Culture and curriculum reform

Philip Douglas Lane GLENWRIGHT

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


This paper advances the argument that ‘cultures of learning’ (Cortazzi and Jin, 1996) not only affect people’s conceptions of teaching and learning – and therefore classroom practice – but may also impede curriculum reform, especially where little attempt is made at ‘cultural synergy’ (Cortazzi and Jin, 1995). The paper first examines the ‘culture of learning’ in Mainland China, since Hong Kong’s overwhelmingly Chinese population is likely to share many of the expectations, values and attitudes identified here. The resulting language teaching is also briefly considered. Second, the paper reviews selected “Western” learning cultures and associated language teaching methodologies. Areas of similarity and difference are noted and a prediction attempted. The third part considers the ‘culture of learning’ in Hong Kong, an entity that is neither China nor Britain. This appears to possess a fundamentally Chinese ‘culture of learning’, much confused and confounded by factors that inevitably perhaps arise from its unique historical and international situation. After indicating, very briefly, these critical issues, the paper presents views from the literature which suggest that a lack of attention to and respect for cultural difference has impeded both curricular and language teaching reform. Supporting material from In-service assignments and reflections on lesson observations may also be touched on, if time permits. Copyright © 1999 Australian Curriculum Studies Association Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe ACSA 1999 Collection: Conference papers: Framing the future
Editors Australian Curriculum Studies Association
Place of PublicationDeakin West, Australian Capital Territory
PublisherAustralian Curriculum Studies Association
Publication statusPublished - 1999


Glenwright, P. (1999). Culture and curriculum reform. In Australian Curriculum Studies Association (Ed.), The ACSA 1999 Collection: Conference papers: Framing the future (Vol. 2, pp. 337-384). Deakin West, Australian Capital Territory: Australian Curriculum Studies Association.


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