Power and Moral Education in China: Three Examples of School-Based Curriculum Development

Power and Moral Education in China: Three Examples of School-Based Curriculum Development

by Wangbei Ye


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Chinese moral education reform in the last three decades represents the most significant decentralization of decision-making power since the foundation of People’s Republic of China in 1949. On one hand, it shows how de-politicized China’s moral education curriculum has become following the introduction of China’s “Open-door” policy and economic reforms and the resultant social transformations. On the other hand, it reveals persistent problems in moral education caused by political stresses and tight state control.
To explain these tensions, Power and Moral Education in China analyzes the characteristics of power relationships in school moral education curriculum goal-setting, content and pedagogy selection, and implementation. The ultimate purpose is to identify not only what factors impact Chinese moral education curriculum decision-making at the school level, but also how and why.
Through a multiple case study conducted during 2008 in three schools in Shenzhen City, and based on four major data collection instruments (observation, interview, questionnaire, and document review), Wangbei Ye analyzes how power relationships have evolved in school moral education, and how and why school power affects school moral education.
Contrary to the common belief that Chinese schools are passively impacted by external forces in moral education curriculum development, this book suggests that school power is a “semi-emancipatory relationship” that acts as a major force shaping moral education. This means that although both the Chinese Communist Party and the state are positioned to control schools and moral education, schools nonetheless have the power to either negotiate for more influence, or partly emancipate themselves by collaborating with other external forces, responding to grass-root needs, empowering school teachers and adjusting internal school management style. This helps to explain the influence of Chinese schools in moral education and suggests a broader theory of power relationships in curriculum.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739175477
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 04/16/2014
Series: Emerging Perspectives on Education in China Series
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Wangbei Ye is lecturer of the Moral-political Education section in the Department of Political Science at East China Normal University.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Power and Curriculum: Western Perspectives
Chapter 3: Power and Curriculum in China: The Case of School-based Moral Education
Chapter 4: Example 1: State-led Power Decentralization
Chapter 5: Example 2: School-led Power Sharing
Chapter 6: Example 3: Market-led Power Redistribution
Chapter 7: Towards an Understanding of Power as Semi-emancipatory Relation: Comparison and Discussion

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