Teacher expectations of student reading in middle and high schools A Chinese perspective

L I Q I N G TAO College of Staten Island, CUNY, USA H A I WA N G Y UA N Western Kentucky University, USA L I Z U O United Nations, New York, USA G AOY I N Q I A N Lehman College, CUNY, USA B RU C E M U R R AY Auburn University, USA



& 2 0 0 6 I N T E R N AT I O N A L



and S A G E P U B L I C A T I O N S (www.sagepubl ica t ions.com)

VOL 5(3) 269–299 ISSN 1475-2409

DOI: 10.1177/1475240906069449

This article investigates China’s middle school and secondary school teacher expectations of student book use as an aspect of learning environments. A questionnaire was used to probe the following teacher expectations: physical accessibility of books, homework, mastery of texts and types of extra-curricular reading materials. Results showed China’s teachers believed in mastering exemplary texts and the moral value of reading materials. Homework was viewed as a means to enhance student learning. The findings of the article can help educators understand better the learning environments of Chinese students and can offer a critical comparison of learning environments across cultures.

KEYWORDS Chinese teachers, middle schools, secondary schools, student book use, teacher expectations

Cette étude analyse ce que les enseignants des établissements

d’enseignement secondaire (inférieur et supérieur) en Chine attendent

des élèves en matière d’utilisation de livres comme aspect des

environnements d’apprentissage. Un questionnaire a ainsi été utilisé

pour mieux connaı̂tre les attentes des enseignants en termes

d’accessibilité physique des ouvrages, de travail à la maison, de

connaissance approfondie des textes et de types de documents lus en

dehors du programme. Les résultats ont montré que les enseignants

des établissements concernés par cette étude accordent de l’importance

à la connaissance approfondie des textes de référence et à la valeur

morale des documents de lecture. Le travail à la maison est quant à

lui considéré comme un moyen permettant d’améliorer

l’apprentissage des élèves. Les résultats de cette étude peuvent aider les

professionnels de l’éducation à mieux comprendre les environnements

d’apprentissage des élèves chinois et apporter un élément de

comparaison pour étudier les environnements d’apprentissage de

différentes cultures.

En este estudio se investigan las expectativas de los profesores de

colegios de secundaria en China con respecto al uso de los libros por

parte de los alumnos como un aspecto del entorno de aprendizaje. Se

utilizó un cuestionario para indagar sobre las siguientes expectativas

de los docentes: accesibilidad fı́sica de los libros, tareas para la casa,

conocimiento profundo de los textos y tipos de materiales de lectura

extracurriculares. Los resultados mostraron que los profesores de


Teachers influence student learning in school at two levels. First, teachers explicitly teach curricula. Their teaching directly influences how well students learn planned objectives. Second, teachers are responsible for creating classroom learning environments. Teachers affect students’ learn- ing by holding expectations about students (Rosenthal and Jacobson, 1968), by selecting and using textbooks and by making books available to students (Worthy et al., 1999). Examining teacher expectations of students can highlight the context that structures and shapes student learn- ing, thus helping us provide optimal learning environments for student success.

This article examines Chinese middle school and high school teachers’ expectations of students’ use of books. Understanding these expectations will benefit teachers and educators responsible for an increasing number of Chinese students worldwide. Teachers in host countries need to under- stand not only who their students are, but also to understand the learning environments that have shaped their Chinese cultural perspectives, allow- ing teachers to adapt curricula to capitalize on their students’ prior learning experiences and to maximize their success. An understanding of Chinese teachers’ expectations of students’ use of books should offer a glimpse into the learning contexts in which Chinese students have been nurtured. In a broad sense, we examine the educational practices and ideas of a cul- ture with a long history of education. Such a comparison promotes serious reflections for educational rethinking and reform.

The article is organized as follows. First, we introduce some background as to why this issue of teacher perspective on book use is important. The introduction will be situated in a literature review examining both learning environments in general and China’s educational context in particular. Second, we present the research methodology used to explore teacher expectations. Third, we present and discuss our results. In light of the study’s limitations, we conclude with a brief summary and discuss the implications for an international education audience.


Journal of Research in International Education 5(3)

los colegios estudiados valoran el conocimiento profundo de textos

ejemplares y el contenido moral de los materiales de lectura. Las

tareas para realizar en casa se ven como un medio de mejorar el

aprendizaje de los alumnos. Las conclusiones de este estudio pueden

ayudar a los educadores a comprender mejor los entornos de

aprendizaje de los alumnos de China y ofrecer un punto de referencia

crı́tico para comparar entornos similares en otras culturas.


Learning environments and students’ achievement Educational researchers around the world have given extensive attention to the effect of learning environments on student learning (e.g. Cavanagh and Waugh, 2004; Eisner, 1985; Fraser, 1994; Roelofs et al., 2003; Webster and Fisher, 2003; Wubbels et al., 1997). Researchers have closely examined many factors, ranging from different effects of classroom and school level climates (Fraser, 1994; Freiberg, 1998), to interpersonal skills of teachers (Wubbels and Levy, 1993 cited in Khine and Fisher, 2003), to perceptions of participants interacting in learning environments (Fraser and O’Brien, 1985). Vygotsky’s social cognitive approach, social construc- tivism and the earlier seminal work of field theory (Lewin, 1936 cited in Fraser, 1994) have provided theoretical frameworks for researchers explor- ing the importance of learning environments on knowledge development and acquisition.

Among various influential factors in students’ learning environments, teacher expectations have been found to be positively associated with students’ learning outcomes and attitudes toward learning (Hernandez, 2001; Rosenthal and Jacobson, 1968). In examining learning as a result of complex interactions of factors in classrooms, American researchers Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) found that teacher expectations of students measurably affect learning outcomes. High and low teacher expectations are associated with correspondingly higher or lower achievement levels. Hernandez (2001) likewise highlights the facilitative function of teacher expectations in Hispanic minority students. In the UK, Mujis and Reynolds (2002) found that teachers’ behaviors and beliefs have both direct and indirect influence on students’ mathematics achievement. In Korean educa- tion, Lee (1996) found evidence that teacher behaviors are directly affected by their instructional beliefs. A recent Australian study by Cavanagh and Waugh (2004) further confirmed the positive correlation between teacher expectations and students’ formal learning outcomes, pointing toward the importance of building school and classroom cultures that are optimally congenial to students’ learning growth. Webster and Fisher (2003) found correlations between Australian students’ achievement in mathematics and science and their school culture and environments. New Zealand researchers Anderson et al. (2004) reported that students’ classroom parti- cipation, task engagement and task completion are significantly related to classroom learning environments. As is evident, environment–achievement correlations from educational research around the world confirm the importance of learning environments on student learning.

