Sunday, April 22, 2007

Morality and Education

The great Chinese scholar, Chu Hsi (Zhu Xi), said repeatedly moral principle is the root or foundation of learning.

Schools that avoid discussion of morality cannot produce well educated people when the graduates have no common understanding of morality.

Let's put Chu Hsi in perspective. He was born in 1130 A.D., the 12th Century, which was the High Middle Ages in Europe. Civil War broke out in England in 1135. The Second Crusade was launched in 1145. Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170 and Chu Hsi died in 1200.

Chu Hsi wrote extensively on learning. When he says moral principle is the root of learning, we should listen.

Also notice that he did not write about education. His perspective was on the responsibility of the student: learning. After all, education is the combination of teaching and learning.

American pedagogy focuses on teaching, while the culture most succesful in schooling focuses on learning.

There is a lot we can learn from the Chinese.


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