Education Chinese Style – Part 3

February 10, 2010

It seems that many of the six-thousand students I taught over thirty years felt the same way—that learning would make them mad like Acts says in the New Testament: 26:24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

Emperor Wudi

In China, during the early Han Dynasty, a different moral standard was set where earning an education was valued. Emperor Wudi from 141-187 BCE (two hundred years before Jesus Christ and five hundred years before Constantine), solidified the ideological framework of official Confucianism with a blending of Confucian, Taoist, and Legalist elements.

It looks like China may be officially returning to Confucianism or some form of it. Confucius taught that a ‘gentleman’ is the ideal figure. Among the traits of this ideal man is continued learning to develop moral character and to gain knowledge that is useful in serving others.

In China, teachers are treated with respect. Not so in the United States. Although a few students were respectful when I was a teacher, many were not. To understand what I mean, read the prologue from my memoir, Crazy Normal.

See Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.