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


Important as learning environments are for student learning, they are not part of the explicit curriculum in school. Rather, the creation of a learn- ing environment in the classroom is part of the implicit (or hidden) cur- riculum, which is ordinarily the work of classroom teachers expressing their own educational theories and epistemological beliefs (Marra, 2005). Studies from a critical stance of curricular and school reform have exam- ined and highlighted the influence of a learning environment as an implicit curriculum (Good, 1987; King, 1986; Wren, 1999). Implicit curricula permeate school culture; they include such factors as social interactions, student perceptions, teacher expectations and the availability of support resources. To critical theorists, the implicit curriculum is invisible yet present, and can impose an obstructive role to school reform if not under- stood and confronted. When examined together with the literature on learning environments, the implicit-curriculum perspective unequivocally highlights the need for educators and educational researchers to look into the broad context of student learning to understand its impact on educa- tional achievement. In the case of China, researchers have yet to explore learning environments from an implicit perspective.

China’s learning environments in perspective: teachers and books In the long history of Chinese education, the teacher has played a crucial role both as a knowledge transmitter and as a model for students. Tradition- ally, teachers in China always held a position of authority to elucidate and pass on the knowledge and principles of classics to their students (Gardner, 1990). Han Yu (768–824 AD), one of the renowned Confucian scholars in the Tang Dynasty, once succinctly defined the role of a teacher as being that of ‘imparting the Way, delivering knowledge, and clarifying confusions’ (Shanghai Dictionary Press, 2002: 128). Further, a teacher was expected to be a moral person serving as a model for students in pursuit of knowl- edge. Such cultural attribution elevated teachers to a prominent position in traditional Chinese education, and vested in them an absolute authority over students’ school learning. Explicit curricula were thus passed on from teachers to students.

Explicit curricula in the past were dominated by Confucian ideology and the classics (Lee, 2000), which, to oversimplify, emphasized morality, virtue, personality cultivation and historical scholarship over natural sciences and mathematics (Feng, 1990). Explicit curricula were further consolidated through the powerful system of high stakes civil service examinations, which tied school learning with social success. Standard


Journal of Research in International Education 5(3)

examination practices such as requiring accurate reproduction of classic works (Tie Jin) and imposing a set formula for essay writing (Ba Gu Wen) in the civil service examinations heightened the role of the classics in tradi- tional curricula. Of course, modern Chinese education has consciously departed from the Confucian focus (You, 1998). Comprehensive curricula in modern grade schools include math, sciences, Chinese, humanities, etc. – comparable to what is typically offered internationally today.

However, the changing content of the explicit curriculum has not threatened the position of authority of teachers as knowledge transmitters and as models of learning, which remains a centerpiece in modern Chinese educational practice (e.g. Ingulsrud and Allen, 1999). Since teachers have such high status and authority over student learning in China, their voiced and unvoiced expectations of student reading affect student learning in school. Their expectations embody their beliefs and values as to how to use textbooks and what types of books are useful for students for extra- curricular reading, thus making teacher expectations about the use of books and textbooks a powerful part of the implicit curriculum in China.

Books in China have always had a unique role in education. Traditionally, the Confucian classics were the curriculum. Classical books were the central vehicle in traditional education, and they were viewed as the essential means of preserving and transmitting Confucius moral and philosophical beliefs (Lee, 1995). Indeed, the civil service examinations that lasted for 1300 years only enhanced the central role of classic books: generations of aspiring scholars were educated in the classics and classical commen- taries. In Chinese culture, studying the classical books earned an educated person a title of esteem: du-shu-ren, or literally, a ‘person who reads books’. This honorific signifies a fundamental understanding of traditional Chinese education hinging upon the importance of the classical books.1

Modern Chinese education has by no means relinquished this focus on books. Some recent reports have documented the centrality of textbooks in China’s classroom learning (Wu et al., 1999) as well as the importance of exemplary texts in Chinese proficiency standards (Shanghai Elementary and Middle School Instructional Material Reform Research Office, 1999). It is evident that books continue to enjoy a central place in Chinese education. When a reverence for authoritative books is combined with the tradition- ally revered authority of teachers, we would expect students’ learning in school to be strongly influenced both by the content of textbooks, that is, the explicit curriculum, and by the expectations of teachers as to how books should be used and learned, that is, the implicit curriculum.

Although there are observational reports about students and their learn- ing environments in China’s classrooms (Ingulsrud and Allen, 1999), few

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


studies have explored Chinese middle and high school teachers’ expecta- tions of student book use, a component of the implicit curriculum.2 We believe such studies could help us better understand the classroom learning environment, the reigning educational philosophy, and the behavior of students, and contribute to a literature that broadens the perspectives of educators across cultures and countries.

This article explores Chinese teacher expectations from the teachers’ own perspectives. In particular, we asked the following research questions:

(1) What are Chinese middle school and high school teachers’ expectations of student book use as a learning tool? Specifically, what are their expectations about homework and text mastery?

(2) What do teachers expect their students to read outside of their classes? What do they hope students to accomplish with outside reading?


A 49-item questionnaire, in Chinese, was designed to explore Chinese teacher expectations of student book use (see the Appendix). We relied on previous studies of book choices and of China’s traditional uses and beliefs about books (Tao and Townsend, 1994; Tao and Zuo, 1997) as the basis for item construction. The relevant question items focused on (1) expectations of students’ physical access to textbooks; (2) homework expectations; (3) expectations of mastery of book knowledge; and (4) expectations of types of extracurricular reading materials.

