Have you ever heard a principle saying ‘learning by doing’? I am not too mistaken if i say you heard it many times if not too often,,, 🙂 I was just thinking about it 2 days ago when someone in my uni said that the way Australians and Asians learning is not the same. Well, I agree with that. Even one person’s way of learning is different from other people’s, isn’t it? But then, is the “learning by doing’ principle is applicable to everybody? or is there any principles are more applicable to certain people rather than that principle?
If I can share what I noticed during more than 7 months studying in this uni, I will say that ‘learning by doing’ is primarily the way Australian students learn, but note that we only want to compare Australian and Asian students. I have no lots of idea about that of European, American, and African students, even though there are quite many of them in my uni. Almost all Australian students usually freely express what they think of certain kinds of topics without any hesitation. Even though they are not quite sure with their opinion, they will spontaneously share what is in their mind with all the participants in class. but then, other people’s opinion will enrich their idea, and sometimes help them to be sure about their opinion. Yeah, it is their way of learning.
On the other hand, Asian students usually choose to be quiet if they are not really sure with their opinion. Some of them even choose to say nothing in the class even though they know the answer. If they have something difficult to understand, many of them will find it by themselves by reading books or asking lecturer at the end of the session. I can’t explain why that is. I am an Asian student and have to admit that it also happens to me. Sometimes when I have a question, I’ll wait until the end of the session when I am sure that the lecturer won’t explain about the thing I want to know. If then I choose not to ask the lecturer, I will find it out by myself. Again, I can’t explain exactly why it is.
I tried to find the reasons, really. But again, these reasons are only from my perspective, you probably have different perspectives,,,
Probably, it is because of the culture. First, Asian people usually submit to the people older than themselves, so that arguing or questioning what they say is often considered as an impolite behaviour. Second, Asian students often only receive and say yes to the teachers in school without critically discuss anything the teachers teach, so discussing is only small part of the study. Thirdly, there is a kind of fear of having not good enough opinion, so that if there are any ideas or opinions, Asian students only keep them in mind and refuse to share them in class. This culture is taken wherever Asian students go. And I also do the same thing,,, even though sometimes I successfully break it down by forcing myself to deliver my opinion in class.
Regarding this matter, I just want to say that when you see and know there are Asian students in your class who are too quiet, never share their ideas, or kind of things, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know anything, or have no ideas at all about the topics being discussed, they probably have a different way of learning, not by doing and then learning like what Australian students often do, but rather ‘learn’ and when they are sure, they ‘do’.