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The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 29–44 | Cite as

‘Wishing for dragon children’: ironies and contradictions in China’s education reform and the chinese diaspora’s disappointments with australian education

  • Jianguo Wu
  • Michael Singh
Article

Abstract

This paper argues that the re-traditionalisation of ‘wishing for dragon children’ creates difficulties for China’s current education reforms and informs the disquiet expressed by Chinese-Australians about Australian education. We develop this argument around three key propositions. First, we explore Confucianism and the civil service examination system in ancient China to situate the expectation of ‘wishing for dragon children’ historically. Second, we show that processes of re-traditionalisation exercise considerable vitality in modern China. They were used by Chinese Communist authorities for political control, and they now interrupt the de-traditionalising ‘Quality Education’ reforms. Third, we show that the re-traditionalisation of diasporic Chinese-Australians is evident in their negotiations with Australian education around their desires for ‘dragon children’. Parental ‘wishing for dragon children’ hinders or deflects China’s education reforms and subtly affects education in Australia. How to understand, judge and act on the problems of re-traditionalisation and de-traditionalisation remain significant concerns for educational research.

Keywords

Multicultural Education Garland Publishing Australian Education Xinhua News Agency Civil Service Examination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Australian Association for Research in Education 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianguo Wu
    • 1
  • Michael Singh
    • 2
  1. 1.RMITAustralia
  2. 2.University of Western SydneyAustralia

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