We heeded expert advice on survey questionnaire construction (Bau- mann and Bason, 2004; Rea and Parker, 1997) by taking the following steps. First, items eliciting answers on a similar underlying aspect were interspersed across the questionnaire. For example, items on homework were scattered throughout the questionnaire. Second, we employed reverse verbal statements (both negative and positive) to break a possible response set. Third, we used a variety of questions, including Likert-scale items, multiple-choice questions, and open-ended questions. The 35 Likert items were scaled 1 through 5 with 1 being ‘strongly agree’, 3 being ‘neu- tral’ and 5 being ‘strongly disagree’. Eighteen of these questions were included in the analysis; the other 17 are not used. The five multiple- choice questions had an unequal number of choices ranging from two to five items. The three open-ended questions required brief answers to follow up responses to multiple-choice questions or allowed teachers to supply their own choices. We also asked six questions at the beginning of the survey to collect demographic information.


Journal of Research in International Education 5(3)

The first two authors examined the draft version of the questionnaire independently to remove ambiguous or confusing words and phrases and to finalize the choice of items. Because dialect differences in Chinese expressions could result in misinterpretation by readers from different dialectal zones, we paid special attention to possible dialect ambiguity. In addition, because some items were first written in English and then trans- lated into Chinese, we took pains to ensure that translation or rephrasing in Chinese retained the original meaning in English while still sounding idio- matic in Chinese. For example, for the item ‘I think as long as students are reading, they’ll get the benefit’, we used a more idiomatic Chinese expres- sion than the literal English translation. We reached consensus on these items through discussion. The third author, a professional translator of English and Chinese at the United Nations, served as an additional check by answering each item during a 30-minute session. Her suggestions were incorporated into the final version, which was produced during several sessions of item-by-item discussion among the authors. The whole process of constructing the questionnaire took about two months. The Chinese version of the questionnaire is available upon request.

Cautions about the limitations of this study are warranted. First, in the Likert-scale items there is a neutral response. In the original Chinese, the wording ‘liangke’, meaning ‘both can do’, is a non-committal response. Some psychometricians argue for its inclusion to avoid a forced division along the scale of response, but we suspect that including a non-committal position may have increased teachers’ tendency to opt out of more direc- tional responses, which may have skewed the data toward non-commital positions. Second, use of an unpiloted survey may run the risk of misinter- pretation by respondents because of residual ambiguity in wording, thus affecting the information that we want to collect. However, given the multiple screening during item development, we believe this risk to be small. Third, because of logistic difficulties, the sample was not as large as we had hoped and was not randomized, which limits its power for statistical analysis. We list other limitations in the conclusion.

Ninety-three teachers from five public middle schools and high schools within a large school district in the Tianjin municipality participated in the study. Tianjin is one of the largest metropolitan areas in China. The teachers were recruited through mail and follow-up telephone calls as voluntary participants. The content areas they taught included Chinese, foreign languages, political science, mathematics, computer science, accounting, economics, history and physical education. They averaged 9.6 years of teaching experience. Since most content areas in China are taught through textbooks and other source materials such as supplementary readings, we

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


deemed it appropriate to contact all secondary content-area teachers in the final pool of potential participants.

We sent 200 questionnaires to teachers in May, and 93 were returned. The return rate of 46.5 percent is deemed satisfactory based on average return rates for surveys (Weisberg et al., 1996).

We analyzed the data both qualitatively and quantitatively. Qualitative data analysis was conducted in two parts. We first scrutinized the supplied responses to the open-ended items. Since the open-ended questions were answered only briefly and usually in phrases, we were able to copy and chart the answers onto chart paper for a holistic inspection. We analyzed responses to closed items (Likert scale and multiple choice) with frequency counts, categorizing the frequency of each response for a particular item.

A factor analysis was run on SPSS (Version 10) to verify the existence of distinctive factors. Results of the factor analysis were not significant in iden- tifying distinctive factors and will not be reported here.

Results and discussion

We present and discuss the survey results in the order of our research ques- tions. Results are summarized in tables where possible. Since not all parti- cipants responded to all items, the number of respondents varies across items. The percentage for each individual item is based on the valid responses to that item only. Our ensuing discussions will be situated, where appropriate, in the historical and cultural context of educational traditions in China.

Research question 1: What are Chinese middle school and high school teachers’ expectations of student book use as a learning tool? Specifically, what are their expectations about homework and text mastery? We used the following constructs to categorize teacher expectations of student book use: expectations of students’ physical access to textbooks; homework expectations; and expectations of mastery of book knowledge. These constructs categorize teacher expectations of book use from the con- crete to the illusive: from physical possession of books to the role books play in school learning.

Expectations of students’ physical access to textbooks Some back- ground knowledge on Chinese customs with textbooks may be helpful. Chinese students are required to purchase textbooks and other supple- mentary materials. The textbooks are paperbacks with an average length of


Journal of Research in International Education 5(3)

200 pages, supplemented by workbooks commonly required by teachers in each content area. Students have no lockers in which to keep their books in school. They have only an individual desk with storage space designated for each student during the school day, which may have to be shared with another student. Accordingly, Chinese students from elementary school onward are expected to carry all their books to and from school in their backpacks.

Teachers’ estimates of the number of books students carried in their backpacks are reported in Table 1. Estimates tended to skew toward the higher end, with 32 of 89 teachers estimating students carry more than nine books. Only five teachers thought students carry only one or two books. The responses to a related item, ‘I believe students should leave their textbooks at school’, are summarized in Table 2. Responses clustered around ‘disagree’ and ‘neutral’. Six out of 90 teachers strongly disagree with the statement; 28 teachers disagree and 38 teachers remain neutral; seven teachers agree and 11 teachers strongly agree. Though negative views tended to outweigh positive, more teachers with strong opinions on this question think students should leave their textbooks at school. Although most report students carrying many books home, and express approval of this homework burden, contrary views might be signaling a different understanding of the use of textbooks at home. Discussions on homework in the following section will elaborate further on the relevance of carrying textbooks home.

