The narrative of the Junzi as an exemplar in classical confucianism and its implications for moral and character education

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Abstract

There have been questions that are directed toward the outcome of using an exemplar in moral and character education. Meanwhile, the role of the narrative in the context of moral and character education has often been viewed as being didactic and being used to indoctrinate moral lessons only. On the other hand, some scholars have also attempted to explore the significances of the exemplar and the narrative for moral and character education. In classical Confucianism, the exemplar refers to the Junzi. Moreover, there were many narratives concerning the lives of the exemplars mentioned by Confucius, Mencius and Xunzi for their students to emulate and aspire to. This paper argues that the utilization of the exemplar and the narrative in classical Confucianism can offer us another perspective for conducting moral and character education. This paper firstly illustrates the notion of the Junzi as an exemplar in classical Confucianism. Then, it explores the role of the narrative of the Junzi as an exemplar in classical Confucianism. Lastly, it discusses its four implications for moral and character education, comprising: (1) assisting students to discover the commonality of their exemplars and themselves as the starting point to emulate their exemplars; (2) helping students to build their morality and character through their interaction with ‘many others;’ (3) guiding students to create a proper narrative of themselves to form an integrative view of their lives; and (4) emphasizing the exemplary function of the teacher in moral and character education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-643
Number of pages10
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Volume53
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Classical confucianism
  • Junzi
  • exemplar
  • moral and character education
  • narrative

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