Perspectives on Thinking, Learning, and Cognitive Styles

By Robert J. Sternberg; Li-Fang Zhang | Go to book overview

convince students that higher quality learning outcomes will be rewarded by higher grades.

These findings also indicate a relationship between the learning environment as perceived by the students and the approach to learning they are likely to adopt. Although the database is not as large or as compact as the others presented in this chapter, such relationships seem to hold across cultures and educational levels. More specifically it seems that, consistent with the previous discussion, superficial learning strategies are likely to be associated with courses perceived as having too heavy a workload and being poorly assessed. On the other hand, deep level learning outcomes are likely to be associated with students feeling involved in their classes and being supported by their teachers in both Western and non-Western contexts.

As well as allowing some insights into student learning in different cultures, the data presented in this chapter are relevant to the learning strategy-style debate discussed in greater depth elsewhere in this book. These data give cross-cultural support for both personality and contextual influences on how students learn. Thus, it appears it is necessary to take both these factors into account, and any theoretical position that focuses on one at the expense of the other can never be more than a partial explanation of how students learn.


Acknowledgements

This chapter is a considerably enlarged and revised version of a paper presented at 15th Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Bellingham, WA, August 3–8, 1998. The writer would like to thank Hotma Ria, Ros Murray-Harvey, Juan Carlos Torre Puente, Larry Bollen, Zhang Li Fang, Andreas Helmke, Gao Ling Biao, and Parill Stribling for providing unpublished data.


References

Abd-Elsamie, M. A. (1998). Anxiety level and classroom as perceived by pupils in relation to learning styles. Unpublished master's thesis, Zagazig University, Egypt.

Abouserie, R. (1995). Self-esteem and achievement motivation as determinants of students' approaches to studying. Studies in Higher Education, 20, 19–26.

Albaili, M. A. (1995). An Arabic version of the Study Process Questionnaire: Reliability and validity. Psychological Reports, 77, 1083–1089.

Altbach, P., & Selvaratnam, V. (Eds.). (1989). From dependence to autonomy: The development of Asian universities. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer.

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