Homework expectations The following three items ask for teachers’ beliefs about textbook use, eliciting their homework expectations: ‘I believe the primary function of homework is to reinforce and digest the content taught in the classroom’; ‘I believe that homework helps students consolidate learning’; and ‘I believe homework should focus on

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


Table 1 Teacher estimates of how many books students carried between school and

home everyday

1 to 2


3 to 4


5 to 6


7 to 8


9 and above


Number of



Number of


5.7 16 19.7 17.7 32 88


of responses

5.7 18 21.5 19.3 36

broadening students’ knowledge’. As can be seen from Table 2, the responses to these three items are skewed towards ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’. Specifically, about 70 percent of the teachers either agreed or strongly agreed that homework helps to enhance their students’ learning. Only eight teachers disagreed. Neutral responses were given by 15 teachers for the first two statements, but 26 teachers were non-commital on the third statement. These data imply most teachers believe homework useful, but most see its use in reinforcing classroom learning rather than to broaden students’ knowledge (68 versus 52). The same trend is seen in the numbers of neutral responses to the three statements: fewer teachers are neutral about homework use to consolidate class learning than about using homework to broaden knowledge (15 versus 26).

While physical ownership of textbooks by students is universal in China, teachers are split in their views on whether their students should take books home. This is surprising given that a majority of teachers acknowledge their students carry more than five books home. Since Chinese students have no lockers in school, they usually carry them in their book bags to and from school. This might indicate reduced teacher expectations of


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Table 2 Frequency count and number of responses to focused questions

Item statements Strongly


% (n)


% (n)


% (n)


% (n)



% (n)

Number of



I believe students should

leave their textbooks at


12.2 (11) 7.8 (7) 42.2 (38) 31.1 (28) 6.7 (6) 90

I believe the primary

function of homework is

to reinforce and digest

the content taught in

the classroom

29.7 (27) 45.1 (41) 16.5 (15) 8.8 (8) .60 (8) 91

I believe that homework

helps students

consolidate learning

21.3 (19) 52.8 (47) 16.9 (15) 7.9 (7) 1.1 (1) 89

I believe homework

should focus on

broadening students’


23.3 (20) 37.2 (32) 30.2 (26) 9.3 (8) .60 (8) 86

their students reading textbooks at home. However, this is at odds with the fact that more than 70 percent of the teachers believe homework helps students either enhance their classroom learning or broaden their knowl- edge. Less than 10 percent of the teachers do not think homework is impor- tant in student learning.

To put the issue in perspective, homework is virtually universal in China, almost a certain extension of school routine. Either teachers assign home- work or students work on supplementary workbooks themselves on teachers’ or parents’ advice. Most Chinese parents spend time supervising their children’s homework or assign their own (Chao, 1996; Su, 2000). Parents may even be upset when their children do not have schoolwork. Teachers commonly assign exercises in textbooks or supplementary materials (Wu et al., 1999), which would be included in the books carried by students in their book bags. Thus, there is a contradiction between teacher perception of students’ high need for homework and their low need to carry their books home.

One plausible explanation for this discrepancy is that different subject areas might require a different amount of homework to supplement class- room learning. Sometimes adequate practice might be accomplished at school, while other areas might require more extensive practice at home. For example, physical education teachers likely require little or no home- work from their students, while mathematics teachers regularly assign it. To check this explanation, we revisited the original survey and examined the responses of physical education and mathematics teachers to compare the average answers to the item in question. Physical education teachers scored an average of 2.2 points (along the 1–5 Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree) on the item stating students should leave their books in school, while the math teachers scored an average of 3.3 along the scale. In other words, physical education teachers do not insist that their students should take their work home to the same extent as their math colleagues do. Though the difference in average frequency does not reach any statistical significance due to the small number of teachers in each content area, it suggests a comparative analysis of subject areas in future research.

We noticed that teachers’ typical understanding of homework is quite traditional. Most teachers (75 percent) expect homework to supplement classroom instruction, while 60 percent expect homework to be used to broaden students’ knowledge. While this is not a great difference, it is interesting to note that these teachers tend to view homework more as a tool to extend classroom instruction than as an opportunity to expand learning. Such a narrow view of the function of homework would not

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


recommend, for instance, extensive reading beyond the classroom to com- pete with the time for textbooks. This suggests that the central role of text- books in traditional Chinese education continues today, at least in the minds of many of the study’s respondents.

Expectations of mastery of book knowledge Six items were used to probe teacher perceptions of text mastery. They focused on the practice of repeated reading and recitation. The six items are:

(1) I require my students to get familiar with texts through repeated reading.

(2) I believe text recitation can enhance students’ reading proficiency. (3) I believe that in order to master the content of a text, students

should first recite it. (4) I allocate class time for students to practice reciting texts. (5) I believe recitation of exemplary texts can enhance students’ writing

ability. (6) I am against requiring students to recite texts.

Some variations were observed in teachers’ responses to these state- ments. As can be seen from Table 3, a majority of teachers (76 of 89) either ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they require their students to get familiar with texts by repeated reading. For the second, third, and fourth statements, the number of teachers who are in favor drops sharply. Statement 5 about recitation of exemplary texts enhancing writing has a different distribution. Half of the teachers agree or strongly agree, and very few disagree or strongly disagree. Statement 6 against text recitation has almost an equal number of teachers on either side of the argument, a distribution not seen in the responses to the previous statements in this section. These results show that while teachers are ready to acknowledge the role of repeated reading in familiarizing students with the texts to be learned, many of them are not convinced about the higher level effect recitation or memorization might achieve by enhancing writing ability, reading proficiency or comprehension.

Even so, about half of the teachers think that recitation is important, and only about one-fifth disapprove of recitation as a learning method. This is consistent with observations reported in other studies (Cheng, 1993; Doolin and Ridley, 1968; Petri, 1984; Unger, 1977). Teachers in China’s middle and high schools require students to be familiar with texts through repeated reading and recitation. Teachers see recitation as a necessary means to master the content taught. The fact that nine more teachers support


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committing exemplary texts to memory rather than a blanket approval of memorizing any text (54 versus 45, or 60% versus 50%) might point to their understanding of the purpose of memorization. Their interest in memorizing exemplary texts is in line with the traditional belief that exemplary texts can serve as a vehicle to master and transfer knowledge (Confucius, 500 BC [1990]; Gardner 1990). This emphasis on mastery through repeated reading and memorization reflects a time-honored prac- tice in Chinese education: mastery of books recognized as master works.

Summarizing responses to research question 1, we found that most Chinese middle school and high school teachers expect students to use textbooks for homework and view homework as an important adjunct to students’ learning at school, though that expectation might be in decline.

