# What Primary Students in the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan Value in Mathematics Learning: A Comparative Analysis

- 758 Downloads
- 5 Citations

## Abstract

It has become increasingly recognized that what teachers and students value affect teaching and learning in general and in the area of mathematics in particular. Yet, the extent to which this is so varies across cultural regions. In recent years, how the ethnic Chinese teach and learn mathematics has attracted much attention worldwide. It is precisely the purpose of the present study to investigate the value structures of three Chinese regions. Using a recently developed and validated questionnaire, students’ values in mathematics learning in the Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan are delineated. In the first place, the results reveal that there are six dimensions in the students’ value structure, namely *achievement*, *relevance*, *practice*, *communication*, *information and communications technology* as well as *feedback*. However, in each of the six value components derived from the principal components analysis, statistically significant differences between the regions were found.

## Keywords

Cross-cultural comparison Effective teaching Factor structure Mathematics learning The Chinese learner Values## Notes

### Acknowledgments

The authors would like to express their gratitude to all those who helped in administering questionnaires for us in the respective various regions. Special thanks are also due to the anonymous reviewers, whose comments contributed in the shaping the final version of this article. We would also like to thank Ms. Irene Sze who provided helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. The first author acknowledges the financial support by The Chinese University of Hong Kong Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants) (Project Code: 4058011).

