This book explores the central question of how to cultivate a continued sense of self in the radically changing Chinese society, a question that is highly related to the current ongoing educational reform. If education cannot respond to the problem of students’ disconnection from the changing society, learning cannot truly happen in school and the reform will fail. Zhang suggests a philosophy of education that highlights the cultivation of students’ unique but inclusive individuality so that students learn how to nurture their own mind in this profoundly changing society rather than becoming empty and lost. The discussion of this proposed question is inspired by the thoughts of the American pragmatist John Dewey and Chinese Confucian scholar Liang Shuming. It is not the author’s intention to have a pure philosophical discussion, but rather to refer to their philosophies to help answer the practical question of cultivating individuality in an educational setting during this period of China’s modern transition.
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About the Author
Huajun Zhang got her PhD in education at Florida State University. She is currently an assistant professor at the Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University. She commits herself to educating thoughtful teachers through her teaching and research. She is also working on the practice of philosophy in teacher education courses.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Individuality in the Rapidly Changing Chinese Society
Chapter 2: The Conception of Individuality in Chinese History: Exploring the Ideal Person for a Modern Society
Chapter 3: Initiating a Dialogue with John Dewey and Liang Shuming on Individuality
Chapter 4: Cultivating Individuality: A Dialogue with John Dewey and Liang Shuming
Chapter 5: Cultivating a Unique but Inclusive Individuality
Chapter 6: Cultivating Individuality: Narrative as Pedagogy
Chapter 7: Cultivating Individuality: A Vision for China’s Education Reform