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Inquiry-Based Learning in China: Do Teachers Practice What They Preach, and Why?

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China is undergoing an education reform that calls for a change from a rigid, fixed curriculum and didactic pedagogy to a more flexible, school-based curriculum and more inquiry-based pedagogy. This study investigated the extent to which Chinese middle and high school teachers (a) endorse an inquiry-based approach and underlying learning principles, (b) practice this mode of teaching, and (c) believe that the approach is practically viable in the current educational contexts in China. A structured survey was developed to solicit Chinese teachers’ responses to the above three issues. A total of 582 valid responses were collected, representing middle and high schools in different geographic locations. The results show that Chinese teachers are receptive to inquiry-based pedagogy but find practical constraints in fully implementing it. Several cultural and pragmatic reasons are explored. Policy implications are discussed with respect to teacher education/development, capacity building for the new pedagogy, and teaching/evaluation alignment. Finally cultural issues are discussed regarding using inquiry-based learning to enhance critical thinking and nurture independent thinkers.

10.1007/s11516-011-0125-3
/content/journals/10.1007/s11516-011-0125-3
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/content/journals/10.1007/s11516-011-0125-3
2011-01-01
2016-12-04

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