Social Changes and 'Yuwen' Education in Post-Mao China: Control, Conformity and Contradiction, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Social Changes and 'Yuwen' Education in Post-Mao China

Control, Conformity and Contradiction, 1st Edition

By Min Tao


240 pages

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Hardback: 9781138339125
pub: 2019-05-27
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Inspired by the author’s observations of the language curriculum as a practicing teacher for the past 20 years, this book addresses how the high school Chinese language and literacy (Yuwen) curriculum in China was controlled and directed in the post-Mao era. Examining the social and political domination from 1980 to 2010, the book offers insights into how teachers and schools responded to the top-down curriculum change in their teaching practice.

This book discusses some of the most important questions concerning China and its education system: what changes have occurred in the Chinese language and literacy curricula; how and why the changes have occurred; who have been in control of the process and outcome; what impacts the curriculum changes may bring not only to China but to the international sectors that ‘export’ education and degrees to China and Chinese students. The author provides answers to these questions crucial to both contemporary Chinese society and the students that come out of that system. This critical inquiry of the Yuwen curriculum and its implementation provides a valuable and timely showcase for understanding the ideology of the Chinese’ future generation and the social and political transformation in the past three decades. As well as researchers, this book is expected to have impact on policy makers in China and beyond, where Chinese migrants and international students constitute a substantial learning population.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Social Approaches of Literacy Studies and Language and Literacy Curriculum Studies: Western Perspectives and Disputes

Chapter 3: Ideological Control and Subject Autonomy: Major Debates on Yuwen Education in China after 1949

Chapter 4: Scope and Methods

Chapter 5: From Mao’s literate subjects to high Suzhi (quality) literate citizens: High school Yuwen syllabuses in the post-Mao era (1978-2003)

Chapter 6: Whose Texts and what Texts: Findings from Textbook Analysis

Chapter 7: Yuwen Teachers’ Perceptions of and Reactions to the Curriculum Changes

Chapter 8: Discussion and Conclusion: Text and Power

Conclusion: Text and power


Appendix 1: Ethical Approval by Human Research Ethics Committee (USYD)

Appendix 2: Interview questions

Appendix 3: Letter circular


About the Author

Min Tao, PhD teaches Chinese language and culture at the University of Sydney. His research interests include social context of language education, Chinese language curriculum and contemporary Chinese narratology. His recent publication, based on his PhD thesis, is focused on the relationship between the state’s policy and the formation of school language and literacy curriculum. The research project was inspired by his own experience as a language teacher at various institutions, and explores how the state power shaped the formation of language and literacy curriculum in PRC in the Post-Mao era. He has served as a lecturer and coordinator of the Chinese program at the University of Wollongong (2009-2015) and an associate lecturer at the University of Tasmania (2004-2007). Before he moved to Australia, he worked as a lecturer in teaching Chinese as a foreign language at Nanjing Normal University in China.

About the Series

Education and Society in China

China’s economic rise has been breathtaking and unprecedented. Yet educational opportunities remain highly unequal. China has the essential ingredients to build a great system of education, but educational governance needs an overhaul if China is to realize its goal of dramatically boosting its technological output to world-class levels. As more work by established Chinese and overseas scholars becomes accessible in English to the larger global community, myths will be removed and replaced by more accurate and sophisticated analyses of China’s fascinatingly complex educational transformation. This series will provide highly analytical examinations of key issues in China’s education system.

Professor Gerard A. Postiglione is Associate Dean (Research), Chair Professor of Higher Education, Division of Policy, Administration and Social Sciences Education, as well as Director, Wah Ching Centre of Research on Education in China at the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong.

In honor for his contribution and dedication to the field, Professor Postiglione will be inducted during the AERA 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. as a 2016 AERA Fellow. We congratulate him on this high achievement -- a true reflection of his excellence, achievement and commitment to his work.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Curricula
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects