December 2006
Volume 10, Number 3

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Bridging The Gap Between Teaching Styles And Learning Styles: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Lixin Xiao
College of Foreign Languages
Nankai University
Tianjin, P. R. China


This paper investigates the nature of the mismatch caused by culture-based differences in perceptions and expectations of L2 teaching and learning style preferences between Irish English teachers and Chinese students. A survey was conducted which included a questionnaire, interview and class observation at two language institutes in Dublin, Ireland. The findings suggest the mutual awareness of the "cultures of learning" should be required. It is mutual responsibility to gain intercultural understanding so as to ensure effective teaching and learning outcomes. Teachers ought to develop awareness of their learners' culture of learning including their needs, wants, capacities, potentials and learning style preferences to meet learners' expectations and to foster their guided style-stretching. In the meantime, Chinese students also need to learn to develop sense of cultural sensitivity to reflect their own learning styles and strategy use to gradually adapt to the Irish school culture. Finally appropriate bridging strategies are recommended to native English-speaker teachers who are engaged in teaching Chinese ESL learners in their home institutions.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, China, attitudes, strategies, learning styles, teaching styles, pedagogy

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