Western versus Eastern educational philosophies - Bridging a divide or when socrates and confucius collide? Three scholars discuss their doctoral work in the context of 'Asia as Method'.

Year: 2012

Author: Smith, Richard, Jiao, Xiaomin, Wu, Bin

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


In this chapter one Aotearoa/New Zealand Pakeha (Caucasian) academic and two Chinese academics that were former doctoral students who studied in Aotearoa/New Zealand discuss their educational philosophies and use of 'Western' research methods in their doctoral theses. The educational philosophies and theories are drawn upon in each authors' doctoral work are outlined and examined in relation to 'Western' versus 'Eastern' research methods in light of provocations by Chen (2010) in Asia as Method. Each scholar's background and narratives of studying in another country are outlined and explained in relation to the context of Socratic and Confucian educational ideas. Personal narratives are provided about adjustment to new domains, e.g. Xiaomin and Bin offer these as Chinese postgraduate students studying in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Richard in relation to his overseas experience as a teacher/researcher educational sojourner in Singapore. Insights into academic identity theory and the primacy of 'Western' epistemologies in the higher education system are outlined and critiqued in light of Chen's important challenges to 'Asian' scholars and Western scholars reporting on research in 'Asian' contexts.