Edev_501 Response wk1_5

I found your experience of the differences you experienced in the U.S. and Malaysia very interesting. As a teacher in a Confucian heritage country (CHC)(Phuong-Mai et al., 2005), I often have to contend with my own often negative reactions to students being treated as social beings first and individuals second. Having you in this class to offer that perspective from first-hand experience will be a great benefit to me.

Of course, we mustn’t jump to the prejudiced conclusion that the Western way is better, although I would be interested in knowing what you think and why. Aoki (2008) contends that Japan’s Confucian system is better, and repeats the fact that Japan’s, and many Asian countries’, OECD PISA scores are higher than most Western countries.

The CHC educational experience prioritises the ultimate utility to society over and personal good (Yang et al., 2006). The typical pedagogic methodology–rote memorisation–has led to problems, especially in their inability to producing civilians who have sufficient creative skills (Shields, 1999).


Aoki, K. (2008). Confucius vs Socrates: The impact of educational traditions of east and west in a global age. International Journal of Learning, 14(11). 35-40.

Phuong-Mai, N., Terlouw, C., & Pilot, A. (2005). Cooperative learning vs Confucian heritage culture’s collectivism: confrontation to reveal some cultural conflicts and mismatch. Asia Europe Journal, 3(3), 403-419.

Shields, J. J. (1999). Sacred architecture, historic religious traditions and education in Japan. Comparative and International Education Society. Annual Conference 1999 Proceedings, 1-27.

Yang, B., Zheng, W., & Li, M. (2006). Confucian view of learning and implications for developing human resources. Academy of Human Resouce Development, 8, 346-354.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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