Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Descriptive Study of Student Incivility in the People's Republic of China

Academic journal article Journal of Cultural Diversity

Descriptive Study of Student Incivility in the People's Republic of China

Article excerpt

Abstract: Disruptive student behavior is an emerging concern in institutions of higher education in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Faculty from a nursing college in the PRC expressed a desire to study the type and frequency of student incivility. Nursing faculty from the United States of America and the PRC collaborated on a study to measure faculty and student perceptions of student incivility in a Chinese nursing college. Student incivility in nursing education is a relatively new field of investigation; however, this preliminary study in the PRC shows it to be a substantial problem that needs to be addressed.

Key Words: Student Incivility, People's Republic of China, Descriptive Study

The study of incivility in nursing education is relatively recent; however, the body of knowledge is growing as more empirical studies are conducted. The collaborative international relationship, foundational to this study, began in 2003 when a nursing professor from a nursing school in the northwest United States of America (USA) was asked to provide curriculum consultation to a nursing college in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Several years of collaboration on curriculum development and on implementing new teaching-learning strategies strengthened faculty relationships between the two universities. In 2006, the relationship culminated in a signed Agreement of Cooperation between the two nursing schools. The purpose of the agreement was to establish specific educational relationships, to promote academic linkages, and to engage in collaborative research. As the faculty from both universities continued to work together, the topic of disruptive student behavior entered the dialogue. Various university faculties in the PRC had begun observing disruptive student behavior (Lin, 2007). Alert to the problem and wishing to take a proactive approach, the Chinese faculty expressed a desire to study student incivility and to devise strategies to prevent and effectively manage these behaviors. Consequently, nursing faculty from both universities collaborated to conduct a study to measure faculty and student perceptions of student incivility in a nursing college in the PRC. The study was conducted in 2007 and is the focus of this report.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Academic incivility is a concern for nursing education. Incivility in nursing education is defined as rude or disruptive behaviors which often result in psychological or physiological distress for the people involved, and if left unaddressed, may progress into threatening situations (Clark, Farnsworth, & Landrum, 2009). Studies conducted in the USA reveal that the level of student incivility in nursing education has increased and that some faculty experienced physical and psychological symptoms as a result of uncivil student encounters (Lashley & deMeneses, 2001; Luparell, 2004, 2007). Clark and Springer (2007a, 2007b) measured incivility in nursing education from both student and faculty perspectives and found that both groups reported feeling stressed and anxious as a result of incivility. In subsequent studies, Clark (2008a, 2008b) found that incivility in nursing education often results in psychological and physiological distress in both groups and negatively impacts the academic environment. Faculty and students reported being highly stressed, overworked, and over-extended by multiple and competing demands. In addition, an inability to cope effectively with stress often resulted in anger and uncivil behavior. In this article, incivility and uncivil behavior are used interchangeably.

Theoretical Underpinnings of Incivility in PRC

The PRC has an interesting and unique culture. Melby, Dodgson, and Tarrant (2008) noted that eastern cultures, including mainland China, have traditionally emphasized collectivism, a philosophy that recognizes the group rather than the individual as the fundamental unit of political, social, and economic concern. …

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