Confucius

Confucius

Confucius' Life Story

During the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period (770-221 BC), private education developed rapidly. It was very popular for scholars to give private lessons to selected groups of disciples. Confucius (551-479 BC), who is regarded as a great thinker and educator of ancient China, was a pioneer in running private schools.

Confucius was from a declining aristocratic family of the State of Lu, a centre of culture and private education at the time. His father died when he was only three years old. Though poor and humble during his childhood, Confucius was determined to become a learned person. After working as a low-ranking official for several years, he then began his career as a teacher around the age of thirty. He set up his own study halls and gave private lessons. As what he taught met the needs of the time and his teaching methods were effective, he gradually gained fame. He eventually accrued around three thousand disciples altogether, of whom 72 became proficient in the "six arts." Confucius made great contributions to the education of ancient China. He invented the elicitation method nearly one hundred years before Socratic dialogue emerged and was the first to challenge the spoon-feeding method of teaching. He advocated equality between teacher and student and encouraged students to form opinions of their own. His idea of teaching according to the student's aptitude is still regarded as an important educational principle in China today.

Confucius' Great Works

The Twelve Classics

    • The Book of Changes
    • The Book of Songs
    • The Book of History
    • Account of the Tites of the Zhou Dynasty
    • The Book of Ceremony
    • The Book of Rites
    • Gongyang's Commentary on Spring and Autumn Annals
    • Guliang's Commentary on Spring and Autumn Annals
    • Zuo Qiuming's Commentary on Spring and Autumn Annals
    • The Analects of Confucius
    • The Erya
    • The Canon of Filial Piety

The Four Books

    • The Great Learning
    • The Doctrine of the Mean
    • The Analects of Confucius
    • Mencius

The Five Classics

    • The Book of Songs
    • The Book of History
    • The Book of Rites
    • The Book of Changes
    • The Book of the Spring and Autumn Annals

Revised June 13, 2011