Confucianism and Work Ethic in Schools

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The styles of school education and its relative benefits between the East and West are constantly debated: should students be influenced by strict discipline and pressure to perform or creativity and an individualistic approach?

In East Asian countries Confucianism has heavily influenced education systems where an emphasis is placed on respect for elders, harmony and collective values. Within the classroom there is a respect for teachers, a focus on manners and consequences for poor performance or incomplete homework.

International Journal of Educational Management has published a new study that has found “strict, high-discipline countries were the highest performing countries academically.”

Contrary to this, Western countries place a focus on the individual child. Education systems are better at promoting play, creativity, innovation and questioning authority, which might have harder-to-measure benefits.

As Western countries are falling behind in academic performance internationally, incorporating Confucian values into Western culture could be seen as a way forward for academic excellence.

According to lead author of both studies, associate professor Chris Baumann from Macquarie University, “The likely outlook is that Western countries may sooner or later aspire to a balanced pedagogic approach to education, where the playful elements remain, but discipline might be tightened up again since the successes in Asia suggest strict discipline and a focus on academic performance ‘pay off’, and the results of our study point in that direction.”

You can find the original article here.


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