The University of Montana
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Technical report #10/2012

An Eastern learning paradox:
Paradoxes in two korean mathematics teachers’ pedagogy of silence in the classroom

Kyeonghwa Lee
Seoul National University

Bharath Sriraman
University of Montana


Eastern philosophies of education such as Confucianism and Taosim advocate the use of silence in the teacher-pupil tradition of pedagogy. We investigate contemporary classrooms in Korea, and study whether teachers in Korea today incorporate this method implicitly or explicitly in their classrooms. Empirical data in the form of video-taped classroom lessons and the analysis of the videos reveal the learning paradoxes that arise from a rote adherence to constructivism by teachers that are trained within a larger Confucian society.

Keywords: Confucianism; Constructivism; Culture; Learning paradox; Mathematics teaching; Silence; Korea

AMS Subject Classification: 97

Preprint of paper submitted to Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, Springer. Pdf (188 KB)