Mother reading to her son

Does culture play a role in learning?

by Claire Miller

Assistant Professor Chenyi Zhang is working with researchers at Purdue University and East China Normal University to see what role culture plays in preschoolers’ ability to learn crucial school readiness skills, such as literacy and mathematics.

“The overarching goals of this research project are to explore the development of mathematics, literacy and executive function in Chinese children, and to investigate whether the development of these skills varies across cultural contexts,” said Zhang, whose research team received an international seed grant from Georgia State University last year to begin the work.

Zhang and his colleagues are currently analyzing data from observations they conducted in preschool classes in Indiana, Georgia and Shanghai, China, and hope to expand their project to incorporate data on children with special needs.

In addition, researchers involved in the project will meet with and present their findings to faculty and administrators at East China Normal University and Georgia State, which Zhang believes will help lay the groundwork for further collaborations – including graduate student and faculty exchanges – between the two universities.