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Cultivating an Inclusive Individuality: Critical Reflections on the Idea of Quality Education in Contemporary China

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Quality education reform in China gives high importance to developing the individual’s full potential. However, the education system is dominated by a kind of exclusive competitiveness in which high stakes examinations shape the learning process. This paper seeks to bring a philosophical perspective regarding the disjunction between the intent of reform and the reality of an exam-oriented system by proposing a conception of inclusive individuality. I argue that the conception of inclusive individuality pays particular attention to the inner strength of every unique student and is crucial to realizing the individual’s full potential. The ideas of three philosophers, John Dewey, Liang Shuming, and Albert Camus, are drawn upon in formulating this conception of inclusive individuality. At the practical level, the paper suggests the use of narrative approach as a way of developing students’ inner strength to bring their lives into the classroom and empowering them to interact with the formal curriculum and develop their own inclusive individuality.


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