Seeking moral autonomy in a Chinese context: A study of elementary moral education standards

Lena Lee, Thomas Misco


In this article, we explored Chinese moral education standards for grades one and two by using the heuristic of moral autonomy by employing a typology of moral autonomy, one based on Kantian and Deweyan ideas about moral autonomy and agency. Given the larger charge for all of schooling to develop independence, problem-solving, and creativity in China, we sought to determine whether this change is actually the case within the 2011 Chinese moral education standards for grades one and two, for the period of 2011-2020. Although some elements of moral autonomy are stated and suggested in the standard learning objectives, there are significant discrepancies between ultimate goals of education for children’s development of autonomy and their practices and implementation within these Chinese moral education curriculum standards.


China; moral education; moral autonomy

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