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


Table 3 Frequency count and number of responses to focused questions

Item statements Strongly


% (n)


% (n)


% (n)


% (n)



% (n)

Number of



I require my students

to get familiar with

texts through repeated


23.6 (21) 61.8 (55) 11.2 (10) 2.2 (2) 1.1 (1) 89

I believe recitation can

enhance students’

reading proficiency

16.9 (15) 33.7 (30) 30.3 (27) 19.1 (17) .60 (8) 89

I believe that in order

to master the content

of a text, students

should first recite it

14.9 (13) 31.0 (27) 32.2 (28) 20.7 (18) 1.1 (1) 87

I allocate class time for

students to practice

reciting texts

12.5 (11) 37.5 (33) 28.4 (25) 20.5 (18) 1.1 (1) 88

I believe recitation of

exemplary texts can

enhance students’

writing ability

19.1 (17) 41.6 (37) 30.3 (27) 5.6 (5) 3.4 (3) 89

I am against requiring

students to recite texts

9.1 (8) 33.0 (29) 17.0 (15) 35.2 (31) 5.7 (5) 88

In addition, most Chinese teachers expect students to master exemplary texts through recitation or repeated reading.

Research question 2: What do teachers expect their students to read outside of their classes? What do they hope students to accomplish with outside reading? We used the following constructs to categorize aspects of teachers’ responses related to this research question: understanding of students’ reading abilities; attitudes toward outside reading; and evaluation of texts for outside reading. These constructs help illuminate teachers’ understand-


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Table 4 Frequency count and number of responses to focused questions

Item statements Strongly


% (n)


% (n)


% (n)


% (n)



% (n)

Number of



Reading ability

My students have

difficulty reading

their textbooks

3.5 (3) 17.6 (15) 25.9 (22) 48.2 (41) 4.7 (4) 85

I believe my students

have very strong

reading ability

14.0 (12) 26.7 (23) 43.0 (37) 16.3 (14) .60 (8) 86

Teacher attitudes

I think as long as

students are reading,

they’ll have the


43.3 (39) 30.0 (27) 10.0 (9) 14.4 (13) 2.2 (2) 90

I encourage my

students to read a lot

of extracurricular


28.4 (25) 56.8 (50) 14.8 (13) .60 (8) .60 (8) 88

I often recommend

books for my students

to read after class

38.5 (35) 37.4 (34) 19.8 (18) 3.3 (3) 1.1 (1) 91

I often recommend

difficult reading

materials for my

students to read after


14 (12) 29.1 (25) 38.4 (33) 18.6 (16) .60 (8) 86

continued on next page

ing about whether students are capable of reading on their own, their beliefs about the value of extracurricular reading, and their evaluation of what students are reading. The items for each construct are listed below along with the frequency counts.

Reading ability As seen in the responses to the items ‘My students have difficulty reading their textbooks’ and ‘I believe my students have very strong reading ability’, about 40 percent of teachers see their students as very strong readers. More than half the teachers reject the notion that their students have trouble reading textbooks. Only one in five teachers see their students having difficulty reading textbooks, and only16 percent express some doubt about their students’ reading ability (with no one strongly contesting their students’ ‘very strong reading ability’). Thus, teachers in our sample appear to have moderate confidence in their students’ reading ability. They believe a majority of their students are per- forming at an acceptable level. This teacher confidence might support a willingness to recommend books to students for outside independent reading.

Teacher attitudes We probed teacher attitudes toward extracurricular readings regarding two associated aspects: teachers’ general attitudes toward extensive reading; and their specific actions related to extracurricu- lar readings. General attitudes toward broad reading are reflected in the

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


Table 4 continued

Item statements Strongly


% (n)


% (n)


% (n)


% (n)



% (n)

Number of



Teachers’ evaluation of

outside reading


I don’t think popular

reading materials on

the market are

appropriate for my


44.9 (40) 34.8 (31) 10.1 (9) 6.7 (6) 3.4 (3) 89

I believe many

popular reading

materials are a waste

of time

28.1 (25) 29.2 (26) 22.5 (20) 16.9 (15) 3.4 (3) 89

statement, ‘I think as long as students are reading, they’ll get the benefit.’ Teachers’ specific actions related to extracurricular readings are captured in the following three statements: ‘I encourage my students to read a lot of extracurricular materials’, ‘I often recommend extracurricular reading materials to my students’ and ‘I often recommend difficult reading materials for my students to read after class’. As can be seen from Table 4, responses were fairly consistent across these statements. A majority of teachers would encourage students to read extracurricular materials exten- sively, and they report that they often recommend such materials to their students. The only discrepancy occurs when it comes to recommending difficult materials for free-time reading. Less than half of the teachers agree or strongly agree with the statement.

Given the ubiquity of printed texts in modern society, it is unlikely that teachers would be averse to exposing their students to works beyond their textbooks, such as poems, novels, and autobiographies. In our survey, most teachers agreed that students benefit from independent reading, though they would be reluctant to recommend difficult reading materials that might challenge students beyond their ability, so as to dampen their interest. This endorsement of extensive reading indicates some change in the mentality that traditionally limited reading to exemplary texts.

Teachers’ evaluation of what their students are reading outside This topic comprises two aspects: teachers’ perception of the value of popular reading materials on the market; and their perception of the types of extracurricular materials students choose.

Teachers’ perceptions of the value of popular reading materials were probed by two items: ‘I don’t think popular reading materials on the market are appropriate for my students’ and ‘I believe many popular read- ing materials are a waste of time’. About 79 percent of teachers think popu- lar reading materials inappropriate for students (compared to 10 percent approval) and 57 percent think them a waste of time (versus 21 percent who see value in them). While these items might be distinguished in nuance, teachers’ responses evinced a similar attitudinal trend. Many teachers have concerns for popular reading materials they believe are inappropriate for their students, but fewer think reading popular materials is entirely frivolous.

Two open-ended questions were used to follow up responses about extracurricular reading materials: ‘To me, extracurricular materials are as follows’, and ‘My students’ extracurricular materials include the follow- ing’. In our sample, 59 teachers answered both questions, and another 14 answered one of the two. Their answers typically give a descriptive


Journal of Research in International Education 5(3)

label or titles of books and magazines (see Table 5). Because of the sporadic nature of the answers to these two questions, we report answers by cate- gory rather than as frequency counts. Table 6 lists teachers’ perception of appropriate extracurricular reading materials in juxtaposition with what they see their students reading. There are some clear discrepancies between the two. Fifteen teachers mentioned classics as appropriate extracurricular readings for their students, but only one teacher believes students are actu- ally reading classics on their own. Since our data in this study capture teacher perceptions rather than the actual reading practices of students,

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


Table 5 Extra curricular reading expected by teachers versus what teachers thought

their students actually read outside class

Teacher expected reading What they thought their students read



. Journals or books that are beneficial to students and can

broaden their perspectives

. Works that are uplifting and inspiring

. Books that are for the healthy development of mind and body

. Stories about heroes

. Those that nurture personality

. (Auto)biographies of famous persons

. Classical novels

. Reference books for learning and study

. Martial arts fictions

. Magazines and journals

. Science fictions

. Novels

. Books and magazines about movie stars, pop stars, and computer


. Cartoons

. Qiong Yao’s fiction

. Myriads of books

. Different students read very different things



. Reader’s Digest

. One Hundred Thousand Whys: A Science Encyclopedia

. Middle School Students

. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale


. The Dream in the Red Mansion

. The Third Wave

. Current Affairs

. Contemporary Monthly Novel

. Chinese Self-studies

. Teenage Boys and Girls

. Friends

. Soccer Weekly

. Soccer Fan

. Youth Digest

. Cartoons

. Girl Friends

. Tien Jing Youth Daily

Note: All of the above examples are translated direct quotes from teachers’ answers to the two open-ended questions.

we do not know whether the teacher estimates of reading ‘classics’ reflect the reality whether all the students are reading classics or just some are. However, the contrast between the number of teachers who espouse classic reading and who perceive their students actually reading classics is huge. Books with a moral emphasis are another category in which a teacher- student discrepancy exists. Six teachers regard such books as good choices for students, but only one teacher thinks students are reading them. We also note differences in the newspaper, magazine, fiction and cartoon cate- gories. In these categories, teachers tend to think students usually read more of such materials than they should.

Our survey results indicate that a majority of teachers in China reject popular and sensational novels and other reading materials in the market- place as inappropriate for student reading. While over half the teachers view these materials as simply a waste of time, many more find them objec- tionable per se for their students. In other words, they perceive popular reading materials as deleterious to their students’ education and would probably discourage such reading despite their willingness to encourage students to read outside of the classroom. In the open-ended responses, teachers allow that students need to read extracurricular materials. There- fore, we can surmise that excluding the popular literature they deem inap- propriate, the teachers would more likely recommend classics, educational materials, recognized fiction, biographies and autobiographies, materials emphasizing moral values and wholesome magazines.

We note a sharp contrast between what teachers recommend and what they perceive their students are choosing to read outside the curriculum.


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Table 6 Extracurricular reading materials



Teacher perception of

what students read


Informal books

Biographies and autobiographies


Books with moral emphasis




















Note: * These numbers refer to the frequency with which teachers mentioned each type of reading materisl.

In teachers’ perceptions, many of the materials they would recommend are not chosen by students. For example, only one teacher mentions students selecting classics for extracurricular reading, even though 14 teachers believe classics should be included in extracurricular reading. They believe their students are reading works they deem inappropriate, such as martial arts and Qiong Yao’s fiction.3

Such a mismatch between teachers’ expectation and their perception of their students’ actual reading likely occasions teachers’ disapproval and frustration. Teachers think students’ readings are not as valuable as they could be. For example, a teacher used the phrase ‘a myriad of readings’ [wu hua ba men] to describe students’ extracurricular readings. This phrase has a fairly negative connotation in Chinese, indicating a desultory variety of things usually uneven in value. Students favor periodicals such as Teenage Boys and Girls and Girl Friends, which are popular but of low literary quality. Teachers, on the other hand, recommend such books as How to Win Friends and Influence People, The Third Wave, The Dream in the Red Mansion, One Hundred Thousand Whys: A Science Encyclopedia, and periodicals such as Current Affairs, Middle School Students, and Readers’ Digest.

Teachers recommend books with a strong moral emphasis, in contrast to their perceptions of students’ chosen readings. Teachers prefer ‘works that are uplifting and inspiring’, ‘books that are for the healthy development of mind and body’, ‘stories of heroes’ and ‘that which nurtures personality’. Regrettably, they view students as reading ‘martial arts fiction’, ‘Qiong Yao’s fiction’, and ‘books and magazines about movie stars, [and] pop stars’. This concern for morality matches the moral and educational tradi- tion going back to Confucius that emphasized the importance of book choice and teachers’ role as guides and models for students, and their responsibility to develop in students a sense of morality through reading literature and practicing virtue. In traditional Chinese culture, education has been conceived as moral shaping and indoctrination by ancient sages through exemplary texts (Zhu Xi cited in Gardner 1990). About 800 years ago, Zhu Xi (1230–1300) even tried to replace then-popular literacy books with more orthodox Confucian texts, in the hope of correcting the corrupt behavior he detected and detested in society (Yuan, 1991). Thus, it is not surprising that following the lead of traditional Chinese edu- cation, today’s teachers consider morality as an indispensable element in students’ reading materials.

To summarize the answers to research question 2, we found teachers generally perceive their students as capable readers to whom they would recommend good literature for independent reading. Consequently, they

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


expect their students to read materials they deem appropriate, including classics and morally adequate books and magazines. As a matter of cogni- tive dissonance, they usually do not perceive their students to be reading the wholesome materials they endorse. Whether extracurricular reading is to broaden knowledge or to consolidate learning, teachers expect materials for outside reading to carry positive moral messages.

Some comments on the relatively high percentage of selection of the ‘neutral’ category As noted in the methods section, a considerable number of teachers chose ‘neutral’ to answer the Likert-scale questions. Although we do not have other substantive data in the questionnaire to support our interpretation, we speculate this response might be induced partly by the Chinese term for ‘neutral’ in the provided choices. The term ‘liang ke’ (‘both can do’) indicates a position that could lean toward either direction or allows for a logical middle position (Pedhazur and Schmelkin, 1991). According to Pedhazur and Schmelkin (1991), a central tendency in rating a scale with a middle point occurs frequently because raters can avoid extreme categories when they find it difficult to decide. In the present study, the middle point we have offered may have increased the choice of neutrality because some issues were difficult to decide, making a non-committal middle position an attractive alternative. As a result, this high percentage of ‘neutral’ responses should caution interpre- tation of teacher perceptions in the present study.


