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A Study On The Life Of Rural Teachers In The Republic Of China

Posted on:2016-10-21Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:P W GaoFull Text:PDF
GTID:1107330470450077Subject:Curriculum and pedagogy
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Nowadays the pace of urbanization in the rural area of China is speeding up and thistendency will inevitably influence the development of primary education and pose moredemanding requirements towards the rural teachers. New stimuli have been penetrating intothe rural teachers group and influence their humanistic spirit besides changing their life style.And the transformation of times poses new challenges towards the rural teachers and thesechallenges are not unprecedented. Looking back to the Republican period, we can find thatrural teachers at that time also confronted with the impact from western thoughts and newthoughts and they lived under multi-pressure from transformation of society and transitionfrom the old. In spite of different social background, the words and deeds of rural teachers inthe predicament of Republican period reflected their understandings and dealings towards thesocial transformation, which enlightens our research towards the psychology and behavior ofmodern rural teachers and will definitely make contributions to the rural education as well asthe whole education career. Therefore, there are necessity, urgency and possibility towards theresearch of rural teachers’ life. Although the life for rural teachers in the Republican periodhas been covered with dust, treated as historical relic and put at the verge of national memory,under the dust there hide endless spiritual treasure and education truth and that is worthdigging out. On one hand, the research can deepen the understanding towards the teachergroup; on the other hand, the research can give spiritual strength towards modern teachers’development and provide researchers historical references.On the China’s mainland the period of the Republic of China covers the thirty eight yearsfrom1912-1949. The rural teachers in that period mainly refer to teachers in the rural schooleducation system, which generally includes primary school teachers, some old-style privatetutors and a few middle school teachers. The research rotates around the school life and sociallife of rural teachers interspersed with the teachers’ daily life. And it conducts a panoramicinvestigation with the rural teacher group on the mainland as the objective. In addition, theresearch also explores the personal life history of some rural teachers like Liu dapeng andHuang zhuofu and provides us a micro, lively and vivid life picture of teachers at thattime.The main methods we use include literature research method, life history researchmethod, oral history research method and educational narratives research method. Personallife or teacher’s life is real, objective, but it may be misrepresented once demonstrated so as tomake it hard for us to have a real cognition. Since the facts exist in the objective world but areshown through expressive structure, the words analysis of relevant subjects can approach thereal state of teachers’life. We must also admit that it constitutes an unchanging clue to dig outthe friendship of fellow countrymen, professional sentiment, moral adherence andfamily-country emotion under the hard conditions by means of rural teachers’life research.The life realities of rural teachers in the Republican period connect with the turmoil of that time and also entangle with disordered, transitional rural country, for the teachers at thattime are confronted with soundly organized, orderly functioned and stable country society.Rural teachers live in a secluded and traditional country society and they have their prayers toget their ancestors’ shelter, their expectation towards beautiful life, their adherence towardsconventions and also have some unhealthy life styles. Meanwhile, the surging westernthoughts and new thoughts also give impact to the remote and obscure rural education.Although the fluctuation is much smaller that in the city, even some of the rural areas remainintact, seeking changes has become an irresistible tendency and this tendency washesconstantly the plain country. These new things demonstrate tremendous energy or creativity,however they don’t get recognition accordingly, instead they may be rejected by thetraditional and conservative people and that gives uncertainties towards rural education andalso poses more challenges and opportunities for the teachers. Modern education is graduallypushing forward to the countryside with old-style private schools inserted in it. The teachersjust live under this background. Besides daily life, rural teachers shoulder the responsibilitiesof spreading modern China civilization and enlightening modern western culture and are alsoloaded with the dreams of educational progress and national rejuvenation.They are a special group, live in special times and special social environment and theyhave the orientations of professionals and share the features of peasants. Most of them arenative peasants with a few outsiders. They constitute quite a mixed group, some are normalschool graduates, some are middle and primary school graduates, some are transformed fromold-style private tutors, on the whole, graduates from middle and primary schools dominate.The Republican government attaches importance to education, so the teachers’ salary is