New directions in the moral education curriculum in Chinese primary schools

Journal of Moral Education 33 (4):495-510 (2004)
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An analysis is presented of the problems that have existed for over 20 years in the moral education curriculum in primary schools of China. These include the separation of moral education from children's lives, the moralizing and memorization used as the basic methods of teaching and learning, and the overlaps between courses on society and ideological moral character. The paper then introduces the main innovations in the contemporary reform of the primary moral education curriculum, including lifelong moral education as its theoretical foundation and making the development of children's morality relate to life, with ‘real’ everyday life events as source materials for textbooks. Embodied in the textbooks are some new ideas behind the revised educational objectives, such as putting oneself in another's position, ecological interdependence, ‘win‐win’, dialogue, sharing and diversity. As the curriculum is child centred so the textbooks use a dialogical pedagogy. In conclusion the paper considers ongoing and new challenges for moral education in primary schools to be faced by the curriculum reform.



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