A Comparative Study of Filial Piety in Beijing and the UK

Gideon Sappor


Cultures may display paradoxical natures when studied closely. For example, Americans are individualistic, yet are most generous with charity giving or volunteering for community events. This illustrates the challenges associated with stereotyping groups and cultures. Cultures are sometimes treated as homogenous with attendant generalisation.

In the educational context, generalisations consequently influence attitudes held towards groups of learners. People from particular cultural backgrounds are often treated as a homogenous group with its attendant stereotypes irrespective of their individual contexts; an example is individuals from a Chinese cultural background who live in the West relative to those living in China.

The present study used a questionnaire to measure an important value in Confucian culture (Chinese background) - Filial Piety - and how it relates to affective variables suggested to be important to academic achievement: self-efficacy and motivation. A sample of 9-11 year old children from the UK were compared with a similar sample from an authentic Confucian context - Beijing.

The results suggest a review of expectations of what is meant by “authentic confucian” and gives some insight into the potential problems that could arise with stereotyping cultures and groups. As schools reach out to parents and communities, there are implications for the stereotypic approaches adopted.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/jecs.v5n1p22


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