The Chinese learner – a question of style

Sally Chan (Sally Chan is at the Faculty of Business, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK.)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Publication date: 1 August 1999


This paper challenges any misconceptions that Westerners may have about Chinese learning styles by highlighting how the Chinese mind operates and why certain styles of learning are preferred by Chinese students. The author discusses some of the reasons for the over‐emphasis on education for the Chinese overseas, how cultural values and beliefs have helped to shape Chinese thinking and how typical classroom behaviour has been developed over centuries of rote/repetitive learning. The problems that Western educators may face when teaching Chinese students is also considered, such as the lack of abstract thinking, constraints on behaviour caused by face, the over‐emphasis on concrete examples, lack of creativity, and the need to compromise in group situations. The author suggests that further understanding is needed to unravel the mystery of the Chinese learner before Western educators can fully appreciate the different approaches to learning and design better educational programmes for Chinese students on management courses.



Chan, S. (1999), "The Chinese learner – a question of style", Education + Training, Vol. 41 No. 6/7, pp. 294-305.

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Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited

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