China’s education was initiated by Confucius, whose educational philosophy focused on “benevolence” by advocating “benevolence and rites in mind and heart”.
“What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature; an accordance with this nature is called The Path of Duty; the regulation of this path is called Instruction.” ——The Doctrine of the Mean
According to The Doctrine of the Mean, education should be in conformity with human nature and put people first.
“If men do not learn, they do not know the way in which they should go. On this account the ancient kings, when establishing states and governing the people, made instructions and schools a primary object.” ——The Book of Rites
In Chinese feudal society, rulers believed that education could greatly influence social stability and praised the ruling strategy of: “starting from the lessons of the schools to transform the people and to perfect their manners and customs”. Likewise, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said: “The legislator should direct his attention above all to the education of youth”. What we should notice is that the importance of the social function of education is strongly emphasised in both situations.
At Huili, our education mission and vision focus on “cultivating virtuous and capable pupils by benevolence and spreading wisdom widely”. We continually reinforce the importance of benevolence and virtue, — nurturing pupils by subjects, culture, morality and innovation — in all aspects of our education. We provide a learning environment that encourages pupils to practise the Huili Identities of being Inspired, Intellectual, Independent, Individual and Inclusive. Meanwhile, we attach great importance to their wellbeing via a comprehensive pastoral system which provides numerous specialist lessons to maintain their mental health over the course of adolescence.
As the old Chinese proverb goes: “It takes ten years to grow trees but a hundred years to rear people”. Education emphasises the need to cultivate people, particularly their morality and virtue. Primary school is a critical period for pupils to establish their outlook, values and beliefs. Therefore, their moral education is vital.
Moral education aims to help pupils develop a positive and upright attitude with which they can boldly overcome the most difficult, painful and frustrating things in their lives. Teachers who deliver moral education lessons should possess the right kind of minds and personalities to instruct pupils. They should be role models for pupils, rather than merely concentrating on the theory behind various moral precepts.
As well as our emphasis on morality and a good conduct, we want to develop pupils' pride in their country, their culture and their own values. We want pupils to possess the core socialist values of “patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendship”, and have these ideals firmly rooted. By studying hard and achieving their full potential, they will represent the bright future of their nation.
To this end, we hold a flag-raising ceremony every Monday morning. At the ceremony, flag raisers give speeches articulating their aspirations by looking back but also to the future. Then, they raise the five-star red flag to the accompaniment of the national anthem. After that, teacher representatives talk about our weekly focus, with the purpose of inspiring and stimulating pupils to become the best version of themselves.
Liang Qichao, Chinese scholar and philosopher once wrote: “The responsibility bestowed by the times falls on nobody but us youth. If we are intelligent, China will be intelligent; if we are strong, China will be strong.” Adolescent years can be compared to the sowing period of our lifetime, which means that the kind of life we will achieve is decided by the seeds that we plant. Accordingly, we expect Huili pupils to embrace a set of higher ideals which will help them understand the importance of trying their best to achieve their dreams while reflecting well on their school and nation.
To be effective, moral education requires open cooperation between parents and teachers, as well as conducting practical activities to bring the theory to life. Its ethos can be conveyed through various social activities, such as charity sales, caring for the old and making charitable donations. These activities will help pupils understand the meaning of moral qualities, including kindness and perseverance, in real-life circumstances. This in turn will help them to establish proper moral values and aid their ongoing holistic development.
On January 8th, 2018, eleven Huili pupils, under the guidance of counsellor Ms Lv, visited elderly people in Expo Nursing Home. In order to bring happiness to the disabled patients, they put on several performances with their musical instruments.
According to the introduction of the dean of the nursing home, musical therapy has proven to be an effective treatment with a tangibly positive impact on people suffering from certain diseases and hearing loss. While the pupils’ performance might not have been as perfect as a professional band, they still touched the elderly patients with their benevolence and earnestness, which definitely cheered them up. A big round of applause given by the patients, showing their appreciation and teaching the pupils the inherent value of bringing joy to others.
As Confucius said: “The wise are free from perplexities; the virtuous from anxiety; and the bold from fear”. The true meaning of moral education can be found in these words. It helps pupils to tell right from wrong, to develop an optimistic life attitude and understand their behavioural requirements as progressive, respectful and essentially moral individuals. Thus, no matter what kind of situations that they may encounter, Huili pupils will adhere to and respect what they believe. Ultimately, we want to enable them to realise their own moral values in the process of becoming better versions of themselves.