In recent decades, intercultural psychologists and educators have paid increasing attention to the East Asian cultures, mostly focusing on knowing and understanding their education successes and revealing the cultural and social factors that cause these results. Despite of much research on Chinese–American comparison, just a few investigations compare China to another, non-american country, especially to Hungary. One of the authoress' purposes was to attempt to fill this gap and broaden the literature in this subject. The goal of this study was to explore mathematical beliefs and behaviors among 128 Chinese and 106 Hungarian Grade 10-11 vocational secondary school students. Their mathematical attitude was investigated with a questionnaire - developed by Schoenfeld (1989) - containing 70 closed questions in 6 sections: attributions of success and failure; perception of mathematics and school practice; student's views of school mathematics, English and social studies; the views of the nature of geometry; motivation; and personal and scholastic performance and motivational data. The findings show important cultural differences in the field of effort (more important for the Chinese students), motivation (negative motivation, like fear of serious consequences of low achievement in mathematics is more significant among the Hungarian students) and family support (in the Chinese sample it was considered more important that both parents are interested in the performance of their child). These results can help to organize Hungarian math teaching and education in a more effective way, furthermore to support the Chinese students in Hungary.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.