Views on Learning Difficulties in Basic Sciences by Mainland Chinese Students




basic/pure science, cultural background, early education, memorization, scientific English, self-directed learning


Science programs at Western higher education institutions are popular with mainland Chinese students. My teaching experience in Chinese classes suggests significant challenges for China-raised students in gaining deep appreciation and understanding of the principles of pure science, which differs from applied science in motivation and skills. The learning difficulties can be traced to students’ early education and cultural background. Science further communicates in a different style to other forms of English, adding complexity to writing and reading science texts. The information provided here could benefit future development of new course structures and teaching style in basic sciences, which is expected to generate a better appreciation of Western basic science philosophy by China-raised learners who in turn will gain a more rewarding learning experience.

Author Biography

Ken Chan, Science Consultant, Australia

KEN CHAN received his PhD from the Department of Zoology at The University of Queensland (Australia) in 1993. He has since taught and researched in a number of universities in Australia and China, the latest being at Jinan University’s Research Institute of Hydrobiology as a Visiting Professor. He has published extensively in pure science areas that include evolutionary biology, ecology and zoology. His research interests now incorporate student behavior relating to learning biological sciences.


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How to Cite

Chan, K. (2021). Views on Learning Difficulties in Basic Sciences by Mainland Chinese Students. Journal of International Students, 11(3), 749–756.



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