Confucian Philosophy for Teaching Twenty-first Century Values in Australian Schools

By Jacqueline Elliot and Joyce Martin.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will discuss the similarities between the core values identified in the “National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools” (2005) and the key tenets of Confucian philosophy with a view to promote an intercultural dialogue.

Since the colonial and post colonial era, Australia’s response to migrants not originating from the British Isles has developed through several phases. ‘Assimilation’ was the endorsed ideology to uphold the Anglo-centric values until the 1970s, when ‘Multiculturalism’ was adopted as government policy where origins of other ethnicity were positively recognised. Over time, this has developed towards acceptance within much of the Australian population of ‘pluralism’ where the acceptance and flourishing of other cultures is encouraged. What are the educational implications of this history for children of Asian background?

The aims of this paper are twofold. First, the paper will demonstrate the congruence between traditional Asian values as expressed through Confucian philosophy and the core values articulated in The Framework for Values such as Care and Compassion; Fair Go; Honesty and Trustworthiness; Integrity; Respect; Responsibility; Understanding, Tolerance and Inclusion. Second, the paper will extrapolate to suggest a new goal for Australia and for education, that of ‘inclusive appreciation’ whereby the goal is not assimilation, nor merely the tolerance of multicultural differences, nor even the fostering of parallel development as in pluralism, but rather, the development of an appreciation of how the different elements of culture, such as the philosophy underpinning values, because of their similarities, can work harmoniously to achieve a better Australian society.

Keywords: Confucianism, Values Education, Care and Compassion, Fair Go, Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Tolerance, Education in Australia, Assimilation, Multiculturalism, Pluralism, Inclusive Appreciation, Intercultural Dialogue, Australian Society

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.145-156. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.558MB).

Jacqueline Elliot

Lecturer in Educational Studies, Faculty of Education, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Jackie is an experienced teacher and teacher educator who has a commitment to delivering and enabling quality teaching with innovative use of teaching/ learning strategies incorporating information technology. Her teaching areas include communications, applied behavioural sciences, teaching and classroom management. Jackie has studied and worked in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Australia. Her B.A. (Communication) is from UTS (University of Technology, Sydney) with majors in Sociology and Film (Screen-writing and Film production) and has produced short films that won awards in the Sydney Film Festivals. Her Master degree is in Public Health (MPH) with the University of Sydney. She is currently completing her PhD in Media and Communication with the University of Western Sydney, Australia. Using the creative medium, Jackie’s work in film production explored issues of gender relationship; the psychological landscapes of women with dependent young children caught in two diverse cultures; the issues of power, patriarchy and psycho-analysis. Her current research interests build on this earlier work and focus on the interpretation and resolution of intra- and inter-personal issues using the perspectives of Eastern philosophies. Jackie is a Black Belt in Tai Kwan Do. She has two children and lives with her family in Sydney. As time permits, she enjoys travel, music, the performing arts, swimming, meditation and reading.

Dr. Joyce Martin

Lecturer in Applied Social Psychology, Faculty of Education, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Dr. Joyce Martin, Lecturer in Applied Social Psychology. Research publications and interest associated with individual differences and conflict arising from a lack of understanding of differences and, the use of specific philosophies and practices to bridge the lack of understanding and conflict.


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