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Home arrow Education arrow Chinese Educational Migration and Student-Teacher Mobilities: Experiencing Otherness
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The student

Chinese teachers on both sides of the ocean saw students as groups of individuals, rather than individuals in groups. Students have a need for both input and output in L2 learning, and they must work hard to memorise learning materials. With one exception, the teachers perceive students as desiring a good relationship with their teacher. The two groups differed in how they perceive student motivation and in how they perceived changes among students.

Students as groups of individuals

For the China-side teachers, the difference between groups ran along age or grade lines, with high school students being different than college students, college freshmen being different than sophomores, sophomores than juniors, and so on. For the US-side teachers, this found expression in different ways of treating Chinese-heritage and non-Chi- nese-heritage students. P31's perception is representative not only of the US-side group, but of all six teachers:

Uh, for the foreign students' part, I need to, um, give more interaction and, uh, more interesting stuff there. The reason is because, um, uh, well, there's a culture difference. So, they seem to need more, more stimulation [laughs] to get them motivated. So I may, uh, design - make it, like uh, more [laughs again]. But for the Chinese part, I may focus a little bit more on the content. Because their style may be a little different. Their expectation may be a little different. (143-144)

Clearly, P31 holds certain differences between the two groups of students. The Chinese-heritage students 'need more content' because they are more serious about content, while the non-Chinese-heritage students need 'more interaction and, uh, more interesting stuff there' because they are less able, in her estimation, to handle a greater amount of content. The issue here is not whether her perception is objectively correct; the issue is that she perceives differences between the two groups and so teaches them differently.

 
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