The Origin of Yang Fangling’s “5-Dimension Education” Thoughts


Yang Fangling’s education thought of “5-dimension education” is worth deeply exploring. “5-dimension education” with teaching as center accurately expresses that it is not “morality, intelligence, physique, aesthetics and labor” but “morality, intelligence, physique, aesthetics and group”, which means it is not “moral education”, “intellectual education”, “physical education”, “aesthetic education”, “labor education”, but “moral education”, “intellectual education”, “physical education”, “aesthetic education”, “group education”. “Labor education” sets up the concept of labor to participate in productive labor, and cultivate the feelings of the working people, and the characteristics of the times input for Friends High School education in the period of Chongqing No. 5 middle school. “5-dimension education” includes every aspect in Friends High School, with rich and complex content. “5-dimension education” is the source for the original connotation full of vitality, and is concerned with school-running goals and practice of Chinese Christian church school.

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Zhao, X. and Tao, Y. (2016) The Origin of Yang Fangling’s “5-Dimension Education” Thoughts. Advances in Journalism and Communication, 4, 43-54. doi: 10.4236/ajc.2016.41005.

Received 26 February 2016; accepted 25 March 2016; published 29 March 2016

1. Introduction

Friends High School has a long history over 100 years. It was closely related with the local education of Chongqing since Chongqing opened the commercial port (1981). It is an important part of local education in Chongqing. In 1925, Yang Fangling presided over Friends High School, immediately applying for the government to approve the church school Friends High School as Chongqing private Friends High School. The change of education system is fundamental. In short, changing from church service school with strong religious color to the national service school with secular popularity cannot be integrated by the education ontology, and it is quite hard to realize. Of these, Yang Fangling’s education thought of “5-dimension education” is worth deeply exploring. “5-dimension education” includes every aspect in Friends High School, with rich and complex content. This article makes efforts to explore “5-dimension education” as a tradition of Friends High School is the source for the original connotation full of vitality.

2. The Emergence Background of Yang Fangling’s “5-Dimension Education” Thoughts

Through reviewing modern historical materials about Chongqing education, the great influence of protestant Christianity on the Chinese modern education, medicine and media development leaves a deep impression on people. Pingyang Nanfung Christian church once listed “timeline of Chinese protestant Christianity historical events”, which starts “in 635, the 9th year of emperor Taizong dynasty, and Nestorianism was introduced into China” to describe history, and then “in 1937, Liu Zhan’en was chairman of the Chinese Christian relief committee, head of the anti-Japanese association of universities in Shanghai, organized ‘dinner party on Tuesday’ with Jin Yaozong, Chen Heqin and other patriotic people”. In the 1930s, churches paid more attention to each other’s solidarity and unity as well as localization initiative, and stressed autonomy, autotrophy and autobiography; this period is also the hard times when Japan and other foreign aggression was against China, the Christians and the China people were unified to be in the great patriotic torrent of saving the nation”1, which is the last one historical overview. Compared with the key time node of Christianity spread in China in “General History of China” (Bai Shouyi, 1999) , and related history description in “History of Chinese Christianity” (Luo Weihong, 2014) , the above “timeline of protestant history” is highly reliable. At the same time, there are two books that can be taken as reference.

One book was published in May, 1996, Shanghai, namely, “Christianity and modern Chinese society” written by Gu Weimin. It illustrates the events from AD 635 to 1949, and the key part is focused on the protestant history from the time when Morrison entered China to the period of the republic of China. “The characteristic is that it illustrates the Chinese church history from the perspective of social history, pays attention to the localization movement of protestant and the Chinese movement of Catholic, and it is the important study of the history of Christianity spreading in China. It can be regarded as general history of Christianity in China” (Chen Jianming, 2005) .

The other is “history of the Chinese protestant: the essence of Christianity” written by a Japanese scholar Yamamoto, published in 2000, Tokyo. The first part of the work introduces “the growth history of the protestant churches of China” in 1807-1980, with the following five chapters: 1) a brief history of protestant into China (1807-1906); 2) church autonomy and joint movement (1907-1921); 3) Christian sinicization movement (1922-1927); 4) Christian and social change (1928-1937); 5) the church in the People’s Republic of China. The second part is “knowledge-based tendency of Chinese Christian leaders”, which is also of great literature value.

The book written by Japanese scholar Yamamoto has important value to know religious cultural transformation background when President Yang Fangling principal prepared Friends High School, and political and cultural changed in modern China. President Yang Fangling was assigned by Sichuan Society of Friends to the title of the president of Chongqing Friends High School, a church school in 1925, namely, in the climax of Christian sinicization movement, and President Yang was a devout Christian in the whole life.

