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Grade 4 Field Trip: Temple of Confucius


Grade 4 Field Trip: Temple of Confucius

As a world famous philosopher and educator from China, Confucius has had a profound influence on the values of individuals, society, and the world through his speech, behavior, and beliefs eponymously called, “Confucianism,” that he advocated. Wén, xíng, zhōng, xìn, which make up the BCIS Philosophy, also follow the essence of Confucianism and develop it into various aspects: knowledge gained from diverse perspectives; respect for one’s self and others; as well as cultural understanding and linguistic diversity of China’s uniqueness. Every year, Grade 4 students visit the Confucius Temple to help them gain a better understanding of the great thinker, his thoughts, and powerful influence on future generations.

The Analects: Reading, Tasting, and Exploring
The Analects is the oldest record of Confucius’ life and ideas, heavily influencing China’s view of the world. It is said that the meanings inside the book are only revealed to people after they have read it dozens of times. Our Grade 4 students first studied Confucius through a video they watched in their Chinese class before visiting the temple. To help them further understand the man’s teachings, they also learned several of his quotations. The students’ Chinese teacher created two categories, ancient prose and modern Chinese language, to express the same quotations and break down their meanings for the children. Each student received one saying by Confucius on paper. Next, they needed to find a partner and combine their two different expressions. They had to read and explain these in their own words, which afterwards other students with the official translations in modern Chinese language would reveal these. Finally, they would all dig out the meanings behind the words together, and in the process become experts able to explain the analects utilizing examples in their lives.

“Sān rén xíng bì yǒu wǒ shī yān; zé qí shàn zhě ér cóng zhī, qí bú shàn zhě ér gǎi zhī,” which roughly translates to “Everyone can learn from the people around them, absorbing the essence of learning and abandoning their weaknesses,” is an example of the Analects students took into consideration. One said, "I am good at cutting paper, and you are good at drawing. We can learn from each other and everyone can gain a new skill.” Inquiry is naturally linked with learning and life. Under the guidance of their Chinese teacher, it was surprising to find the Grade 4 students jump out of the box and use their own words and examples to paraphrase the teachings of Confucius without being confined to one literature style. Such teaching and learning methods certainly make it easier for them to understand the philosopher’s sayings, which is indeed a challenge for middle school students.

Temple Tour: Experiencing the Essence of China Culture
When touring the temple, Ms. Michelle Zhang, BCIS Chinese Teacher, taught students how to greet people (Fù sh ǒu lì - a greeting meaning hello) the way it was done during Confucius’ time. By putting their two hands before their chest (ladies: right hand upon the left; gentlemen: left upon right), they greeted the statue of Confucius, which is how people showed their respect to each other in ancient times. All students imitated what the teacher did and looked at each other to ensure their friends posed correctly. Afterwards, they officially and respectably greeted Confucius, showing their admiration and veneration. Afterwards, all the students moved in front of the main hall, the Hall of Great Achievement, where an old tree that is twisted and entwined with a huge bulge upon its trunk resembling a cap from the past, stood. At this moment, Ms. Zhang mentioned in the Ming dynasty, there was a high ranking official named Yan Song who did not work in a responsible and diligent manner, and was also not kind or respectful to others in his government. One day, on behalf of the Emperor, he went to worship Confucius at the temple. As he was paying his respect, his cap was suddenly blown away by a strong breeze. This incident had a profound meaning since at the time, to have one’s cap off meant that a person was “fired” from their job. Later on, Chinese people came to consider the tree as spiritual and intelligent, possessing the ability to tell right and wrong. Therefore, this story warned people, particularly governmental officials in later dynasties, to work industriously and care for the masses. For the children, this anecdote helped them recognize the good qualities and right values people need to have in the world to be upright citizens. The students were later ushered into the hall to learn more on the development of Confucius’ ideals in China’s history, as well as the importance and influence of his theories and teachings by looking and investigating different plaques and articles inside.

After a very educational day outside the classroom, the children returned to school and made posters that included either a brief introduction about Confucius or one of his significant events to share with each other. One group of students talked about the importance of Confucius running schools to allow more people to become educated. This showed the students that everyone in this world is equal and has the right to be educated and respected. This exercise also helped them to communicate with their classmates, teachers, and parents more efficiently.

We hope all our students, no matter their backgrounds, follow the BCIS mission and vision influenced by Confucius, acting as members of our inclusive school that offers a model cosmopolitan education.


BCIS is accredited by the CIS (Council of International Schools) and WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), which demonstrates that the school meets demanding international standards in all the areas of philosophy and objectives, curriculum, governance and management, staff, student support services, resources, and student and community life.Visit www.cois.org and www.acswasc.org for more information.

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation, motivated by its mission, focused on the student. The three programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Founded in 1968, IBO currently works with 2,771 schools in 138 countries to develop and offer three challenging programmes to over 763,000 students aged 3 to 19 years.Visit www.ibo.org for more information.

We live by a spirit of inspiring others, achieving ones goals and creating a better world.

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