Infusing IB Philosophy and Pedagogy into Chinese Language teaching/The Discursive Construction of Intercultural Understanding in China: A Case Study of an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

By Cambridge, James | The International Schools Journal, April 2016 | Go to article overview

Infusing IB Philosophy and Pedagogy into Chinese Language teaching/The Discursive Construction of Intercultural Understanding in China: A Case Study of an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program


Cambridge, James, The International Schools Journal


Infusing IB philosophy and pedagogy into Chinese language teaching Ian Hill & Mark S K Shum Woodhridge, Suffolk: John Gatt Educational Ltd», 214 pp* ISBN: 978-1-909717-65-7

The Discursive Construction of Intercultural Understanding in China: A case study of an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Wang Xi Lan ham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 233 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4985-1430-9

Two books are presented for review in this article. Both are remarkable because they discuss *international-mindedness* (IM) and the implementation of IB programmes in China from the perspectives of Chinese teachers and learners but there are interesting differences between them. One is an edited volume with multiple authors, presenting the output of a university department based in Hong Kong (augmented by Dr Ian Hill, the former Deputy Director General of the IB), with a focus on curriculum research in the context of language acquisition. The other is the work of a single author based at a university in Beijing, possibly the outcome of a doctoral research project, and has a focus on anthropological inquiry.

The book edited by Dr Ian Hill and Dr Mark S K Shum is divided into three sections comprising "IB philosophy, teaching and learning', 'Implementation of IB philosophy in classroom practice and teaching materials development*, and 'Innovative pedagogy in IB Chinese teaching*. Hence, whereas the later sections of the book are written for a subject specialist audience, there is still much of interest for the more general reader in the field of education for international-mindedness.

There is sustained reference throughout to a recent publication by Dr Hill (2015) on the history and development ofinternational-mindedness* in which he proposes a dichotomy of Eastern and Western 'traditional* educational values. While I would argue that such a comparative model is a contestable hypothesis, since it presents what I consider to be an 'orientalising* view of difference (Said 1978), I concede that it presents a useful hook upon which to place the variety of productive debates that are outlined in this book.

Informed by Hill's framework; a chapter by Shum et al discusses When the IB Learner Profile meets Eastern Confucian tradition*. The authors present a comparison between the IB Learner Profile (IBLP) and the philosophy of Confucius. The specifications of IB learners to be 'knowledgeable', 'thinkers*, 'communicators* and so on are mapped onto selected examples of Confucian thought. The authors propose that Chinese language teachers adopt avariety of strategies that reconcile these positions that include ^similarity in difference* embracing concretizing (realisation of the IBLP in a more understandable way through examples from Chinese culture) and interpreting (new interpretations of the IBLP or Chinese cultural values), as well as 'difference in similarity* embracing comparing (engaging critical thinking between the IBLP and Chinese cultural values) and co-access (coexistence of IBLP attributes and Chinese cultural values with students accessing each through different teachers).

Participation by teachers in a professional development programme can lead to award of the IB Certificate of Teaching and Learning. In a chapter on the pre-service education and training of IB Chinese language teachers, Shum et al discuss how two phases of teaching practice offer different professional development contexts. A 'school attachment* phase provides opportunities to observe 'Anglo-European* ideological and social normative practices that are in contrast to those that the student teachers is otherwise accustomed to. This gives the teachers a repertoire of techniques by which they can assert their professional and social authority in otherwise unfamiliar cross-cultural teaching settings in the subsequent *main teaching practice* phase of their training.

Malcolm Pritchard discusses Chinese language acquisition and curriculum design using authentic immersion and interactive language learning. …

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