Education About Asia: Online Archives

Chinese Religion: Ideas for Effective Instruction at the High School Level

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Due to its impressive length and extensive documentation, China’s history presents many challenges for high school teachers. We know that all periods and cultural characteristics of China’s historical record cannot be covered; so what should we emphasize? Typically, we may have, at most, one month in which to explore the essence of Chinese culture. This often occurs in a course where students focus briefly on numerous widely disparate cultures. No matter how much time is available, however, we undoubtedly attempt to uncover the essential characteristics of Chinese religion. In this specific area there are numerous difficulties, many of them related to the fact that our students are primarily familiar with monotheistic cultures where there is a belief in one god supported by a clearly defined doctrine. Chinese religion presents quite a contrast.