Teacher Diaries: Ms. Yvonne – Teaching Philosophy

In an essay in 1919, Lu Xun, often considered the great mentor to a generation of modern Chinese writers, famously wrote that the enlightened adults should ‘shoulder up the gate of darkness and free the children to that bright, spacious land, where they may live happily and wisely ever after.’ What he thought of paramount importance to transform a stagnant, patriarchy society into a modern one was to create an equal and democratic relationship between generations, which is deeply at odds with Chinese traditional values. As someone who believes in children’s potential and constantly enlightened by them, I think teaching is by no means about claiming authority. All I want is to help my students take initiative in learning.

In an education system that is mostly exam-oriented, language is often reduced to instrument. Writing in one’s mother tongue can be irritably frustrating rather than fulfilling, and reading merely an act of accumulating information. In my classes, I try to situate every piece of recommended readings back in its social-historical context, yet still make them relevant with my students’ living experiences in this contemporary society. I encourage them to appreciate the poetics of literature and everyday life, as well as to observe the world critically, from different perspectives, with genuine empathy.

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