As a feature of the implicit curriculum in China’s middle and high schools, teacher expectations about reading have revealed factors likely to be influ- ential in Chinese education. Our survey indicates that China’s middle and high school teachers still believe in the value of mastering exemplary texts through repeated reading and recitation. Homework still holds signifi- cant weight as a means to enhance student learning, as does extracurricular reading. Teachers encourage extensive reading to a degree, yet perhaps not to the point of embracing all available books and magazines, because they do not recognize all reading materials as acceptable. The teachers we sur- veyed were clearly concerned about the lack of moral value of students’ extracurricular reading. Their preference for morally wholesome text reflects the influences of Confucian educational doctrine that continues to shape traditions of Chinese education.


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Limitations This study had several limitations that may limit generalization of the results. We employed a convenience sampling procedure that may have captured unique rather than universal characteristics, and our sample size was not adequate to conduct sophisticated statistical treatments. Further, the study relied on a single source of data. It depended on a questionnaire as its sole data source without triangulation of other data sources such as observations, interviews, analysis of documents and records. Finally, as noted above, the questionnaire was not piloted before being administered to the participants.

Regional differences in China should be taken into consideration in interpreting our results. As in many developing countries, China’s urban areas usually enjoy better education and more qualified teachers in their schools, whereas rural areas have more limited educational resources and face greater difficulty in attracting and retaining competent teachers. As one of the largest cities in China, Tienjin enjoys generous funding for edu- cation, well-established infrastructure, and an educated populace from which to recruit quality teachers. Therefore, the study’s conclusions might be more applicable to urban rather than to rural areas of China, and to large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Significance Despite these limitations, we believe this study has enhanced our under- standing of an important aspect of education in China’s middle and high schools.

First, the study has explored an aspect of implicit curriculum that has not been previously researched: teacher expectations of book use in China. Because of its influence on student learning, the implicit curriculum can either facilitate or inhibit the delivery of the explicit curriculum. This becomes particularly relevant in China’s educational system, where teachers have traditionally been viewed as authority figures in the classroom, able to exert marked influence on students’ learning through their own beliefs and values. Understanding the implicit curriculum is a first step in addressing educational issues arising from it (King, 1986; Wren, 1999). Some of these issues include rethinking students’ roles in a teacher-authority culture, and reconsidering the balance between breadth and depth of knowledge acquisition in the information age.

Second, this study may shed light on some of the educational practices observed in some of today’s Chinese classrooms. Historically and culturally, exemplary text learning, heavy homework load and recitation have been

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


common. These practices may stem from a traditional educational philoso- phy rooted deeply in the minds of middle and high school teachers. Shaped by the social culture and heritage of a traditional education, some teachers attempt to recreate a learning environment in line with what they have been taught to believe and expect of students. To fully appreciate the tradi- tional implicit curriculum in China, one may need to view it in the context of China’s educational tradition and culture. That frame of reference, high- lighted in the present study, may be helpful in observing China’s class- room instructional practices and understanding their origins and unique characteristics.

Third, the findings of the present study may be helpful to teachers in other countries who have Chinese students in their multicultural class- rooms. Teachers are usually an important first link between the students’ native culture and their new culture. Whether they succeed in the new environment depends to a great extent on teachers’ sensitivity, understand- ing and ability to appropriately guide them through their formative school years. Knowledge of their students’ educational background may assist teachers in creating successful learning experiences in the new environ- ment. The present study suggests that the learning environment they grew up in may encourage such behaviors as expecting and completing homework, memorizing exemplary texts and reciting in class. While these can facilitate learning in academic areas that require a sequential mastery of knowledge, especially at an early stage, they could also stifle creative, constructive and independent thinking where proactive participation is a key to success in advanced learning. Understanding the school culture of Chinese students may therefore offer teachers a better view of their strengths and weaknesses and a greater chance to create culturally condu- cive learning environments.

In a broader perspective, the present study may provide insights for classroom teachers in Western cultures. Rote memorization of texts to develop literacy skills and learn content has been widely rejected in the West since the mid-twentieth century (Goodman, 1986; Smith, 1971). A substantial amount of research has investigated various aspects of text teaching that emphasize the strategic, motivational, reflective, naturalistic, and constructive processes of learning (Schmeck, 1988), and these emphases have led to significant instructional change. Still, large numbers of students lag in their ability to read and write at adept levels, particularly in view of the ever-increasing literacy demands of the information age (Ravitch, 2000; Snow et al., 1998). The present study offers a glimpse into Chinese teachers’ perceptions of repeated reading and memorization as a means to develop students’ learning, particularly with exemplary


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texts. This focus on repeated reading and key texts may provide a useful way of thinking for classroom teachers when they try to coordinate a balance between textbook knowledge acquisition and strategic and con- structive learning.

Fourth, the findings of the present study have implications for adminis- trators who employ Chinese teachers. With globalization, more and more Chinese teachers teach in classrooms outside China. To enhance their success in international schools (and national schools with global perspec- tives), administrators need to be aware that their formative learning and teaching experiences in China will affect their conception of appropriate learning environments for their students. The present study offers admin- istrators a unique cultural perspective to understand Chinese teachers’ efforts to organize learning. It may help administrators design more rele- vant professional development experiences for Chinese teachers and for their international colleagues.

Future research The present study may be extended in future research to overcome its limitations. As noted, future studies should employ multiple data sources to analyze learning environments, including interviews, classroom obser- vations, and actual artifacts of homework assignments, to provide more comprehensive evidence and a more complete picture of Chinese educa- tional practice. Second, future research should incorporate perceptions of Chinese students and parents to balance the single perspective of teachers. Since the educational system usually represents a continuous experience for students from elementary school to college, we need to examine learning environments for students at different stages of their schooling by studying different age groups and including additional factors known to affect the culture of learning.


