I received education and worked in China as school English teacher, translator, radio broadcaster, television journalist, government official, and school director until I settled down in Australia in 2005. After the completion of my PhD studies at University of Tasmania in 2007, I lectured at the University of Newcastle between July 2007 and October 2008, and have been lecturing Chinese language and culture up to the present at the University of New England.
My current research interest is in cross-cultural studies on gratitude development in children in China, Australia, Italy and Japan. Grounded in sociological, anthropological and developmental theories, I developed the Morality of Justice theory that provides a mechanism for gratitude development in children. This theory encompasses three interrelated dimensions: parental love, moral reasoning and discipline, with parental love being proposed as the source of the reciprocity of children’s love, moral reasoning and discipline functioning as vital vehicles. This theory suggests that lack of parental discipline be the crux for a prevalent lack of gratitude in the Chinese one-child generation.
Using the parenting practice and grateful acts questionnaires, I conducted an empirical study of 589 high school students in north-eastern China, which revealed that parental discipline plays a role in child development that is twice as important as moral reasoning. My research suggests that moral teachings do not work without parental discipline, which may explain why the Chinese government gratitude education campaigns that had been operating for 10 years since 2005 at all schools across China achieved little success. My research also suggests that engaging children in chores is the most effective disciplinary measure for fostering the reciprocity of parental love in children, which culminates in a strong parent-child bond.
•2016. Visiting Research Fellowship at the University of Rome
•2013. School of Arts Seed Grant, University of New England
•2008. The University of Newcastle Research Support Grant