The enigma of the Chinese learner

Author: Cooper, Barry

Source: Accounting Education, Volume 13, Number 3, September 2004 , pp. 289-310(22)

Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group

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Although increasingly challenged in the higher education literature in recent years, there is still a common perception among teachers of the stereotypical Chinese rote learner. This perception, however, lies uncomfortably with the paradox that Chinese learners nevertheless often excel in their studies, in comparison with their Western counterparts. This comparative study of Chinese and Australian accountancy students provides evidence that, while surface approaches to learning can be associated with mechanical rote learning, the Chinese tradition of memorization through repetition can be used to deepen understanding and achieve high levels of academic performance. In recognizing this phenomenon, the enigma of the Chinese learner is better understood.
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