Encountering the "Asian learner": teaching and learning experiences of postgraduate Asian learners and their lecturers in Australia and Vietnam

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[Truncated abstract] Research conducted into approaches to education in Asia, has depicted Asians and their teaching and learning styles as the Other. In seeking to counter this notion, this study aimed to generate theory about how Asian postgraduate students and their lecturers make meaning from their teaching and learning encounters.

Two sites were selected for the single case community; a Vietnamese educational training centre and a partner Australian university. Participants at Site One were Vietnamese English language teachers enrolled in an MA Applied Linguistics course offshore and their local Vietnamese lecturers. Participants at Site Two were Asian English language teachers also taking the MA course and their onshore lecturers. The study took an interpretivist, interactionist theoretical approach. A case study design was used to collect data via semi-structured interviews, related documents and primary texts. Data were analysed using a thematic approach.

Five propositions were generated from the findings of the study: firstly, Asian postgraduates’ perceptions and experiences, beyond the classroom, are both shared and disparate. Disparity is local context specific; secondly, there is positive appreciation of Western and Eastern educational discourses for teaching and learning in Asia by Asian postgraduate students and their lecturers; thirdly, despite positive appreciation of the value of Western and Eastern educational discourses, feelings of deficit and difference underlie much of the meaning that many Asian postgraduate students make from their encounters within, and beyond, the classroom in Asia and Australia. Fear and scepticism pervade these encounters; fourthly, irrespective of change in the Asia-Pacific region, there remains only partial movement towards the Third Space on two main fronts: Western Orientalist paradigms and approaches to teaching and learning; and fifthly, there is differential movement towards the Third Space in the Asia-Pacific region by Western lecturers, Asian lecturers and Asian postgraduates. All of them are close to occupying a position of Thirdness, both within the classroom and beyond, but Asian lecturers and Western lecturers are closer than their Asian postgraduates, and Asian lecturers are closer than their Western counterparts.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - 2013


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