November 12th 2008 Dominic Lachance
The cognitive-development of students is thought to have an impact on their ease
to learn in educational institutions. Li-Fang Zhang and David Watkins, in their article Cognitive development and student approaches to learning: An investigation of Perry’s theory with Chinese and U.S. university students, published in April 2001 by Springer in the third edition of the forty-first volume of the academic journal Higher Education, from pages 239-261, draw a link between the cognitive-development of students and their ease in learning through their different reasoning approaches in a cross-cultural comparison. Therefore, their thesis is that there is a relationship between the cognitive-development of students and their learning approach. However, according to them, this relationship needs to be examined in different cultural contexts, for cultural differences may have an impact on cognitive-development and thus, on their learning. This is why they consider relevant to conduct their study in two different countries with different kinds of cultures: the United-States and China. The article is divided in six main sections: the introduction, the explanation of two theories as well as their aims of research, the method used, divided in two paragraphs between the participants to their experiment and the means of measurements, the results section, the discussion and the conclusion.
The article is divided in many parts. In the introduction, the authors mention the main ideas of three groups of searchers, which turned out to be very influent in the field of understanding the way students learn in institutions of higher education. The most important of these ideas are Perry’s theory of intellectual and ethical development and the theoretical framework of Marton and Säljö, who claim that students use two distinct approaches in the process of learning: the deep...