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Title: Education policy borrowing and cultural scripts for teaching in China
Authors: Tan, Charlene H. P. (Charlene Hwee Phio)
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Tan, C. (2015). Education policy borrowing and cultural scripts for teaching in China. Comparative Education, 51(2), 196-211.
Abstract: China’s recent education reforms are a result of selective policy borrowing from ‘the West’. Although comparativists have highlighted the importance of cultural context in policy borrowing in China, what remains relatively under-explored is the epistemological basis for cultural views on teaching that mediate policy transfer. This article argues that the prevailing cultural factors (‘cultural scripts’) for teaching in China – students’ respect for the teacher, student attention and discipline in class, and the importance of practice – find their genesis and justification in the Confucian worldview. Focussing on a Chinese classic text, Xueji (Records of Learning), this article elucidates the ancient Chinese’ views on the nature and transmission of knowledge, and explains why the ‘teacher-dominated’ pedagogy is believed by many Chinese educators to be indispensable for ‘good’ teaching. An appreciation of the epistemological foundation of culture, it is argued, is salutary in enhancing our understanding of policy divergence across societies despite their similar adoption of global/‘Western’ educational ideas and practices.
Description: This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Comparative Education. The published version is available online at
ISSN: 0305-0068 (print)
1360-0486 (online)
Other Identifiers: 10.1080/03050068.2014.966485
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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