For modern Christian sinicization movement, the religious scholar’s work “the reflection of localization movement―the relationship between Christianity and Chinese culture”2 shows the following comments:

“In the 1920s, the Chinese church took ‘localization movement’, or ‘indigenization movement’. Chinese Christian national conference held in Shanghai in 1922 officially proposed the slogan of setting up Indigenous Church and promoted Chinese Christian, which gradually realized the sinicization in the form, organization and ideology. For example, the church architecture, painting, sculpture was nationalized, and Chinese tunes and the praise poetry created by Chinese were used in the liturgy. Some Christian scholars, such as Wu Leichuan, Zhao Zihuan, Liu Tingfang, etc., also published the articles and books about Christianity and Chinese culture, and some make efforts to explore the integration of Christianity and Confucianism. They were trying to express the Christian faith in the concept and form of Chinese traditional culture, so as to achieve the Christian indigenization, contextualization, sinicization, and make it not foreign religion, but rooted in the Chinese soil to truly establish China’s own church. Although the movement did not realize the task of the real indigenization of Chinese church, various ideas and practices of combing Christian and Chinese national culture provide experience and lessons for us to discuss the Chinese church contextualization problems, especially to strengthen the construction of theology, as well as how to further think about relationship between Christianity and Chinese cultural problems”. The author thinks this article is the interpretation of “On Christianity Ideological Trend and Chinese church localization movement” by Yang Jianlong.

The Christian scholar Zhao Zihuan, in “several opinions of creating the Christian church in China”, deals with the basic ideas of the sinicization of Christianity: “religion is the important factor of culture, so it must be integrated with the permanent Chinese culture factors, such as beauty, art, music, composition, philosophy, religion, and experience, etc. This cannot be achieved overnight, nor made easily, because China’s Christianity must not be a mixture of substances, but the compound of spiritual life. In my opinion, I think that, in the future, Christianity may get part of a religious explanation way from the natural experience, thought, ethics and mysterious philosophy” (Yang Jianlong, 2010) .

In 1925, the climax of modern Christianity sinicization movement, President Yang Fangling presided over Friends High School, immediately applying for the government to approve the church school Friends High School as Chongqing private Friends High School. This action is of great significance for Yang Fangling, a devout Christian, to realize individual lifelong ambition of using education to save the nation. From a church school system to private school system, the change of education system is fundamental. In short, changing from church service school with strong religious color to the national service school with secular popularity cannot be integrated by the education ontology, and it is quite hard to realize the concept change from “heaven” to “ground”. And at that time, the system transformation act had the comprehensive rules, and generally it was hard to achieve standard. Ministry of education of Beiyang government issued the church school act respectively in 1917, 1920 and 1921, and in Chongqing region, there was the war against Yuan Shikai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Uuizhou warlords and internal struggle of Sichuan army, which caused the chaos “wars were consistent with damage, education was destroyed; political tide involved the students”3. The various regulations for the conversion of the church school, in fact, were shelved. In 1923 Yang Fangling from the UK clearly knew the the difficulty of church school education at that time. Ministry of education of Beiyang government regulated the main content of the church school in the “instructions” issued in 1921, and there are six specific requirements:

1) The name of school should be title with the word “private”.

2) Middle school should be operated in accordance with middle school regulation and implementation procedure of middle school regulation.

3) The subject and curriculum standard of middle school should be followed. If there are changes, it should show reason and submit to the provincial education bureau for approval. But Chinese, Chinese history and Chinese geography cannot be applied for change.

4) The subject content and teaching method should have the nature of religious spreading.

5) For students, no matter whether they believe in religion or not, they should be treated equally.

6) Those violating the above rules cannot be legislated. For those that have been legislated, if they change, the legislation will be concealed (Zhu Youxian & Gao Shiliang, 1993) .

“Private school regulations” issued by ministry of education of Beiyang government also made special provisions for the church school, for example, private school principals should be Chinese, the religious subjects cannot be required, religious propaganda shall not be in class, the students should not be forced to take part in religious ceremonies, etc.

