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Confucian thinking in traditional moral education: key ideas and fundamental features

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Ancient Chinese ideas of moral education could be said to have five main dimensions - philosophical foundations, content, principles, methods and evaluation - which are described in this paper. An analysis of the fundamental features of Confucian thinking on moral education shows that it took the idea that human beings have a good and kind nature as its logical starting point. It built a system of ethical norms, based on the idea that an individual's feelings come from the inner mind, combined with external rites. Its methods of moral education are diverse, with an emphasis on learning from exemplars, environmental conditions and practice, as well as the cultivation of moral responsibility and social commitment. Its quintessential ideas were 'virtue lies in practice' and 'life is moral education'. The paper concludes by arguing that Confucian thinking on moral education has ongoing value for research and practice in contemporary moral education.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Nanjing Normal University People's Republic of China

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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