Unpacking the paradox of Chinese science learners: Insights from research into Asian Chinese school students’ attitudes towards learning science, science learning strategies, and scientific epistemological views

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Abstract

Chinese students’ excellent science performance in large-scale international comparisons contradicts the stereotype of the Chinese non-productive classroom learning environment and learners. Most of the existing explanations of this paradox are provided from the perspective of teaching and learning in a general sense, but little work can be found which systematically summarises the findings from the research on Chinese science learners and their science learning so as to explain the paradox. In this paper, a total of 25 empirical quantitative studies, whose sample sizes range from 132 to 8815, published between 1987 and 2014, are reviewed. Three aspects are explored: students’ science learning strategies, attitudes towards learning science and their scientific epistemological views. In addition to summarising the results reported in these studies, efforts are made to link them with the paradox of the Chinese learners, and to generate some hypotheses to resolve it. Finally, directions for further research are suggested. Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-62
JournalStudies in Science Education
Volume52
Issue number1
Early online dateDec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Citation

Cheng, M. H. M., & Wan, Z. H. (2016). Unpacking the paradox of Chinese science learners: Insights from research into Asian Chinese school students’ attitudes towards learning science, science learning strategies, and scientific epistemological views. Studies in Science Education, 52(1), 29-62.

Keywords

  • Chinese learners
  • Science learning strategy
  • Attitude towards learning science
  • Scientific epistemological views

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