Mainland Chinese Students’ Metacognition, Including their Conceptions of Learning: A Phenomenographic Study in Hebei and Shandong Provinces

  • Author / Creator
    Zhao, Zhanqiang
  • There is little empirical study in the literature to study Mainland Chinese students’ metacognition including their conceptions of learning. This research seeks to fill this gap by seeking to understand and describe Mainland Chinese students’ metacognition including their conceptions of learning science and the origins of these conceptions and learning processes. 96 students from 11 middle schools in two provinces in northern China were interviewed and their lived experiences of learning science were recorded and transcribed. Phenomenography was the major methodology applied to search for the common themes and at the same time the variation among the students in conceiving science learning. Seven categories of conceptions of learning science emerged from the phenomenographic analysis: ‘listening to the teacher,’ ‘attending to exams,’ ‘memorizing,’ ‘understanding,’ ‘doing problems,’ ‘hard work,’ and ‘improving oneself.’ Three of the seven categories, i.e., ‘listening to the teacher,’ ‘attending to exams,’ and ‘hard work,’ are not found in the literature of conceptions of learning, and these three categories of conceptions of learning are reflections of the Chinese culture that values hard work, advocates respect for teachers, and holds a long history of imperial examinations. The outcome space of the conceptions of learning is proposed as a holistic structure in which the seven categories of conceptions of learning share equivalent positions, in contrast to the commonly found hierarchical structure in the literature in which the categories are arranged hierarchically from low levels to high levels. The variation in conceiving science learning among the participants resides in the two or more subcategories of each of the seven categories. The origins of these conceptions of learning reported by the students are learning experiences, parents, teachers, peers, and cultural values.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Thomas, Gregory (Secondary Education)
    • Pegg, Jerine (Elementary Education)
    • Gao, Lingbiao (the Institute of Curriculum Studies & Teaching Material Development, South China Normal University)
    • den Heyer, Kent (Secondary Education)
    • Nocente, Norma (Secondary Education)