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ERIC Number: ED400540
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
"And Never the Twain Shall Meet": International Students Writing for a U.S. University Audience.
Fox, Helen
The western intellectual tradition promotes a unique style of thinking and writing that cannot readily embrace other ways of understanding human experience and communicating about it. Three fundamental differences in the ways east and west approach oral and written communication and the thinking that lies behind it are: first, a preference for indirect versus direct forms of discourse; second, promoting the goals of the group versus those of the individual; and third, valuing ancient knowledge and wisdom versus valuing novelty and the peculiar kind of creativity that comes from the idea of an independent mind. These non-western traditions are based on deeper assumptions of how society should work, directly at odds with those of many American university instructors. To transcend the boundary between western and world majority communication and thinking styles, instructors would have to agree or be convinced, for instance, that maintaining group solidarity or harmony is more important than being yourself, that tradition is more meaningful than history, and that the students' role is to thoroughly internalize what others have done rather than to critically question their own assumptions or the words of their teaches and texts. Understanding how a Quaker meeting for business functions, with its sense of the meeting as a collectivist process, can perhaps illuminate how members of non-western cultures can find the U.S. university's conception of thinking powerful but narrow. (Includes 10 notes.) (CR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A