The Chinese Continuum of Self-Cultivation: A Confucian-Deweyan Learning Model

The Chinese Continuum of Self-Cultivation explores a transcultural philosophy of education based on the Neo-Confucian concept of the universal nature of self in the co-creative process of self-cultivation (xiushen 修身). This ancient approach to knowledge synthesis and consolidation informs and enhances the educational theories of John Dewey (1859–1952), creating a cross-cultural educational template for the 21st century. The Confucian-Deweyan educational model explored is not only a transcultural educational approach in the changing face of globality, but also a means to encourage and foster humanitarian and communitarian values in the learner. That is, a wholistic approach to education whereby the individual considers the other – human and natural – tantamount to the self in an increasingly shifting world. This concept is in direct opposition to the anthropocentric approach of egoistic individualism currently prevalent in post-modern societies. The educational model developed fosters cooperation, rather than competition; community over individualism, enabling non-European indigenous values and problem-solving to co-exist in balance with Western neo-liberal forces in the global arena. The model of education developed herein enables the phenomenon of glocalization (the overlap of global and local issues) to be pragmatically addressed in cross-cultural contexts, promoting economic, environmental, cultural and human sustainability for the future. This work will appeal to comparative philosophers, educationalists, and designers of pre-tertiary curricula.


Christine A. Hale is an independent scholar in the fields of Yijing studies, Neo-Confucianism, and the philosophy of education, and received her PhD from the University of Sydney. She resides in a small village on the sub-tropical eastern coast of Australia.

"The sociological imagination shines brightly in Hale’s book, where she assembles a philosophy of education that brilliantly merges updated versions of Confucian and Deweyan thought into an educational template aimed at producing engaged twenty-first-century students that are connected to their local communities and to global society. [...] Roger T. Ames writes in the foreword that this superb book could not have been written earlier. We had to wait for Confucian and Deweyan ideas to gain acceptance and a lasting presence in education. I would only add that this book could not have come at a more crucial time."

Stan C. Weeber Professor of Sociology, McNeese State University China Review International, 21:2

"A wonderful work! Christine A. Hale’s book is intelligent, sensitive, thoroughgoing, and very brave. [It] takes on the purpose of making and explaining the subtle union between emotion and fact, detail and generalization, and explores the key philosophic aspects of the thought of two great civilizations, the European-American, or Western, and the Chinese. The book is truly and fruitfully bicultural and, by natural implication, multicultural. Hale’s passion for philosophic thought, both Western and Chinese, is clearly evidenced when explaining, even diagrammatically, their different and yet often similar conceptions of the human personality in relation to itself and to the social and physical world. Hale explores the pressing and subtle existential problems currently extant in the world, and provides an educational proposal to meet those challenges now and in the future."

Ben-Ami Scharfstein Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Tel-Aviv University

"In this work, Hale presents a new philosophy of education as a response to the fragmentation of contemporary society that has been fostered by post-modern values and its deconstructionist forces. But Hale, through her research in both Confucianism and Dewey, is keenly aware that such a concept of independent individuals is a fiction. We do not live our lives inside our skins. Hale’s tour de force is completed by formulating a transcultural philosophy of education grounded in the "whole self"—the radically situated (local) person who is fully cognizant of the cosmic implications of human education and development."

Roger T. Ames Professor of Philosophy, University of Hawai’i

"Christine A Hale’s latest publication on the cross-cultural forces moving China’s education system into a new phase is an exceptional work for a scholar of acclaimed standing in the field. The impact of Dewey has taken considerable time to filter through into mainstream Chinese educational thought and Hale traces this in a unique manner. The insight provided by Hale, a Western writer, shows how important the cultural aspects of educational research are to fully understanding how the education system in the largest country in the world functions."

Nigel Bagnall Associate Professor of Education, University of Sydney

"Hale shows great insight when she brings Confucianism and Deweyan thought together to create a cross-cultural educational model for our current times. This work—as an extension of Confucian Pragmatism—sheds much light in the fields of education, educational philosophy and practice, and comparative philosophical and cultural communication in general. And in so doing, Hale provides a holistic template which is very meaningful and highly relevant in today’s globalized world and the challenges we all face, culturally, economically, and environmentally."

Haiming Wen Professor of Philosophy, Renmin University of China, Beijing

"This short book, 149 pages (including the index) is supplemented with 14 info-graphic charts that give a visual reinforcement of the author’s main points. These charts would make good presentation aids to anyone looking for a summary of the text in a class on comparative education, the influence of Dewey, or Chinese educational reforms."

Colin Everett, Ed.D Visiting Lecturer, Bridgewater State University Global Education Review, 4:1 (2017)

"The Chinese Continuum of Self-Cultivation: A Confucian-Deweyan Learning Model provides a very promising perspective to meet the challenge of the prevailing ideology of exclusive egoism, anthropocentrism, and rival competitive individualism in today’s globalized world. This book is a timely thinking project in the face of various global conflicts."

Huajun Zhang Beijing Normal University Frontier of Education in China, 11:4 (2016)

Buy This Book

ISBN: 1-4438-8525-8

ISBN13: 978-1-4438-8525-6

Release Date: 11th February 2016

Pages: 160

Price: £41.99

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