Confucian or Fusion? Perceptions of Confucian-Heritage Students with Respect to their University Studies in Australia

By Frank Gutierrez and Laurel Evelyn Dyson.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This research aims to uncover the perceptions of first-year Confucian-heritage students towards their lived experience of university study in Australia. Data was gathered from the students via interviews and analyzed using a phenomenological approach. From the students’ perspective, prior experience of western-style pedagogy was found to be helpful in giving students an idea of what the Australian learning environment would entail, although many students still had difficulty with classroom interaction due to persistent cultural conditioning. In terms of teacher behaviour, important factors include the lecturer demonstrating an understanding of the student’s culture, using humour in teaching, being a role model, developing a good relationship with the student and demonstrating a commitment to their learning. Issues included the students’ lack of understanding of the true significance of assignments and lecturers’ misunderstanding of the valuable role of memorization in Confucian-heritage students’ learning. The findings of this work allow academics an insight into the lived educational experiences of the student participants. They may also be tentatively offered as a means of informing future course design and delivery, with the goal of improving the quality of student learning and, therefore, academic success.

Keywords: Cultural Issues in Education, International Students, Asian Students, Confucian Influences in Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp.373-384. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.271MB).

Frank Gutierrez

Postgraduate Student, School of Systems, Management and Leadership, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Frank Gutierrez, Grad Cert (IT Mgt), PG Cert (TESOL), M Bus (ITM) is a graduate from the Information Technology Management Program at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is a committed educator and associated with Curtin University of Technology (Sydney) and Macquarie University in Sydney as a lecturer in Information Systems. Over a period of eight years, his teaching has not only included the delivery of pre-undergraduate, undergraduate and postgraduate units in Information Systems and Information Technology, but also the teaching of units in management, academic English, university preparation programs and study skills. Prior to this, he had a career in business IT management. His research interests include improving the learning experience for international students undertaking his subjects, especially when considering the combined effects of culture, language and perception.

Dr. Laurel Evelyn Dyson

Senior Lecturer, Human Centred Technology Design Group, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Laurel Evelyn Dyson, BSc (Hons), BA (Hons), PhD, CELTA, GradDipABE, GradDipInfTech (Distinction), MInfTech, is a senior lecturer in Information Technology (IT) at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. In total, her experience in university and adult education spans a period of over two decades, with a focus on IT, language, study skills and university preparation courses. Her teaching has included computer education programs for Indigenous Australians, senior citizens, adult literacy students and prisoners, as well as teaching undergraduates and postgraduates Information Systems and Interface Design. In her research, she is interested in the use of technology in higher education, and in cultural issues surrounding the design and adoption of technology. Currently, her educational research focuses on mobile learning.


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