quiteconsiderable. However, that has some distance with real benefits the teachers can get in theinvestigation and the teachers’ word description. The treatment the rural teachers can get ispoor and inadequate and turbulence and inflation force them to eat in their students’family byturn to offset their salary.On the whole, Their age is about thirty,although their income is notvery handsome, their life can be barely satisfactory with the help of their lands.As one of intellectuals in rural area, Liu Dapeng from Shanxi and Huang Zhuofu (a ruralteacher from Anhui) have a very different background. Liu Dapeng has received a traditionalConfucian education, this benefits him a good moral character but leads to a conservativemind and hostile to new learning, and thus there were less highlights to mention during histeaching. Huang Zhuofu has received a pedagogic education in a normal school. He has beenengaged in teaching in rural primary schools for many years. He was absorbed in teaching,cared for his students and harvested much comprehension and apperception. Moreover, thereare many big names once served as rural teachers, and even some of them are therevolutionists like Mao Zedong and Qian Mu.New-style education follows a route of “gardening culture”, but traditional education ismore extensive and partial to agrifield. New-style rural teacher perform teaching and spread knowledge in a more standard and professional framework. This is favorable for developmentof modern countries, but severely against “free and ease”“self-exile” of rural society. Thisgroup thus has to face cold shoulder and rejection wherefrom. The rural teacher, as theprofessional, has to step into countryside, community in a specified framework. Therefore,they have no way to escape from related entanglements with the farmers or other intellectuals.During the era of the Republic of China, old-style intellectuals like most gentries andtutor of old-type private school in rural area, were still active and some of them went onparticipating in education of China. Despite of imperial examination abolished, the old-styleintellectuals like gentries and tutor of old-type private school still lurked huge deterrent forceand were admired by most farmers, and they were basically deemed as guardian, law-executor,adjudicator and director of the local people. If they were really full of learning and with highmorality, what they said seemed like command for the local, and even he was deemed asactual “lawmaker” of the rural society.Although legitimacy of the group started losing and thecultural authority died away steadily, the newborn rural teacher group still had to makecontact with them. The main were anaclisis and rebellion of the teachers to the gentries;conflict and cooperation between the teachers and tutors of old-type private school;compromise and transformation made by teachers to the farmers. This also reminds us thatteachers actively took part in social activity, and they also involved in spreading practicalknowledge, participating in rural construction and social revolution. They made greatcontributions to the local people, society and the country.Rural teachers face diversified difficulties and challenges. They shoulder trust of thenation, and encountered various incomprehension, even irresolution of life decision. Farmershave both good and bad comment on this group, and most of them named them “culturalworker”,“intellectual”,“teacher”,“teach-book-smith”,“king of children” or “growling”.However, it is a comfort to see that the group of rural teacher ultimately breaks throughvarious limitations of time, living and personal quality, and they have made greatcontributions to continuity and development of rural education, and penetration of new-styleeducation as well. In particular, under a hard condition, love for local people, devotion to dutyand patriotic feeling of this group of people are admirable. The group of nobody forged theirown time image and achieved their own pattern.Rural teachers are requested to the task of fulfill new-type education that the state carriedforward and give consideration to demand of traditional life. They work in interlayer of theold and new, thus their life is hard to be influenced, and it is historically inevitable for them toencounter countryside estrangement and occupational dilemma.Teach should fulfillcorresponding task, and make contributions to the society and community. However, theyneed corresponding guarantee and support from the state. If a state should make improvementof itself, the first is that people of the country should cheer up, and they must deemthemselves as master of their fate. The enlightment we got us that external rough stuff and lockstep are not good approaches. A teacher should not be passive and forbearing. A teachershould not draw rein, but to strengthen his conviction and standpoint, overcome externalinfluence and inner confusion during making self-criticizing, and give attic faith toimportance of their own professional knowledge and skill. Firstly, it is to overcome“materialization” tendency personally pursuing, nut to establish a noble and moral life style;the second is to break trough self-positioning “fixed image” phenomena but to set up anactive and confident image of time; the third is to provide care to others and make aself-evaluation and to complete a self-redemption.
Keywords/Search Tags:the Republic of China, rural society, rural teacher, teachers’life, rural education
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