The complexity of Chinese pedagogic discourse

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This is one of X commentaries on Wu’s ‘Interpretation, autonomy, and transformation: Chinese pedagogic discourse in a cross-cultural perspective’ (JCS, 43(5), 569-590). It highlights the paper’s demystification of Western pedagogic discourse and recovery of the meaning of Chinese traditional pedagogic discourse as a response to the long-lasting debates on the Chinese–Western/traditional–modern dichotomies seen in China’s modernization. However, the paper overlooks the complexity of Chinese pedagogic discourse: it over-emphasizes the formal or linguistic dimension of pedagogic discourse, and presumes the dichotomy of Chinese–Western discourses and the discontinuity of traditional–modern cultures. After elaborating the ends, substances, methods, and teacher roles found in Chinese pedagogic discourses, this study argues that contemporary pedagogic discourses are essentially inhabited in indigenous traditions, and actively entangled with Western discourse. The meaning of Confucian traditional pedagogy should not (and cannot) be ‘recovered’ from the past, but be ‘found’ in the present.

Keywords: Chinese–Western dichotomy; pedagogic discourse; tradition; traditional–modern discontinuity

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2011

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