As the author of the book that expounds the theory of a contemporary China’s academic school of Educology, I never expected that it was going to be published in English version only three years after its Chinese version. I deeply appreciate Ms. Yang Xu in Higher Education Press. Without her active recommendation and effective advancement, the English version would not have been completed. I want to express my gratitude as well to the translator, Ms. Lijuan, who started the translation of this hard-reading book when she had pregnancy and was ready for the birth of a new life. What’s more, I am deeply grateful for Dr. Michael Connelly, the senior professor of University of Toronto in Canada. We have been acquainted with each other as we constructed and conducted the exchange program for basic education school reform between China and Canada together. Although Dr. Connelly undertook many other important works, he still readily agreed to write a foreword for my immature treatise. It was by reading the preface of Dr. Connelly that I realized that it is painstaking for western scholars to read the works of Chinese scholars across culture. I was deeply moved by his sincerity, and his long foreword inspired me to write a preface in the English version, intending to briefly introduce and explain the subject of each part of the book, hoping the English readers who are interested will find it helpful.
This book consists of Introduction, Part 1 and Part 2. The book is titled with A Contemporary Chinese Theory of Education, which means continuing the past and creating the future, that expresses not only the aim, but also the logic of this study: the unification of history and theory—to present the advance of theory through the analysis of history, and then draw new judgments and conclusions.
The Introduction part reviews the reasons why we created Life-Practice School of Educology, and the process of the creation, which includes (a) the formation of academic thought of my own, as the founder and moderator of the school (at the part of gestation period), (b) and the generation process of the school with the collective study of school groups. (c) The conclusion is about the uniqueness of Life-Practice School of Educology.
In Part 1, I mainly expound the view on Life-Practice School of Educology, which is composed of Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. The argument whether Educology is an independent discipline is a controversial issue no matter in China or foreign academy. For that, I read a number of controversial articles and find that there are differences on prerequisite awareness. Therefore, I review the changes of the concept Discipline in western understandings in the perspective of history and put forward the Discipline view that we believe in. What mentioned above is the main content of Chapter 2, and in Chapter 3, I focus on the current view on Educology in China that denies Educology as an independent discipline, and explicitly propose the view on Educology of Life-Practice School of Educology.
In Part 2, the emphasis shifts from the discussion of views on Educology view in Part 1 to the views on Education of Life-Practice School of Educology. In particular, it had to be reminded that the understandings of the logic of this book would be difficult if we fail to distinguish these two concepts of Educology and Education.
Part 2 consists of Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. In Chapter 4, with the multiple definitions for the concept of Education cleared, I analyse the core concepts, which I call Genes, contained in the works of those important educator in the history of Western Educology. In addition, I illustrate the genes of Life-Practice School of Educology in a particular section (section 3) as the end of Chapter 4.
In Chapter 5, I expound the inheritance and new understandings of Life-Practice School of Educology on Chinese traditional culture in current age, and further refine the Chinese expression of what Education (“教育” in Chinese) is—Teaching the Knowledge of Nature and Society, Cultivating the self-consciousness of life, aiming at furthering cross-cultural communication and discussion with more researchers of education theory both at home and abroad.
The English version of the book was carefully proofread and supplemented by five doctors, who are Liu Lianghua, Bu Yuhua, Zhang Yong, Yuan Derun and Pang Qingju. They made an indispensable contribution to the improvement of the quality of this translation. Here, I am filled with gratitude.