The Chou Dynasty lasted from 1046-256 B. C. E. Ushering In a wealth of educational knowledge and groundbreaking philosophies. Early educational practices focused on military, agriculture and societal Issues. The Chou Dynasty concentrated on a central philosophy called the “Mandate of Heaven. ” This philosophy was created by the Duke of Chou early In the dynasty history. The Duke of Chou helped to rule during the early years of the dynasty and was regarded as a “wise, enlightened and noble counselor” (Gutted, 2005, p. 13). ‘The Duke developed the concept of the “Mandate of
Heaver;? (Gutted). The “Mandate of Heaven” allows a king to rule as long as the king rules within the best Interest of the people. Heaven would chose otherwise If a king took advantage of his authority. The king’s rule was viewed In a much different respect In the western world. Ruling Is the delve right of the king In western culture. In the western world, “If a king was a good man, his subjects enjoyed his rule. If he was evil, however, his subjects had no choice but to endure his rule” (Gutted, 2005). In early Confucianism, this concept Is used as a model for a morally sound ruler. The
Chou Dynasty possessed a vast number of philosophies that greatly Influenced Chinese education. It was during the Chou Dynasty that the Hundred Schools of Thought was born. This era, which Is referred to as the “golden age” of Chinese educational foundation for centuries. Taoism, Monism, Yin and Yang, Legalism and Confucianism were some of the many philosophies developed during this reign; the most impacting being the latter. CONFUCIANISM Confucianism began during the Chou Dynasty period around 500 B. C. E. Its founder, Confucius, created an educational platform that changed the course of Chinese education for centuries to come.
Confucianism eventually became the foundation for education in early Chinese history. Much of the information on Confucius’ personal history is viewed as historical legend. Confucius’ life resembles various ancient stories in the Book of Songs. Most of the ancient Chinese stories represent overcoming and gaining acceptance. Some discrepancies relate to his discipleship as well. Various historical texts claim that number was in the thousands while others claim that there is as little as 70. Regardless of Confucius’ personal history or his umber of followers, it is futile to contest his impact on education in China.
Confucius lived from 551-479 B. C. E. In a time of social unrest and disorder within the political system. Confucius’ educational focus reflects the struggles that occurred during that time. Establishing a moral and ethical base, doing the right things and following rules for behavior were important learning concepts needed to combat turmoil in their society. Confucius teaches a concept called Tao. Tao, meaning the way, is taking control and following a course of action (Gutted, 2005, p. 16). The Tao is a tat to morals and virtue. This idea was a central theme in Confucius’ teachings.
In addition to the Tao, Confucian education consists of the Six Arts, which are archery, calligraphy, charioting, mathematics, music and rituals. The Six Arts are paralleled to the western philosophy of the tritium and quadratic. His educational philosophy is reflected in Analects, one of Confucius many works. This book is viewed as a personal account of how Confucius is described as a teacher and philosopher (Rigger, 2012). A considerable amount of Confucianism is dedicated to moral, ethical and social behavior. Correct behavior is meaningful and prepares youths to take part in society.
Art and poetry were also an important part of moral and societal education, “similar to the approach of Plato and Aristotle in ancient Greece” (Gutted, 2005, p. 23). These areas provide students with an enhanced understanding of morals. Confucius had a progressive attitude toward teaching, which was often criticized by those in his time. Confucius views good teachers as those “who are familiar with the ways of the past and the practices of the ancients” (Rigger, 2012). Confucius held education as a rarity and believed students should seek wisdom vigorously. Confucius demanded effort from his students.
He believed that it was the learner’s responsibility for creating opportunities for study and shaping their own future (Gutted, 2005, p. 21). Confucius defined wisdom as “when you know a thing, to recognize that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to recognize that you do not know it” (Gutted, p. 17). Confucius was an active listener and often conversed with his students to know them personally. Confucius wanted students to seek knowledge for themselves wrought his guidance. He allowed students to formulate their own answers and asked questions and implored his students to seek answers for themselves. In learning, the focus is on the learner; in studying the focus is on the subject” (Gutted, p. 17). Generations to come. Confucianism became the foundation for education but was not the sole influence on Chinese education. Many schools of thought arose during the Chou Dynasty, as mention in the previous section. KIN AND HAN DYNASTIES During the Kin era, a complete shift in the educational philosophy takes place. Early traders looked to a Legalist view to education, which was a polar opposite of the Confucian model.
