Exploration of Application of Confucian Conception of Critical Thinking in the Teaching English as a Foreign Language in China
International Journal of Literature and Arts
Volume 8, Issue 3, May 2020, Pages: 134-141
Received: Feb. 27, 2020;
Accepted: Mar. 11, 2020;
Published: Apr. 14, 2020
Views 238 Downloads 94
Xuejuan Gong, Wuhan Radio and Television Station, Wuhan, P. R. C; Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University, La Mirada, U.S.A
Over the past years, fostering critical thinking abilities has become one of the priorities in education in China. So far, much research has been conducted to explore how to resort to Western critical thinking methods to cultivate critical thinking abilities among Chinese students. Meanwhile, among much research in incorporating Confucian educational thought into current English teaching in China, little research has been done to explore the possibility of rendering Confucian conception of critical thinking to this endeavor. This paper argues that Confucian conception of critical thinking possesses similar complementary components to those of the Western conception of critical thinking. Through literature review and text analysis, this paper reviews the Confucian conception of critical thinking and the socio-cultural background that impact its development. Reflection on a case study and field observation shows that Confucian “enlightening approach” works effectively in today’s effort in critical thinking cultivation in English teaching; Confucius’ description of five-phase comprehensive learning process could be materialized in English teaching to progress from lower level learning (knowledge, comprehension, application) towards higher level learning (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation); Confucian conception of critical thinking, described as “contextual critique’ by some Western scholar, could complement Western critical thinking in a positive way. The paper suggests in-depth research in constructing the theoretical framework for the Confucian conception of critical thinking, investigation of other approaches to foster critical thinking abilities besides the “enlightening approach,” and thorough studies of current empirical research on critical thinking in TEFL in China so as to see how they can be applied in materializing Confucian conception of critical thinking.
Exploration of Application of Confucian Conception of Critical Thinking in the Teaching English as a Foreign Language in China, International Journal of Literature and Arts. Special Issue: Humanity and Science: China’s Intercultural Communication with the Outside World in the New Era.
Vol. 8, No. 3,
2020, pp. 134-141.
Kee, Y. (2007). Adult learning from a Confucian way of thinking. In Merriam, S. B., & Associates. Non-Western perspectives on learning and knowing. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company. ISBN i-57524-280-X.
Tan, C. (2017). Confucianism and education. In Noblit, G. (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education (pp. 1-18). New York: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.226.
House, R. J. m Hanges, P. J. Javidan, M., Dorfman, P, P. W., Gupta, V (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Li, J. (2003). U.S. and Chinese cultural beliefts about learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 (2), 258-258-267. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0622.214.171.1248.
Marginson, S. (2011). Higher education in East Asia and Singapore: rise of the Confucian model. Higher Education (00181560), 61 (5), 587-587-611. https://doi.org/10/1007/s10734-010-9384-9.
Wei, Zhiguo (2016). The Implications of Confucius’ Educational Thought for College English Teaching. Retrieved from www.ixueshu.com.
Lei, Chongyan. (2017). A review of critical thinking ability training based on CNKI in recent five years. Yangtze Series· Theoretical Study, 9, 170-171.
Ma, Lihong (2019). Hot issues in critical thinking training in foreign language teaching in China. Journal of Tianjin University of Technology and Education, V0l. 29 No. 1 DOI: 10.19573/j.issn2095—0926.201901016.
Berthal, K. (2017). Creating harmony from diversity: What Confucianism reveals about the true value of liberal education from the 21st century. The ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 24 (2), 6-6-26. https://doi.org./10.16995/ane.177.
Wu, Yin. (2018). Faciliating critical thinking of Chinese students: a Confucian perspctive. In Liu, Xiufeng., & Ma, Wen. (2018). Confucianism reconsidered: Insights for American and Chinese education in the twenty-first century. State Univeristy of New York Press. ISBN: 9781438470016.
Sigurðsson, G. (2017). Transformative critique: what Confucianism can contribute to contemporary education? Studies in Philosophy and Education, 36 (2), 131-131-146. DOI: 10.1007/s11217-015-95023.
Reagan, T. G. (2018). Non-Western educational traditions: Indigenous approaches to educational thought and practice (4th ed.) New York, NY: Routledge. Kindle Edition.
Rajaram, K.(2014). East versus west: the descendants of confucianism vs.evidence-based learning mainland Chinese learners in pursuit of western-based edication in Singapore. Journal of education and human development, 3 (1), 239-281. DOI: 10.1109/CICEM.2013.6820141.
Sjöström. J. (2018). Science teacher identity and eco-transformation of science education: comparing Western modernism with Confucianism and reflexive building. Cultural Study of Science Education, 13: 147-161. https://doi.org./10.1007/s11422-016-9802-0.
Wang. Victor C. X. & Storey. Valerie. A. (2015) Andragogy and Teaching English as a Foreign Language in China, The Reference Librarian, 56: 4, 295-314, DOI: 10.1080/02763877.2015.1057680.
Zhong, Qunyan. (2012). Understanding English Teaching and Learning Context in CHina. Global Education Review, 1 (2). 1-12.
Brookfield, Stephen D. (2012). Teaching for critical thinking. Tools and techniques to help students question their assumptions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Xueli, Zhang. (2010). The enlightment of Confucian educational thoughts on English teaching in China. Journal of Shanxi Normal University. Special Issue for Graduate Studies, Vol. 37. 150-152.
From reflection to critical thinking, retrieved from http://paper.jyb.cn/zgjyb/html/2020-01/07/node_5.htm.
Li, Zhengxuan. (2014). The cultivation of critical thinking in American universities and its enlightment on English teaching in China. Foreign Languages in China. Vol 11. No. 6 (Genral Serial No. 62). 14-20. DOI: 10.13564/j.cnki.issn.1672-9382.2014.06.003.
Kaur, Amrita. & Noman, Mohammad. (2015). Exploring classroom practices in collectivist cultures through the lens of Hofstede's model. The Qualitative Report. Volume 20, Number 11, Article 5, 1794-1811.