This chapter looks at higher education in the Neo-Confucian paradigm. Neo-Confucian academy pedagogy was intentionally designed to focus the students’ learning much less on the teacher’s knowledge and more on the students’ interaction with the classical texts. In other words, Confucius, Zengzi and Zisi (the assumed authors of the Great Learning and the Mean, respectively), Mencius, and Yan Hui—the latter the most accomplished disciple in the Analects—were the real teachers. Following several years of basic schooling, the (roughly) three years a student typically spent at a Confucian academy should have allowed him to find his own moral voice. This voice became his own through the combination of study and interpersonal practice. Each student in an academy took his stand in tutorials and on essay questions so regularly that all students had ample training in how to continue as independent learners for life.
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