Publication 7701

Tan C. (2016) Constructivism and pedagogical reform in China: Issues and challenges. Globalisation. Societies and Education 15(2): 238–247. Fulltext at
This article critically discusses the constructivist ideas, assumptions and practices that undergird the current pedagogical reform in China. The pedagogical reform is part of a comprehensive curriculum reform that has been introduced across schools in Mainland China. Although the official documents did not specify the underpinning theories for the pedagogical reform, Chinese scholars and educators have identified constructivism as a dominant theory. The essay argues that the acceptance of constructivist views and logics has generated three key challenges for Chinese educators with respect to the content, teaching approach and assessment. The challenges are the concern that constructivism will undermine content mastery, the perceived incompatibility between constructivism and the traditional transmission approach, and the misalignment between constructivism and the prevailing assessment system in China. The example of China adds to the international body of literature on the attraction and borrowing of ‘modern’ educational theories and practices, and the tensions and difficulties engendered in the process.

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