Images of Teachers in Contemporary Chinese Children’s Literature

Lijun Bi, Xiangshu Fang

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This paper examines the changing presentation of teachers in the post-Mao era. The image of teachers was almost sacred in traditional Confucian society until Mao Zedong launched China’s Cultural Revolution in 1966, when children were encouraged to use the pretext of class struggle to critique and even to attack their teachers. As such, restoring the high status of teachers in children’s literature became the first step in fighting against Maoist radicalism after his death in 1976. Since then, the internal logic of the development of literature has been shaped by the social movement of Openness and Reform and nurtured by a return of realist aesthetics. Meanwhile, Chinese society has also been changing rapidly, and so has the portrayal of teachers in stories for the young, which has become more diversified. Analysis of these changing images offers us an insight into China’s education system, as well as the use of Chinese children’s literature as a didactic tool for moral education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
JournalChildren's Literature in Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Chinese children’s literature
  • Image of teachers
  • Identity
  • Moral education in China
  • Literature and ideology in China

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