Legalism consisted of an “authoritarian, orderly and disciplined rule” (Gutted, 2005, p. 24). Legalism sought to establish control over the people. People were viewed as a resource to accomplish the goals of the ruler. Ideas such as Confucianism, which stood for morals and ethics, were quickly suppressed. Kin and early Han leaders view philosophies, such as Confucianism, as a threat to their way of life. Such ideologies invoke questions which may lead to a disruption in society, or even a revolution. These types of teachings were viewed as undermining the dynasty authority.
Acts, such as book burning, took place in effort to eradicate Confucianism and similar ideologies (Gutted). After the Kin Dynasty, the early Han leaders continued the Legalist approach. This early Han oppression was short-lived. The ideas of Confucianism and the “Mandate of Heaven” were reestablished with a vow to end royal tyranny (Gutted, 2005, p. 24). Heirs to the Han dynasty saw Confucianism as a superior model to the Legalist ideals that were initiated at beginning of the empire. The people were less likely to rebel and question the authority of the emperor.
As long as the government had the best interest of the people, the people were better managed and thus, according to the “Mandate of Heaven,” were in favor with the gods. Once Confucianism began to fully resurface, the government started to provide educational institutions to its people. “The Han is the first dynasty that has left behind clear historical evidence about educational institutions established by the central government for the instruction of the common people” (Hardy & Kinney, 2005, p. 74). The first known educational establishment was in the year 124 C. E.
Even though the government was starting to support education and Confucianism, schooling was not provided or accessible to all. Boys started their education at the age of 7, studying basic skills in reading, writing and calculation. By ages 14, boys were enrolled in imperial academies with advances in curriculum (Hardy & Kinney). Music, dance, art, archery and chariot driving were all included in the curriculum. Females started to have a basic curriculum, consisting mostly of social and skill training. Females were taught at home and curriculum focused mostly on manners and weaving.
Han society Confucianism began providing some prospect for education within the minority community. Poor boys were allowed opportunities within the educational system to succeed through a merit, not pedigree system. Confucius teachings say, “in teaching, there should be no distinction of classes” (Hardy & Kinney, p. 75). In some instances, common boys took advantage of the merit-based system by gaining position within the government. There was some contradiction with this concept. In theory, Han leaders and society take Confucius’ merit-based teaching whole heartedly, although a political presence was profoundly n place.
Educational opportunities were limited to aristocrats and those well connected in the system. Males dominated the educational systems and most educated individuals held some type of position within the government or political stated, it was possible for a common boy to rise through the ranks based on merit and ultimately become a part of the ruling body. Even though the likelihood off commoner coming to power was improbable, Han leaders found this to be somewhat off threat to their control. SSI, TANG and SONG DYNASTY The next great dynasty to arise after the Han Dynasty was the SSI Dynasty in 589 C. E.
Although short-live, this dynasty was crucial to education in China. The SSI Dynasty restored the Confucius model and created imperial examinations. This second reformation of Confucianism was slightly different than what occurred during the Han Dynasty. Buddhism was prevalent during the long period between the SSI and Han. Buddhist teachings were mixed into the SSI culture and continued for several years. During the SSI Dynasty, private education was gaining ground and many Confucius scholars were employed to teach wealthy young men. The imperial exams played a crucial role in the need for a strong teacher.
The imperial civil service examination was adopted to select talents from all sectors of the society to assist the emperors in governing the county. Those who passed the examination were richly awarded with power, personal wealth and high social status. Private education was always the main vehicle preparing individuals for the imperial examination. ” (Lind, 1999, p. 3) “During the Tang Dynasty, both government schools and private schools entered a new stage of development, existing side by side to provide both vocational and academic learning.
During this period, Buddhism was being actively integrated onto the Chinese way of life. Thousands of temples that had been erected as a result of the popularity of the religion also became private teaching places for literacy’ (Lind, 1999, p. 3). The Tang Dynasty continued with the merit system established centuries before in the Han Dynasty. The SSI Dynasty examinations remained during the Tang Dynasty and were required by all government officials. The exam’s contents featured aspects of Confucianism as well as writing ability. Commoners were able to take the examination