Jade will never become a work of art without being carved: Western versus Chinese attitudes toward discipline in education and society

Chris Baumann, Rosalie L. Tung, Hamin Hamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Educational institutions are increasingly catering to culturally diverse populations of students. The different attitudes and values that these students, and their families, bring with them pose a challenge to the ability of educators to meet the expectations of stakeholders. Amy Chua’s bestselling book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom (2011) generated a lively debate on the merits and pitfalls associated with the strict disciplinarian approach of East Asian parents vis-à-vis the less authoritarian practices favored in the West. This three-country study examines the attitude toward obedience, school discipline and law enforcement among overseas Chinese in Australia and Canada, Chinese in China and Caucasians in Australia and Canada. 755 responses were obtained from people in these three countries. The findings reveal that, in general, overseas Chinese espouse their own unique attitudes on discipline in society and thus have “cross-verged” with their Caucasian counterparts, to some extent. Overseas Chinese favor stricter schools than the Chinese in China, while the latter support obedience to one’s superiors. First-generation immigrants emulate the majority culture in their adopted country of residency, whereas the second-generation Chinese stress returning to their cultural roots. The implications of these findings for theory and practice are then discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalVirginia review of Asian studies
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Discipline
  • Obedience
  • China
  • Overseas Chinese
  • Immigrants
  • Tiger Mom

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