Social Ideologies and the English Curriculum in China: A Historical Overview

Chapter

Abstract

Mainstream philosophies and social ideologies have played a decisive role in education in China. This chapter provides a historical overview of English literacy instruction in China under different social, curricular, and pedagogical ideologies. The authors trace the history of English education in China back to the late Imperial period in the nineteenth century when Western nations were establishing trade with China. They explore the influence of Confucianism, John Dewey’s Pragmatism, and Marxism on English teaching in China, and by analyzing curricular artifacts, such as syllabi and textbooks, identify ideologies that historically determined the orientation of English curricula in China at different time periods. The five main ideologies identified by Morris and Adamson (Curriculum, schooling and society in Hong Kong. Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, 2010) are seen as being historically influential in determining the orientation of English curricula: (a) social and economic efficiency, (b) child-centered ideology, (c) academic rationalism, (d) social reconstructionism, and (e) orthodoxy/ideological transfer. Through an analysis of the ideologies associated with different periods of China’s development, the authors seek to explain how English has attained its current status of high prestige and increasingly numerous functions in Chinese society.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.East Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.Hong Kong Institute of EducationHong KongChina

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