This paper uses the centenary of Dewey’ two years in China as an opportunity to reassess John Dewey’s views on China, based mainly on his Letters and his Lectures in Social and Political Philosophy, 1919–21 given on invitation at the University of Peking. In particular, the paper makes some criticisms of Dewey’s pragmatism (his lack of contextualism in not mentioning the significance of the May 4th Movement) and raises the question of the relationship of his thought with Chinese Marxism. The essay is given a critical reading by three scholars Jessica Ching-Sze Wang, Kang Zhao and, Zhang Huajun, all Dewey scholars.
Michael A. Peters
Michael A. Peters
Reforms in Italian Higher Education
Tommaso Agasisti and Martina Dal Molin
Discussions about indigenous philosophy are always difficult because of identities, chief among these being: what is the primary assumption that coalesces the varied philosophies of indigenous groups that then entitles me to talk about a single “indigenous” philosophy? Although I don’t make this the focus of my paper, I take as a uniting thought the holism which defines metaphysics for several indigenous groups (see e.g. Deloria, 2001; Mika, 2017; Smith, 2012). For this article, I centre on the implications of indigenous holism for both indigenous and non-indigenous students and the indigenous teacher of metaphysics in the academy. This paper often takes a turn for the anecdotal as I consider my experiences in the New Zealand context as a Maori lecturer in philosophy of education who teaches Maori metaphysics to Maori and non-indigenous students. There are difficulties that exist for me as an educator in this area and also for the students, although I have observed that non-indigenous and Maori students encounter Maori metaphysics in quite unique ways. A common feature in both cases, though, is that there is a lack of appropriate language to draw on to describe Maori metaphysics. I conclude this article by suggesting ways that philosophising can take place in correspondence with a Maori metaphysics of things as world-constituted.
Tony Jeffs, Annette Coburn, Alastair Scott-McKinley and Steve Drowley
In this essay, firstly I agree with Peters on his point that Dewey’s political democracy reveals his idea of education as a public good suggested in the newly discovered Dewey’s Lectures, and I highlight Dewey’s idea of relationship between political democracy and education. Secondly, for Peters’ puzzle about Dewey’s lack of discussion in this lecture concerning the students’ action in the May 4th Movement, I present Dewey’s such kind of discussion from another lecture series given at Beijing. Finally, with the notion of “narrative learning”, I echo Peters’ comment regarding Deweyan mode of thinking as the only way of understanding about thinking.
Ilona Buchroth and Dan Connolly
Qiang Liu, David Turner and Xiaoli Jing
The construction of world-class universities and first-class disciplines (Double First-Class Initiative) is a major commitment made by the Chinese government to adapt to changes in the educational environment at home and abroad. It is also an innovative strategy for the development and practice of international higher education. As part of the Double First-Class Initiative, China’s higher education institutions have formulated plans for their development and for developing their disciplinary specializations. They have instituted special measures for developing subject areas, staff development, building teams of teachers and researchers, and enhancing their disciplinary characteristics. However, there are some potential problems with the implementation of the Double First-Class Initiative, not least of which are the imprecision in the definition of “world-class”, the narrow focus on the range of institutions, and the lack of future-oriented development methods. These problems have attracted the attention of the government and the universities, and stimulated some discussion in society more widely.
Jun Li and Jian Li
Recently China has miraculously transformed itself from a learner in the 20th century to a re-rising leader of educational excellence. The enduring policy endeavors over the past few decades have largely enabled China as the largest educational system in the world move to a recently emerging status as a global leader of educational improvement, recognized and appreciated with admiration by many traditionally advanced countries. The two authors intend to offer a snapshot of the China miracle of educational development in terms of public policies since the turn of the 21st century. With a Multi-Flows Approach constructed from Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of “flow”, this paper investigates the complexity and dynamism of three policy streams, i.e., basic education, teacher education and higher education. It is concluded from the literature review that central to China’s key policy actions in recent decades are four core themes, i.e., equality in terms of a democratic mission of education for every citizen, quality in terms of individual and social productivity, efficiency as a national priority based on practicality, and rejuvenation of the state for nation-building and global status. Educational policy development in China since the new century is thus examined with economic, political, cultural and international flows, each presenting a colorful jigsaw puzzle that is not easily tessellated by other flows. The authors argue that the different focus of flows and beyond can benefit policy communities in the world with varied directions for educational change resulting in significant improvement while none of them should be seen as a single force in solely shaping educational policy development without the convergence of other forces. This implies that for any public policy in education policymakers, implementers and other stakeholders must ensure a comprehensive consideration of the interdependent, converging effects of these forces to prioritize and maximize their outcomes, which may be easily missed by any single force of them. The implications from this paper sheds new light on policy studies in education in China and globally, and the learner-provider dynamism of educational development in a post-colonial context.