The number of Chinese students seeking to be educated in the West has received significant media attention in recent years, but what about the flipside? What will this mean for the further development of higher education institutions in modern China and for their influence with educators and students around the world?
Our colleges and universities aspire to help students to find what John Dewey called "the large and human significance" in their lives and work. This requires not just teaching to the test and not just parroting critiques. It requires learning to think with contexts and concepts, deploying cooperation and creativity.
Conformity, whether rationalized or simply imposed, undermines our government, our press, and our educational systems. We've had to learn some hard lessons about this in the last 10 years. Surely one of them is that we must defend diversity as a tool for innovation and for responsible decision-making.
We professors all too often believe that this is our job; to profess. Perhaps. But to be clear, this is not teaching. Let's at least call it what it is: the attempted transfer of information from one container into another. But that's a really problematic way to think about the classroom experience.