Mind and Virtue A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Beliefs about Learning

  • International mobility has become a central dimension of academic life. The numbers of students from diverse cultural backgrounds entering European institutions of higher edcuation are increasing annually. The current project is aimed at understanding the concepts of learning that both students and members of faculty from different cultural backgrounds endorse. The theory that forms the main theoretical base of this project is the mind - virtue orientation theory by Li (2003; 2005). Li found that Western students have a "mind oriented" approach to learning and Asian students have a "virtue oriented" approach. At the core of the mind orientation is the belief that learning is a cognitive endeavor. Learning is primarily a process of developing ones thinking skills. In the virtue orientation, learning is perceived as the development of the person as a whole, including moral and social domains. The dissertation presents four studies that were conducted on the basis of this framework. First, an extensive theoretical analysis was conducted to assess whether previously segregated findings in the literature could be integrated into the framework of the mind - virtue orientation. The following two chapters present the findings of survey studies that assessed the beliefs about learning of German and Chinese students and faculty, but also of students from two Eastern European countries; Poland and Romania. Findings indicate a cross-cultural difference between the Western and Asian context for both students and members of faculty, but not between the Western and Eastern European contexts. Lastly, an experimental study is reported that measured the mind and virtue orientation implicitly in German and Chinese students. In conclusion, the conducted studies provide evidence for the hypothesis that Western and East-Asian academics place a relatively different value on certain beliefs about learning over others. These beliefs can be meaningfully integrated into the framework of the mind and virtue orientation.

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Meta data
Publishing Institution:IRC-Library, Information Resource Center der Jacobs University Bremen
Granting Institution:Jacobs Univ.
Author:Marieke Christina van Egmond
Referee:Ulrich Kühnen, Song Yan, Jin Li
Advisor:Ulrich Kühnen
Persistent Identifier (URN):urn:nbn:de:101:1-201305157402
Document Type:PhD Thesis
Date of Successful Oral Defense:2011/09/29
Date of First Publication:2011/12/02
PhD Degree:Psychology
School:SHSS School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Other Countries Involved:United States of America
Library of Congress Classification:L Education / LB Theory and practice of education / LB1050.9-1091 Educational psychology
Other Organisations Involved:Bremen International Graduate School Of Social Sciences (BIGSSS)
Call No:Thesis 2011/42

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