## References

- Anthony, G. & Walshaw, M. (2008). Characteristics of effective pedagogy for mathematics education. In H. Forgasz, T. Barkatsas, A. Bishop, B. Clarke, P. Sullivan, S. Keast, W. T. Seah & S. Willis (Eds.),
*Research in mathematics education in Australasia 2004–2007*(pp. 195–222). Rotterdam, the Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar - Atweh, B. & Seah, W. (2007, November).
*Theorising values and their study in mathematics education*. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Fremantle, Australia.Google Scholar - Bartlett, M. S. (1950). Tests of significance in factor analysis.
*British Journal of Psychology, 3*, 77–85.Google Scholar - Bishop, A. J. (1996, June 3–7).
*How should mathematics teaching in modern societies relate to cultural values–some preliminary questions.*Paper presented at the Seventh Southeast Asian Conference on Mathematics Education, Hanoi, Vietnam.Google Scholar - Bond, M. H. (1996). Chinese values. In M. H. Bond (Ed.),
*The handbook of Chinese psychology*(pp. 208–226). Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar - Bond, M. H. (Ed.). (2010).
*The Oxford handbook of Chinese psychology*. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar - Cai, J., Kaiser, G., Perry, B. & Wong, N. Y. (Eds.). (2009).
*Effective mathematics teaching from teachers’ perspectives: National and cross-national studies*. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.Google Scholar - Cohen, J. (1988).
*Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences*. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar - Curriculum Development Council (2002).
*Basic education curriculum guide building on strengths (primary 1 – secondary 3)*. Hong Kong: Government printer.Google Scholar - Dienes, Z. P. (1971).
*Building up mathematics*(4th ed.). London, UK: Hutchinson.Google Scholar - Ding, R. & Wong, N. Y. (2012). The learning environment in the Chinese mathematics classroom. In Y. Li & R. Huang (Eds.),
*How Chinese teach mathematics and improve teaching*(pp. 150–164). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar - Education and Manpower Bureau (1998).
*Information technology for learning in a new era—Five-year strategy: 1998/99 to 2002/03*. Hong Kong: Government printer.Google Scholar - Fan, L., Wong, N. Y., Cai, J. & Li, S. (Eds.). (2004).
*How Chinese learn mathematics: Perspectives from insiders*. Singapore: World Scientific.Google Scholar - Fan, L., Wong, N. Y., Cai, J. & Li, S. (Eds.). (2015).
*How Chinese teach mathematics: Perspectives from insiders*. Singapore: World Scientific.Google Scholar - Fraser, B. J. (1998). Science learning environment: Assessment, effect and determinants. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.),
*The international handbook of science education*(pp. 527–564). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar - Ginsburg, H. P., Lin, C., Ness, D. & Seo, K. H. (2003). Young American and Chinese children’s everyday mathematical activity.
*Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 5*(4), 235–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback.
*Review of Educational Research, 77*, 81–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Hong, H. (1996). Effects of mathematics learning through children’s literature on math achievement and dispositional outcomes.
*Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 11*(4), 477–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Hsu, W. M. & Hsu, Y. T. (2009). The content analysis of algebra material in elementary mathematics textbook of Taiwan and Hong Kong.
*Journal of Educational Practice and Research, 22*(2), 67–94 [in Chinese].Google Scholar - Hsu, W. M. & Lin, M. J. (2009). A content analysis of geometry materials in elementary mathematics textbook of Taiwan, China and Hong Kong.
*Journal of Education National Changhua University of Education, 16*, 49–75 [in Chinese].Google Scholar - Kaiser, H. F. (1970). A second generation little Jiffy.
*Psychometrika, 35*, 401–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Lam, C. C., Wong, N. Y., Ding, R., Li, S. P. & Ma, Y. (2015). Basic education mathematics curriculum reform in the Greater Chinese Region: Trends and lessons learned. In B. Sriraman, J. Cai, K. H. Lee, L. Fan, Y. Shimuzu, C. S. Lim & K. Subramaniam (Eds.),
*The first sourcebook on Asian research in mathematics education: China, Korea, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and India*. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar - Lampert, M. (1990). When the problem is not the question and the solution is not the answer: Mathematical knowing and teaching.
*American Educational Research Journal, 27*, 29–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Law, N., Pelgrum, W. J. & Plomp, T. (Eds.). (2008).
*Pedagogy and ICT use in schools around the world: Findings from the IEA SITES 2006 study*. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, the University of Hong Kong.Google Scholar - Law, H. Y., Wong, N. Y. & Lee, L. N. Y. (2012). A study into espoused values in Hong Kong mathematics classrooms.
*ZDM – The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 44*(1), 45–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Ministry of Education (2012).
*Mathematics curriculum standard for compulsory education stage*. Beijing, People’s Republic of China: Beijing Normal University Press [in Chinese].Google Scholar - Seah, W. T. (2005). Negotiating about perceived value differences in mathematics teaching: The case of immigrant teachers in Australia. In H. L. Chick & J. L. Vincent (Eds.),
*Proceedings of the 29th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education*(Vol. 4, pp. 145–152). Melbourne, Australia: PME.Google Scholar - Seah, W. T. (2013). Assessing values in mathematics education. In A. M. Lindmeier & A. Heinze (Eds.),
*Proceedings of the 37th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education*(Vol. 4, pp. 193–200). Kiel, Germany: PME.Google Scholar - Seah, W. T. & Andersson, A. (2015). Valuing diversity in mathematics pedagogy through the volitional nature and alignment of values. In A. Bishop, T. Barkatsas & H. Tan (Eds.),
*Diversity in mathematics education: Towards inclusive practices*(pp. 187–183). Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar - Seah, W. T. &Wong, N. Y. (Eds.) (2012).Values in East Asian mathematics education—the third wave [Special Issue].
*ZDM–The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 44*(1), 1–2. doi: 10.1007/s11858-012-0402-5. - Stevenson, H. W. & Stigler, J. W. (1992).
*The learning gap: Why our schools are failing and what we can learn from Japanese and Chinese education*. New York, NY: Summit Books.Google Scholar - Watkins, D. A. & Biggs, J. B. (Eds.) (1996).
*The Chinese learner: Cultural, psychological and contextual influences*. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre & Australian Council of Educational Research.Google Scholar - Watkins, D. A. & Biggs, J. B. (Eds.) (2001).
*Teaching the Chinese learner: Psychological and pedagogical perspectives*. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre & Australian Council of Educational Research.Google Scholar - Wong, N. Y. (1993). The psychosocial environment in the Hong Kong mathematics classroom.
*Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 12*, 303–309.Google Scholar - Wong, N. Y. (2004). The CHC learner’s phenomenon: Its implications on mathematics education. In L. Fan, N. Y. Wong, J. Cai & S. Li (Eds.),
*How Chinese learn mathematics: Perspectives from insiders*(pp. 503–534). Singapore: World Scientific.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Wong, N. Y., Han, J. W. & Lee, P. Y. (2004). The mathematics curriculum: Towards globalisation or Westernisation? In L. Fan, N. Y. Wong, J. Cai & S. Li (Eds.),
*How Chinese learn mathematics: Perspectives from insiders*(pp. 27–70). Singapore: World Scientific.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Wong, N. Y., Marton, F., Wong, K. M. & Lam, C. C. (2002). The lived space of mathematics learning.
*Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 21*, 25–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Wong, N. Y., Wong, W. Y. & Wong, E. W. Y. (2012). What do Chinese value in (mathematics) education.
*ZDM – The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 44*(1), 9–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Wong, N. Y. (2003). The influence of technology on the mathematics curriculum. In A. J. Bishop, M. A. Clements, C. Keitel & J. Kilpatrick (Eds.),
*Second international handbook of mathematics education*(Vol. 1, pp. 271–321). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar - Wu, C. J. (2013).
*The comparison of the fifth-grade teacher’s and students’ views on effective mathematics teaching and learning*(Unpublished master thesis). National Taipei University of Education, Taipei, Taiwan [in Chinese].Google Scholar