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Reflections on Modern China and the Progressive Power of Educational Studies

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The turn towards using domestic experience in contemporary Chinese educational studies has led to the development of theoretical frames rooted in the reality of Chinese society. This article identifies four ways of understanding and reforming Chinese society that have been developed by 20th century Chinese educators. By reflecting on these four approaches, and on the modern value oriented reactions to social transformation expressed by contemporary Western educational scholars, this article argues that Chinese educational scholars face two essential tasks when developing theories based on domestic experience so as to make positive contributions to China’s unfinished project of modernity. The first is to study the phenomena of imbalance, alienation, and backwardness caused by all kinds of economic and cultural movements and forces in the huge space of Chinese society, and the second is to develop progressive educational ideas that are robust enough to counter these phenomena.

Affiliations: 1: The Institute of Curriculum and Instruction, East China Normal University


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