy in Singapore (Saravanan GOPINATHAN)
  • The Taiwanisation, Democratisation and Internationalisation of Higher Education in Taiwan (LAW Wing Wah)
  • Political Transitions and the Internationalisation of English: Implications for Language Planning, Policy-making and Pedagogy (Robert Keith JOHNSON)

Democratisation and Nationalisation

  • Democracy, Education and Reform in Mongolia: Transition to a New Order (Malcolm INNES-BROWN)
  • Controversies in Hong Kong’s Political Transition: Nationalism versus Liberalism (W.O. LEE & Anthony SWEETING)

Colonial and Postcolonial Transitions

  • Education and Political Change in Korea: Colonial, Post-Colonial, Authoritarian and
  • Democratic Transitions (LEE Yonghwan)
  • Higher Education and Colonial Transition in Macau: Market Forces and State Intervention in a Small Society (Mark BRAY)
  • Education, Civic Participation and Identity: Continuity and Change in Hong Kong (Paul MORRIS, Flora KAN & Esther MORRIS)

Liberal versus Traditional Approaches

  • Regulating Pedagogic Discourse: in China: The Shift between Restrictive and Elaborated Ideological Orientations (CHEUNG Kwok Wah)
  • Moral Education Policy in China: The Struggle between Liberal and Traditional Approaches (W.O. LEE)

Childhood Socialization: Comparative Studies of Parenting, Learning and Educational Change

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cerc-12Robert A. LeVine

2003, (reprinted 2010) 299 pages

ISBN 10: 962-8093-61-4
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-61-8

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Kluwer Academic Publishers

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This book on the socialization of the child in diverse cultures focuses on parent-child relationships, enculturation, and child development under changing educational conditions. Twelve articles originally published by the author and his colleagues between 1960 and 1996 show the evolution not only in LeVine’s thinking but in the field as a whole. These articles are supplemented by new commentaries written for this volume. LeVine examines intersections among patterns of childhood experience, cultural values and institutional change in developing societies during the 20th century. Individual chapters include a focus on Kenya, Nigeria and Mexico; parenting, the child’s acquisition of culture, and the impact of mass schooling on maternal care; and critiques of psychoanalysis, environmentalism and the psychology of individual differences.

In the introduction, LeVine frames his research on the comparative study of socialization as an ‘anthropology of educational processes’ that integrates knowledge on the educational aspects of childhood in human societies under varied historical conditions. This far-reaching book will be widely welcomed by scholars of comparative education and of child development.

Robert A. LeVine has had a distinguished academic career which has included decades of teaching and research at Harvard University, USA. He has made seminal contributions to the fields of anthropology and education, with particular emphasis on child development in diverse cultures. During 2001 and 2002, he was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Read a review in International Review of Education from January 2004, Volume 50, Issue 1.

Internationalizing Higher Education: Critical Explorations of Pedagogy and Policy

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cerc-16Edited by  Peter Ninnes & Meeri Hellsten

2005, 231 pp.

ISBN 10: 962-8093-37-1
ISBN 13: 978-962-8093-37-3

HK$200 (local), US$32 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer

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Globalization is a multifaceted phenomenon, and one of its major components is the internationalization of education. The increasing pace and complexity of global knowledge flows, and the accelerating exchange of educational ideas, practices and policies, are important drivers of globalization. Higher education is a key site for these flows and exchanges. This book casts a critical eye on the internationalization of higher education. It peels back taken-for-granted practices and beliefs, explores the gaps and silences in current pedagogy and practices, and addresses the ambiguities, tensions and contradictions in internationalization. In this volume, scholars from a range of disciplines and regions critically examine the commodification of higher education, teaching and support for international students, international partnerships for aid and trade, and the impacts on academics’ work.

Peter Ninnes is Coordinator of the Centre for Research on Education in Context at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia. His research interests include comparative and international education, the cultural politics of education, and education in post-conflict societies. He is currently President of the Australian and New Zealand Comparative and International Education Society.

Meeri Hellsten is a lecturer in education at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Her research interests are cross-cultural and comparative education, socio-cultural and identity issues in education, e-learning pedagogies, and effective teaching and learning in higher education. She convenes and teaches on a large undergraduate unit in educational psychology.

Citizenship Pedagogies in Asia and the Pacific

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cerc-28Edited by Kerry J. Kennedy, Wing On Lee & David L. Grossman

March 2010

ISBN 978-988-17852-2-0

HK$250 (local), US$38 (overseas)

Published by Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and Springer

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How are students in Asia and the Pacific taught to be effective citizens? Following two successful volumes previously published in this series, Citizenship Education in Asia and the Pacific: Concepts and Issues and Citizenship Curriculum in Asia and the Pacific, this volume focuses on citizenship pedagogies that are promoted by governments in the region, advocated by scholars, and adapted in the schools and classrooms where citizenship education takes place every day. Thirteen case studies from diverse societies in Asia and the Pacific highlight the ways in which teachers and students think about, experience or plan for citizenship teaching and learning. Different methods - vignettes, student surveys, case studies and literature reviews - are used to portray these experiences, from both macro- and micro-analytic perspectives. The wide array of case studies provides rich information and insights into the realities and possibilities of pedagogies for citizenship across the region.

What we discover from this volume is as diverse and complex as the region itself. Conservative teacher-dominated pedagogies are common in many places, but more progressive pedagogies can also be found. In some places teachers struggle to implement new methods, while in others, students seem to be more radical than their teachers in seeking more engaging pedagogies. Many cases highlight also the pressures of examination cultures that influence teachers' choices of and students' preferences for particular pedagogical approaches. From a comparative perspective, the volume shows how pedagogical approaches from other contexts are interpreted locally, and how government directives are adapted in classrooms. It describes how integrated and hybrid pedagogical approaches evolve when teachers in the region struggle to respond to national, global and person-oriented approaches to citizenship education. As curriculum gate-keepers, some teachers in these case studies seek an appropriate instructional space by judiciously choosing pedagogies to suit their own conceptions of citizenship education. For other teachers there are more limited choices, because of strong societal mandates, perceived community expectations, or simply because of a lack of skills to teach in any other way.

Collectively these chapters constitute a remarkable study of the delivery of citizenship education across the region and of the variety of pedagogies that influence the lives of teachers and students in this context.

Kerry J. KENNEDY is Chair Professor of Curriculum Studies at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, where he is Dean of the Faculty of Education Studies and Associate Vice-President (Quality Assurance). He is also a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Governance and Citizenship. Before moving to Hong Kong, he was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Canberra in Australia.

Wing On LEE is currently Vice-President (Academic) and Deputy to the President at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, where he is also Chair Professor of Comparative Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Governance and Citizenship. He was formerly Director (International) in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney in Australia, where he was also Professor of Education. He is a member of Hong Kong's Central Policy Unit, Education Commission and Curriculum Development Council.

David L. GROSSMAN is currently Dean of the Division of Education at Chaminade University in Hawaii and an Adjunct Senior Fellow of the Education Program of the East-West Center. Prior to that, he was Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Languages, Arts and Sciences at the Hong Kong Institute of Education and Co-Head of the Centre for Citizenship Education.
A review published in the journal Comparative Education, Volume 48, Number 3, 2012: 403-406

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