Epistemological Flashpoint in China’s Classroom Reform: (How) Can A ‘Confucian Do-after-me Pedagogy’ Cultivate Critical Thinking?
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AbstractChina’s 2017 ‘classroom revolution’ call intends to transform current teacher-centered pedagogies with brand-new philosophies and technologies. As a new entry point for classroom research, I problematize a naturalized (mis)belief—teacher-centered (Confucian) didactic pedagogies are not conducive to critical thinking cultivation—that has enthralled Chinese teachers in an epistemological-moral-pedagogical dilemma. My problematization, philosophically informed and practice-research grounded, unfolds in four steps. First, I explicate the presumed clash between the claimed Confucian pedagogies and critical thinking. Second, I historicize the Confucian pedagogical philosophy to implode the naturalized (mis)belief and some stereotypical (mis)understandings of Confucian teaching and learning, demonstrating instead an epistemological compatibility therebetween. Third, I unpack how my phenomenological case study discerns an unrecognized yet educative ‘repair moment’ in a Chinese math classroom, generating a possible re-conjoining between teachers’ self-despised yet habitually implemented ‘Confucian do-after-me pedagogy’ and critical mathematical reasoning. Through observations and interviews, I illustrate how this ‘repair moment’ can become pedagogically significant, overturning teachers’ naturalized (mis)belief, redeeming them from the moral-practical dilemma, and cultivating their critical pedagogical consciousness. Finally, I argue that this paper not only provides a philosophical-plus-empirical paradigm for teaching invention in China and beyond but also sheds new light on cross-cultural learning in transnational curriculum studies.
All Author(s) ListWeili Zhao
Journal nameJournal of Curriculum Studies
Volume Number52
Issue Number1
Pages101 - 117
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2021-25-11 at 00:34