We thank Drs Brian Carolan, Vivian Shulman and Susan Sullivan of The College of Staten Island and Sherry Power of Western Kentucky University, who have read and commented on the several drafts of this manuscript. We also would like to thank the reviewers and the editor who provided valuable guidance for our manuscript revisions.

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading



1. Not all books were equal in their status in traditional Chinese education. Chinese emphasis on the ‘right’ type of books could be seen in Zhu Xi’s (1130–1200) successful efforts more than 800 years ago to make the Confucian classics the only acceptable text- books for students and scholars. As a result, there were two learning and instructional features in association with books. First, the texts used for schooling were limited but representative of Confucian principles. They embodied what was considered to be the best classic knowledge for a student who wanted to take the civil service examinations or who aspired to be a gentleman through education. Second, the focus on these classics encouraged memorization of texts to achieve accurate mastery of Confucian principles.

2. Both middle and high schools in China are called Zhong Xue (middle schools) in general. However, they are further divided into Chu Zhong (preliminary middle schools) and Gao Zhong (advanced middle schools), roughly equivalent to the middle schools and high schools in the West. Due to the closeness of these schools, administratively they tend to be under the same governing body, therefore increasing the probability of sharing teachers. For this reason, we group them together in our study.

3. While martial arts fiction is a popular genre, it is not regarded as quality literature by most teachers, though there has been recent controversy about its value. Qiong Yao’s works are romance stories written by the late Taiwanese female writer Qiong Yao. Her books are widely read by adolescents and females, but are seldom considered serious literary works.


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Biographical notes

LIQING TAOLIQING TAO is an associate professor of Education at College of Staten Island, where he teaches reading and language arts methods classes. [email: tao@mail.csi.cuny.edu]


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HAIWANG YUANHAIWANG YUAN is an associate professor of Library Information at Western Kentucky University, where he is coordinating the virtual library. [email: haiwang.yuan@wku.edu]

LI ZUOLI ZUO is a senior United Nations translator and she used to be a middle school teacher in China. [email: Zuo@un.org]

GAOYIN QIANGAOYIN QIAN is an associate professor of Literacy Education at Lehman College/CUNY, where he teaches reading methods and research classes. [email: gaoyin.qian@lehman.cuny.edu]

BRUCE MURRAYBRUCE MURRAY is an associate professor of Reading Education at Auburn University. He has published extensively on early reading acquisition. [email: murraba@auburn.edu]

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading



The Questionnaire*

Part I: Please tell us briefly about you and your teaching experience

1. The grade you are teaching: __________

2. The subject you are teaching: _________

3. Years of teaching: ______

4. Where do you usually have your office hours? ____ Classroom; _____ Office

5. Where do you usually prepare your lessons? _____ Classroom; _____ Office

6. When do you usually prepare your lessons? _____ evening; ____ weekend; ____ school preparation time

Part II: Please circle an appropriate item in the following or supply your answer

7. My students usually carry in their book bags the following number of books: A. 1–2 books; B. 3–4 books; C. 5–6 books; D. 7–8 books; E. More than 8 books

8. I usually recommend the following fiction to my students A. Novels; B. Science fiction; C. Historical fiction; D. Stories; E. Others. Please specify: _________

9. Does your school have a library? Yes ______ No ________ If yes, the majority of the books are the following type: A. Novel; B. Biography; C. Supplementary learning materials; D. Others. Please specify: ________________

10. Do you have a library in your classroom? Yes ______ No ________

11. If possible, which of the following would you recommend your students to do? A. Read more books; B. Do more learning exercises; C. Engage in free activity; D. Others. Please specify: ________


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Part III: Please briefly answer the following questions in your own words

12. Do you have printed materials and pictures on the walls of your class- room? Yes _______ No ________ If yes, be specific about what are they:_________________________ Please give examples: _____________________________________

13. To me, the best extracurricular materials are as follows: ___________

14. My students’ extracurricular materials include the following: ______________________________________________________

Part IV: For each item, please circle the answer that is closest to your choice. The answers are represented numerically along a scale:

1 ¼ Strongly Agree, 2 ¼ Agree, 3 ¼ Neutral, 4 ¼ Disagree, 5 ¼ Strongly Disagree

15. I believe students should leave their textbooks at school. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

16. I often recommend extracurricular reading materials to my students. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

17. I think as long as students are reading, they’ll get the benefit. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

18. My students have difficulty reading their textbooks. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

19. My students have time in school to read their own reading selections. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

20. Good readers are able to improve their writing ability the most. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

21. Students who read less tend to have more misspellings in their writing. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

22. I believe training in basic skills can help increase thinking ability. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

23. I give students sufficient time in class to digest what they have learned. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading


24. I believe the primary function of homework is to reinforce and digest the content taught in the class. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

25. I believe my students have very strong reading ability. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

26. I believe homework helps students consolidate learning. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

27. I believe students can underline and make notes in the margin of their textbooks. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

28. I am against requiring students to recite texts. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

29. I require my students to get familiar with texts through repeated reading. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

30. I believe that in order to master the content of a text, students should first recite it. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

31. I often recommend difficult reading materials for my students to read after class. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

32. I allocate class time for students to practice reciting texts. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

33. I believe homework should focus on broadening students’ knowledge. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

34. I believe parents’ cooperation is crucial to help students digest their school learning. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

35. I believe strong readers have broad knowledge. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

36. I encourage my students to read a lot of extracurricular materials. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

37. My students are all capable of reading novels. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


Journal of Research in International Education 5(3)

38. My students usually have their own favorite authors. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

39. I give writing time in the classes I teach. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

40. Students in my class have sufficient time for free reading. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

41. I don’t think popular reading materials on the market are appropriate for my students. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

42. I believe many popular reading materials are a waste of time. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

43. I believe it’s a student’s own responsibility to master what has been taught in class. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

44. I encourage my students to recommend to each other their favorite authors in class. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

45. I teach reading strategies in my own classes. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

46. I believe students should read broadly to improve reading abilities. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

47. I believe text recitation can enhance students’ reading proficiency. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

48. I believe recitation of exemplary texts can enhance students’ writing ability. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

49. Most of my students like to read novels and other reading materials outside class. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

* This is an English translation of the original questionnaire in Chinese. The space rendition after each statement or question in the translation does not represent the allowed space in the original questionnaire.

Tao et al.: Teacher expectations of student reading