Teachers’ Dual Responsibilities for Academic Achievement and Character Development

  • Yuh-Yin WuEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 26)


This chapter describes the dual responsibilities of teachers to facilitate student academic achievement and character development, and it discusses how teachers must both motivate students to achieve academically and enhance their communal spirit. First, a classroom vignette is presented as an example of the daily practices of teachers. Second, the importance of the “achievement ladder” in Chinese education is explained in relation to the traditional imperial Chinese civil service examination that was conducted to recruit political officers for approximately 1,300 years since the Sui Dynasty. Although the examination was abolished in 1905, the modern educational system mirrors the examination system from the elementary school to the doctoral level. The higher students rank on the achievement ladder, the brighter their career prospects are, and teachers serve as their examination coaches. Third, despite interpersonal and academic competition, teachers are mentors to students and facilitate cooperation among students within the classroom, creating a feeling of team spirit that prompts students to excel with their peers outside the classroom. Various activities are organized to develop camaraderie, such as “little teacher” system (peer tutoring system), sports, cleaning, and contests. Fourth, the “little teacher” system implemented throughout Taiwan and China exemplifies the dual responsibilities held by teachers. Students, including the “little teachers,” believe that instruction and learning are mutually accomplished. Thus, as examination coaches, teachers motivate students achieve academically; as life mentors, teachers cultivate a communal spirit within the class. Fifth, a case study of a senior high school in the most disadvantaged economic area of Taiwan is examined to illustrate how school teachers nurture student desire to succeed through skill as well as effort. In conclusion, enhancing academic performance and character development is the responsibility of teachers.


Academic performance Capabilities and efforts Peer relationships Student-teacher relationships Teachers as mentors 


  1. Chen, C. H. (2010, December 26). 重考大學補習人生年年增 [The increasing number of students who retake university entrance examination]. United Daily News. Retrieved from
  2. Chiu, H. Y. (1983). 勞力市場與出身對成就之影響 [Segmented labor market and individual status attainment in ten Taiwanese communities]. Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology Academia Sinica, 53, 133–153.Google Scholar
  3. Eaton, M. J., & Dembo, M. H. (1997). Differences in the motivational beliefs of Asian American and non-Asian students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(3), 433–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Educational Bureau, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. (2012). Information leaflet on the secondary school places allocation system. Hong Kong: Educational Bureau, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. Retrieved from
  5. Fang, P. L. (1960). 魏晉南北朝之九品中正制度 [The nine-level evaluation system for recruiting officers at Wen-Jin dynasty at China]. Bulletin of Graduate Institute of Education Taiwan Normal University, 3, 127–140.Google Scholar
  6. Fuligni, A. J. (2001). Family obligation and the academic motivation of adolescents from Asian, Latin American, and European backgrounds. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 94, 61–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gardner, H. (1995). Cracking open the IQ box. In S. Fraser (Ed.), The bell curve war: Race, intelligence, and the future of America (pp. 23–35). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Gregory, R. J. (2010). Psychological testing: History, principles, and applications. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.Google Scholar
  9. Ho, P.-T. (1959). Aspects of social mobility in China, 1368–1911. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 1(4), 330–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hu, M.-C. (1995). 中國教育史 [Educational history of China]. Taipei, Taiwan: San-Min.Google Scholar
  11. Hwang, Y. J. (2001). 台灣地區勞力市場分隔之探討:流動表分析 [Exploring Taiwan’s labor market segmentation: The analysis of the mobility tables]. Taiwanese Journal of Sociology, 25, 157–200.Google Scholar
  12. Liu, H. H. (1994). 中國高等學校的校史 [History of school system]. Educational Research, 5, 63–65.Google Scholar
  13. Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan). (2012). 十二年國民基本教育:開啟孩子的無限可能 [The 12-year basic education]. Taipei, Taiwan: Ministry of Education, Republic of China (Taiwan). Retrieved from十二年國民基本教育宣導手冊(全文).pdf
  14. OECD. (2013). Education at a glance 2013: OECD indicators. OECD Publishing. doi: 10.1787/eag-2013-en
  15. Ramburuth, P., & McCormick, J. (2001). Learning diversity in higher education: A comparative study of Asian international and Australian students. Higher Education, 42(3), 333–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Shan, X. Y. (2013). 虎尾高中升學榜衝出師大附中水準 [The brilliant test result of Hu-Wei High School]. Business Weekly, 1331, 92–98.Google Scholar
  17. Singapore Minister of Education. (2013). Post-secondary education: Follow your strengths, fulfill your potential. Retrieved from
  18. Stevenson, H. W., Lee, S. Y., & Stigler, J. W. (1986). Mathematics achievement of Chinese, Japanese, and American children. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 32(1), 693–699.Google Scholar
  19. Tan, L. T., & Yu, R. R. (1996). 雙元勞動市場模型的應用-兼論台灣婦女就業結構的改變 [An application of the dual labor market model—Structural change in Taiwan’s female employment]. Taiwan Economic Review, 24(2), 275–311.Google Scholar
  20. The Committee of the Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students. (2012). 2013 basic competence test for junior high school students Q&A. Taipei, Taiwan: The Committee of the Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students. Retrieved from
  21. Tseng, M. C. (1998). 台灣核心與邊陲產業的分類:1990年代初期的靜態測量 [The classification of the core and periphery industries in Taiwan]. Soochow Journal of Sociology, 7, 361–394.Google Scholar
  22. Uttal, D. H. (1997). Beliefs about genetic influences on mathematics achievement: A cross cultural comparison. Genetica, 99, 165–172.Google Scholar
  23. Wu, E. H. (2008). Parental influence on children’s talent development: A case study with three Chinese American families. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 32(1), 100–129.Google Scholar
  24. Yeh, H.-S. (1973). 論宋代書院制度之產生及其影響 [The emergence and impact of life colleges system at Sung Dynasty]. Journal of the National Institute for Compilation and Translation, 2(3), 195–221.Google Scholar
  25. Yu, L., & Suen, H. K. (2005). Historical and contemporary exam-driven education fever in China. KEDI Journal of Educational Policy, 2(1), 17–33. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and CounselingNational Taipei University of EducationTaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations