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  Chinese Way>Life

The Confucius connection

2011-01-29 09:40:40

(China Daily European Weekly)) By Xiao Xiangyi



Students learn the unique tea ceremony at a classroom in Tongxueguan, Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province. Provided to China Daily

Ancient sage's wisdom helps Chinese students prepare for a more modern, global future

Bundled in gray robes and seated on round red cushions, dozens of children in a Wuhan classroom are chanting the old Confucian analect, "By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart" on a typically cold Saturday morning.

Wafts of music emanate from ancient Chinese zithers in the next classroom as students learn the ancient and unique tea ceremony from teachers. Students are also seen practicing calligraphy on rice paper or playing blindfold chess in groups.

It was as if time has stood still many centuries ago. The rumble of traffic and honking of horns from the nearby streets, however, puts things in a more modern perspective.

Children, mostly three to six years old, are flocking to schools on weekends to learn the teachings of the ancient sage Confucius and other interesting facets of traditional Chinese culture.

Nothing dominates the learning experience here like Confucius. Students bow to portraits of "Grandpa Confucius" on the walls before classes and regard him as the "teacher of all teachers."

In China, "old is gold" is best exemplified by the growing popularity of Confucian schools. The schools aim to train students to delve into the rich legacy of the past for solutions to modern day problems.

Tongxueguan, in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei province is considered to the pioneer of the Confucian revival in classrooms. Till date, nearly 20,000 students have attended classes in more than 20 branches of the school in cities as diverse as Shenzhen, Nanning, Kunming and Dalian.

"We try to combine traditional Chinese culture and the best Western educational practices in our curriculum," says Li Guangbin, headmaster of Tongxueguan.

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