Learning About Confucian Heritage Learners

Teaching inclusively entails learning about how our students learn. In this article from New Directions for Teaching and Learning, “Learning the Confucian Way,” author Tieyuan Guo provides insight into learning approaches among students from the “Confucian heritage cultures” (CHC) of East Asia and Southeast Asia.

The author provides an overview of learning motivations among CHC learners and tips for supporting student learning. Guo also addresses common misperceptions of CHC learning behaviors. For example, while it is common for western cultures to think aloud, silence among CHC learners is not necessarily indicative of “passivity,” but can signify active thinking and reflection. He also considers CHC cultural emphasis on memorization in learning. In dispelling common misconceptions about memorization, Guo distinguishes between more passive “rote” memorization and more active “repetitive” memorization—which he notes is not “surface-learning” but a form of “deep” meaning-making learning.

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Guo, T. (2015). Learning the Confucian way. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2015(142), 5-18.