Thu, Apr 25, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Study sheds light on shy behavior of university students

EDUCATIONAL HABITS:The study found that most Taiwanese students tend not to raise questions for fear of ‘losing face’ and are inclined to rote learning

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A study funded by the National Science Council suggested that the main reason why Taiwanese university students often remain quiet in class is because they are concerned about saving face and are conditioned to learning by simply listening to lecturers.

The study also discovered that only 28 percent of university students in Taiwan interact with their teachers, and only 36 percent participate in class discussions or raise questions in class.

The research was conducted by National Taiwan University’s Center for Teacher Education and National Tsing Hua University’s Institute of Learning Sciences.

Wei Chih-fen (危芷芬), an associate professor at Taipei Municipal University of Education’s Psychology and Counseling Department, said that many Taiwanese students do not raise questions in class because they are afraid their questions would be considered stupid.

As such, they prefer to ask teachers privately after class to “save face,” Wei said.

The research also suggested that another reason for the lack of class interaction was because up to 83 percent of students are inclined toward rote learning content from textbooks and notes.

Although many Taiwanese students perform well in tests that demonstrate skills from practice, their abilities to explore an idea and find proof to support an argument are relatively weaker, Wei said.

The research suggested that to encourage university students to raise questions, teachers could adjust their teaching methods by giving students more time to think, to ask open-ended questions so that students feel safer in expressing their thoughts without being afraid to give wrong answers, and allow group discussions.

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