Education About Asia: Online Archives

China and the West: A Fresh Strategy against Provincialism

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A teacher’s work against provincialism never ends, but sometimes a new idea offers fresh hope. The strategy introduced here was developed in China for students with good English and an interest in understanding the Western world. For them to understand such a distant world, they must be able to relate what they learn to what they already know—they must be able to compare it to China. This means learning to look at the Chinese way of life as if from the outside, both comparatively and historically. Chinese students today, for a variety of historical reasons, know little about their cultural roots. Perhaps partly for that reason, they have taken to comparative culture studies with enthusiasm. We believe this comparative approach holds promise for American students as well.

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