(Please fill out this survey if you have not yet; this survey began back in the summer at the old blog, manyulim.wordpress.com. It has been moved up to the front per request from Minh Nguyen — see below.):
Minh Nguyen, who is on the APA Committee on the Status of Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies, is working on a report for that committee on teaching Chinese philosophy. Minh would like to survey anyone who teaches the subject, and collect some data for the report. Here is his request and below it, the survey itself. The survey is being collected via Minh’s email; I imagine the easiest thing to do would be to cut and paste the survey into an email or doc and answer each question therein. Send him your thoughts!
Minh Nguyen writes:
I am scheduled to write a report for the American Philosophical Association Committee on the Status of Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies. The subject is: the challenges and rewards of teaching Chinese philosophy.
Teaching Chinese philosophy to Western students can be very challenging. It would be fruitful to explore such challenges and discuss how they can be overcome. Any suggestions concerning teaching techniques, classroom strategies, and/or instructional materials would be helpful. Additionally, any information concerning the benefits of teaching and learning Chinese philosophy would be useful to members of our profession.
In order to collect the relevant data for the report, I’d like to conduct a survey on these matters. Below please find the survey. Would you kindly complete the survey and return it to me at Minh.Nguyen@eku.edu?
Thank you very much for your assistance. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a pleasant and productive summer.
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Eastern Kentucky University
Member, APA Committee on the Status of Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies
TEACHING CHINESE PHILOSOPHY SURVEY
Prepared for a Report for the American Philosophical Association Committee on the Status of Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies
Please send your responses to Minh Nguyen at Minh.Nguyen@eku.edu
1. What are the challenges that you have faced in teaching Chinese philosophy to Western students? Please be specific and detailed.
2. With respect to the challenges that you have succeeded in overcoming, how did you do it? Please specify any teaching techniques (active learning, group work, role playing, etc.) and/or classroom strategies (problem solving, case studies, background reports, etc.) that worked for you.
3. With respect to the challenges that you have yet to overcome, why do they seem so intractable?
4. In “How to Add Chinese Philosophy to Your Introductory Course,” Bryan W. Van Norden writes:
But instead of either Confucius or Laozi [or Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) or Han Feizi (Han Fei Tzu)], I recommend five philosophers for your introductory classes: Mozi (Mo Tzu), an agent-neutral consequentialist, Yang Zhu (Yang Chu), an egoist, Mengzi (Mencius), a Confucian virtue ethician, Gongsun Longzi (Kung-sun Lung Tzu), the author of a sophistical dialogue, and Xunzi (Hsun Tzu), a Confucian virtue ethician who was a critic of Mengzi.
In the context of this essay, “introductory course” and “introductory class” refer to introductory course and introductory class in philosophy that do not focus on Chinese thought. Do you agree with Van Norden? Why or why not?
5. Assuming that Van Norden is right, what is it about the work of Confucius, Laozi, Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu), or Han Feizi (Han Fei Tzu) that makes the task of teaching it to Western students so challenging?
6. If you are to teach an undergraduate course introducing Chinese philosophy to Western students, what will be the course objectives? What will be the student learning outcomes? (Course objectives correspond to what the instructor will do in the course. Student learning outcomes correspond to what successful students will learn in the course.)
7. Would you recommend any instructional materials (books, software, Web-based resources, etc.) for an undergraduate course introducing Chinese philosophy to Western students?
8. What are the rewards of teaching Chinese philosophy for you? And for your department?
9. What are the rewards of learning Chinese philosophy for you? And for your students?
10. Would you recommend any research (books, articles, reports, etc.) on any of the subjects that we have covered, especially research on the challenges of teaching Chinese philosophy to Western students?