Teaching Chinese culture to adult learners in Australia

  • Li Wang

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    This research explores approaches to teaching Chinese culture to adult learners with little or no familiarity with Chinese language to help them develop cultural understanding and/or skills for communication. It is based on three trial sessions held at Northern Territory University in 1999 and 2000. Seventeen specific approaches classified into three types, namely cognitive, experiential and cognitive-experiential-mixed, were applied in varied ways in the three sessions. Questionnaires, video recording and personal observation were used to collect data on student feedback and reaction for evaluating the appropriateness of using the approaches, the ways they were handled, and other relevant issues.

    This study supports a number of conclusions in teaching Chinese culture to the adult learners in Australia, including:
    a) It is appropriate to integrate both cognitive and experiential approaches in a balanced but dynamic strategy in teaching to continuously motivate learners to explore the culture for knowledge and/or skills. Using cognitive approaches alone may only be appropriate for research students for short sessions of about one hour. 
    b) It is helpful to use group learning and activities, use cultural experiences and resources from the local community, and keep a less-formal and learner-centered orientation to the teaching. 
    c) Teaching culture to adult learners is a coin with two sides: it is always necessary to keep in mind the learners' diversity and, accordingly, to use the teaching strategies flexibly to maximize the extent to which the learning differences are accommodated.
    Date of Award2002
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPaul Black (Supervisor)

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