Adult Learning Styles of Modern Chinese Educational Leaders: Challenging the Stereotype

Year: 2007

Author: Moore, Leah, Wang, Ting

Type of paper: Refereed paper

A significant teaching challenge in China is dealing with misconceptions about the learning styles of Chinese students. We found that one of the principal reasons students enrol is to be exposed to non-Chinese ideas and concepts and to engage with alternative approaches to communication and adult learning. Students answered questions about their preferred learning styles, they self-assessed their Gardner' multiple intelligence profiles and identified whether they were more dominantly visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners. Linking this information with in-class observations we found that more than 70% of the cohort had profiles that were similar to the patterns observed for Australian cohorts. However, while visual-auditory, mathematical and interpersonal intelligences were dominant as expected, many identified music or spatial intelligences in the second ranked position. When we look more closely at the cohort we find that these individuals are educational leaders who are already introducing innovation and consultative practice in their workplaces. They have come to the program for inspiration, ideas for implementation and a conceptual argument to support the choices they make. The combination of capacity to deal with issues presented in a direct manner, but also bring creativity to decision-making, as illustrated in the findings, is desirable in modern educational leaders.

Keywords: Educational leadership, learning styles, international education