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ERIC Number: EJ807971
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-0313-7155
Chinese Cultural Schema of Education: Implications for Communication between Chinese Students and Australian Educators
Hui, Leng
Issues in Educational Research, v15 n1 p17-36 2005
Education in China, in its various forms and levels, is widely conceptualised as integrating the cultivation of "human souls" with the provision of students with knowledge. The English word "education" is "jiao yu" in Chinese, which means "teaching [and] cultivating". The analogy "shi nian shu mu, bai nian shu ren" (it takes ten years to grow trees, but a hundred years to cultivate a person) may illustrate the cultivating responsibilities laid on Chinese schools or other institutions engaged in educating people. A Chinese metaphor equating teachers with "ren lei ling hun gong cheng shi" (the engineers of "human souls") also reveals the cultural knowledge that teachers play a crucial role in cultivating the soul of Chinese people. The cultural knowledge embodied in the Chinese cultural schema of Education exerts profound influence on teachers, students (regardless of their ages) and their parents. Making use of common idioms, proverbs and popular quotes from Chinese classics on education, this paper provides an introduction to the Chinese Education schema of "jiao shu yu ren" (teaching books and cultivating people) and explores the influence of the schema on Chinese education in terms of issues such as moral education, teacher roles and status, student beliefs about books and learning and the significance of examinations in Chinese education. Discussion of the influence of the Chinese Education schema on intercultural communication between mainland Chinese students and their Australian educators is also provided. It is concluded that, despite some experience of living in Australia, mainland Chinese students overseas are likely to draw on their embedded cultural schema of Education when studying in the context of Australian education systems. An understanding of the Chinese Education schema may help Australian educators to bridge the educational gaps that many overseas Chinese students encounter, and it may contribute to reducing the chances of intercultural miscommunication between Chinese students and Australian educationists. (Contains 1 footnote.)
Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc. 5/202 Coode Street, Como, Western Australia 6152, Australia. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; China