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Two way learning? A critique of East/West approaches to teaching and learning. Toni Dobinson School of Education.

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1 Two way learning? A critique of East/West approaches to teaching and learning. Toni Dobinson School of Education

2 Internationalisation International education has made a significant contribution to Australia. It has grown to now be our third largest source of overseas earnings... The Hon Julia Gillard MP ( May 2009)

3 Statistics In Australia -Annual export figure for educational activity of $18.3 billion in 2010 (AEI, 2011) $10.4 billion (59%) in Higher Education Top 10 contributors were: China (24.3%) India (14.6%) Republic of Korea (5.7%) Malaysia (4.6%) Vietnam (4.5%) Thailand (3.8%) Indonesia (3.3%) Nepal (3.0%) Hong Kong (2.8%) Brazil (2.0%) Other (including Saudi Arabia – 28.2%)

4 Transnational Educational Programmes In 2009, 320,970 international students studying with an Australian institution of higher education 100,492 (31.3%) of these studying offshore (AEI, 2011)

5 MA (Applied Linguistics) course taught transnationally in Ho Chi Min City. Exchange of ideas about teaching and learning between Vietnamese lecturers and Australian lecturers on same course. Literature describing approaches to teaching and learning in terms of an ‘Orientalist Binary Paradigm’ (Takayama, 2008). Discourses on Orientalism and ‘othering’

6 Organisation of the presentation Approaches to teaching and learning Social and theoretical discourses on Asia and ‘othering’ ‘Spilling over’ of these discourses into research on ‘Asian’ approaches to teaching and learning Ways forward for teaching and learning in the Asia Pacific region.


8 Mechanistic out – organismic, Humanistic in (Rogers, Maslow, Tennant, Bloom, Freire The learning society (Schon, Hutchins, ) Transformative learning –– instrumental learning out – communicative learning in (Mezirow) Learning =action collectively or individually, emotional, spiritual (Mezirow, Daloz, Cunningham, Boyd) Experiential and informal (workplace) in – classroom out (Boud, Eraut)


10 ‘ Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient’. ( Said, 1978, p.3) Orientalism-almost a European invention…one of its deepest and most recurring images of the ‘other’ (Saud, 1978, p.1)

11 The European is a close reasoner; his statements of fact are devoid of any ambiguity; The mind of the Oriental, on the other hand, like his picturesque streets, is eminently wanting in symmetry The Oriental generally acts, thinks and speaks in a manner exactly opposite to the European (Cromer, 1908) ‘selective amnesia’ ‘denying of creativity and originality’ ‘continued essentially the same’ (Tavakoli-Targhi, Malcolm) Women – demure, sensual, subservient Men- cold, inscrutable, cruel



14 Spilling over into reports of Asian approaches to learning? EARLY : reproductive (rote) dependent on teacher pragmatic/surface passive – listen and obey (Noesjirwan, 1970; Chan, 1999; Ballard, 1989)

15 Confucius versus Socrates Passivity, obedience, lack of creativity or critique, pragmatic (surface) learning, instrumental learning attributed to Confucian East. Questioning, evaluating, doubting, critiquing (deep) and communicative learning attributed to Socratic West (also deriving from Dewy (1899, 1916)

16 Setting the record straight- Confucian influence Confucius urged his students to sift his teachings and criticise his statements: 11:4 → Hui is no help to me at all. He is pleased with everything I say. He didn’t necessarily endorse teacher/student dependence: The teacher does not have to be more knowledgeable than the pupil; and the pupil is not necessarily always less learned than the teacher (cited in Cheng, 2000, p. 4) Dialectic→Ways of thinking and socio-political structures - Confucian attitudes a product of time of stability – Taoism, Buddhism approaches different – less stable (Geyer, 2003).

17 Setting the record straight- Socratic influence Learning (surface/deep) in Western universities dependent upon nature and year of course (Kirkpatrick & Mulligan, 2002) ‘Deep’ approach takes years to develop – even for academics (Haggis, 2003) Memorisation does not preclude deep understanding (Kember, 2000). Critical’ thinking often just means mirroring lecturer’s ideas (Webb, 1997; Sandeman-Gay, 1999) Asking Asian students to critically think in university settings - are we really just asking them to imitate our preferred learning style? This is Behavourist not organismic (Kegan, 1994).See Mahbubani quote Not always safe for students to articulate critical thought e.g. Indonesian student

18 Continued Can have a teacher centred approach which produces independent learners (Brookefield, 1985a) Western learning theory and teaching practices = ‘grand narrative’, ‘hegemonies’ that don’t fit reality of most learners in mass educational systems (Haggis, 2003) Mental colonisation – power and privileged versus feelings of worthlessness, thinking incongruent with ‘essence of being’ (Apsland, 1999). Quote Mahbubani Learning a product of its time (Foucault, 1972)

19 Recent research has laid ground for dismantling ‘Orientalist binary paradigms’ (Takayama, 2008) often based on ‘othering’ and Orientalist notions. Asia much more confident now – rapid economic development. Quote Mahbubani, 1998. Lecturers educated at post grad level in Western universities can occupy ‘the Third Space’ (Kramsch, 1993a, 2009) – intercultural competence Are we yet again heading in different directions though? Japan/USA (Takayama,2008)

20 More focus on social/ theoretical discourses, history and cross cultural awareness in teacher education (pre-service and in-service) and knowledge of recent empirical research More collaborative (across national borders) qualitative research by practitioners in the field recognising power relations, ethnocentricity etc Joint delivery of transnational courses with onshore and offshore teachers/lecturers; recognition of offshore teachers superior intercultural competence = learning opportunities for those in East and West. More symmetrical dialogue – Asian teachers and Australian teachers which goes beyond national differences and binary paradigms and is situated in a globalised world.


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