ArchiveOctober 2018

Adaptation, acculturation, adjustment or accommodation


The process of a student adapting to new surroundings is referred to as adaptation, acculturation, adjustment or accommodation interchangeably by different scholars. Because the others have a variety of other meanings in various contexts, I will use the term acculturation. This idea is an interesting one in an international school like TES, as all students from all backgrounds have a degree of...

International school students: transient learners? Sojourners?


Many international schools were established to serve expatriate diplomats, military personnel and business leaders, offering a level of consistency for the children of such “nomadic professionals” (Polt, 2011). Taipei European School is one such school, with combined British, French and German sections serving those nations’ expatriates as well as those of other European countries. Indeed, one of...

Western perceptions of Asian educational culture


Last week we had safeguarding & child protection training delivered by an international expert in the field. In discussing the different forms of child abuse – physical, mental, emotional & neglect – he gave an example of a child who turns up to school sleepy in the morning because he was at cram school until late the night before. His suggestion was that such action is...

Perceptions from western educators of Asian students


A typical conception of Chinese students from a western perspective is: ‘[…] respectful of the lecturer’s authority; diligent note-takers; preoccupied with fulfilling the expectations of the lecturers; uncritical of information presented in the textbook and by the lecturers; seldom asking questions or volunteering to contribute to tutorial discussions; and unaware of the conventions regarding...

Writing systems informing attitudes to pedagogy


The Chinese system of writing is one of extremely strict rules that can only be mastered through drill and practice. A discovery- or inquiry-based approach to learning how to write in a written language that works based on characters rather than an alphabet (traditional and simplified Chinese, Japanese) would in the eyes of many (but not all) Chinese language teachers be an ineffective means of...

The intersection of pedagogy and culture


There can be, on the part of western-educated teachers teaching in Taiwan, a dismissive attitude towards traditional methods of instruction that causes tension. Because these teachers are looking – from their point in history – at pedagogies that have not been used in their countries for 30 to 40 years, the assumption is that what they do is better. “It’s very old hat”, or “it’s the...

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