Chinese Language Pedagogy and Human Dignity: The Special Rank Teacher in the Aftermath of the Cultural Revolution

Chapter

Abstract

Established in 1978 two years after the end of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the lifetime Special Rank Teacher (SRT) award honored outstanding teachers of various subjects at different instructional levels in the People’s Republic of China. The bestowing of the SRT award suggests the awardees were considered the embodiment of all-round “excellence,” including political, as well as moral and professional criteria. This chapter adopts a historical approach to explore the major developments in Chinese language and literacy teaching in Imperial, Republican and People’s Republic of China eras in order to place the SRT award in its historical context. The authors examine biographies of 14 SRTs to ascertain their contributions to the field of Chinese Language and Literacy and argue that the SRTs were in conformity with the mainstream societal values of the time. However, the SRTs were also reformists in that they were reflective and intrinsically motivated to discover their own ways to improve their teaching. They were innovative and skillful in articulating their pedagogic ideas as practical approaches to teaching. Essentially, the SRT award acknowledged and rewarded the exceptional pedagogical skills of the teachers, as well as their political fidelity to ideologies of the state.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and InstructionHong Kong Institute of EducationTai PoHong Kong
  2. 2.Centre for Learning StudyHong Kong Institute of EducationTai PoHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of International Education and Lifelong LearningHong Kong Institute of EducationTai PoHong Kong

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