The belief in education regularity made Friends High School operated by Yang Fangling on the right track soon. It was legislated to change as a junior high school in 1925 with a primary school; the senior high school was set in 1935, and in 1937 it was legislated to be complete high school (according to the archives of “original Chongqing private Friends High School). It was thanks to the education belief of the president on the one hand, and on the other hand, it was due to his recognition and application by learning the experience and studying in church middle school and university. For example, “special position and purpose of Christian high school” comprehensively interprets the recognition of church for the special value of middle school education: “in the current Christian education career, Christian middle school is one of the most important parts. The middle school students are generally young men and women, and their major problems of life are determined during this period, such as the choice of career, personal habit and attitude, teachers, schools, churches, and belief or abandoning Christianity are all made at this time. The effects of secondary school education and in most of the medium society, the medium social people are those the church develops effectively. The outstanding leaders in society are not made in high school, but the majority of the strong Christian social maintainers are calculated by the middle school” (Li Chucai, 1993) . Church educator, John Stuart, has the unique judgment on the importance of the Chinese middle school education:

“The period of middle school is the most important period in life, because formation of personality, regulation of life value, confirmation of religious belief, development of moral attitude is all achieved in middle school. The greatest need of China’s education is not higher education, but elementary and secondary education” (Li Chucai, 1993) .

The alumni of Friends High School, Li Tianshou made the comment on the education of Friends High School: “I think, the school that is not missed by students is not a good school. I came to Chongqing Nan’an middle school for study in later period of anti-Japanese war, from grade 2 of middle school to graduation in senior high school. Now I have been away from the school for 42 years, however, I have often missed the school” (Friends High School Alumni Association, 2010) . This kind of feeling on Friends High School, from a certain side, seems to confirm the view of the church educator John Leighton Stuart. In “Good tradition of Friends High School education”, Li Tianshou started with the feeling for the school, and explored the most valuable aspects of Friends High School education with the causes, in general, it takes “teaching as the center to make the school education activities develop in comprehensive, coordinated way... because the school’s teaching includes 5-dimension education on the one hand; on the other hand, moral, intellectual, physical, aesthetic and labor education are mutually linked. Especially, moral education as the leading one has closer relation with intellectual education. The intellectual education helps to master the basic knowledge, with the close relationship with intelligence development. How to comprehensively achieve them depends on teaching to realize” (Friends High School Alumni Association, 2010) . Friends High School formed the good tradition of “5-dimension education”, “Yang Fangling as the president and Wu Ziling as the dean of studies have their outstanding contributions” (Friends High School Alumni Association, 2010).

Friends High School’s “5-dimension education” with teaching as center accurately expresses that it is not “morality, intelligence, physique, aesthetics and labor” but “morality, intelligence, physique, aesthetics and group”, which means it is not “moral education”, “intellectual education”, “physical education”, “aesthetic education”, “labor education”, but “moral education”, “intellectual education”, “physical education”, “aesthetic education”, “group education”. “Labor education” sets up the concept of labor to participate in productive labor, and cultivate the feelings of the working people, and the characteristics of the times input for Friends High School education in the period of Chongqing No. 5 middle school. The alumnus of Friends High School, the original chairman of Chongqing music association said: “at that time, Yang Fangling’s principle to run a school is to implement “5-dimension education”, which refers to “morality, intelligence, physique, group and aesthetics” (there is no essential difference from “5-dimension education” put forward after the founding of China, namely, morality, intelligence, physique, aesthetics and labor). The content of the “5-dimension education” is numerous (Yang Boyong, 2004) . “5-dimension education” includes every aspect in Friends High School, with rich and complex content; at the same time, we should make great efforts to explore “5-dimension education” as a tradition of Friends High School for hundreds of years is the source for the original connotation full of vitality.

3. The Source of Yang Fangling’s “5-Dimension Education” Thoughts

After President Yang Fangling received the formative education of traditional Chinese in the old-style private school, he received the education in church school from middle school period to university period, and then went to study in University of Birmingham, U. K. with the close relation with British Society of Friends, or he could be regarded as the Chinese education talent specially calculated by British Society of Friends. To know British Society of Friends, it is necessary to know the protestant founder of British Society of Friends (namely Quakers) George Fox (1629-1691) firstly. Through searching the related materials of Quakers4, the following three aspects are more important, which can be learned to explore the document retrieval direction of British Society of Friends.

1) Quakers (general name), also called the Religious Society of Friends (formal name), became popular in Britain and other American colonies in the middle of the 17th century. Its founder is George Fox. “Quakers” means thriller. Quakers is characterized by not having written creeds and doctrines. Initially, it had no professional priest, no sacrament or festival, but directly depended on the inspirations of the holly to guide the follower’s religious activities and social life. It was always characterized by mysticism. Due to “doctrine depressing and loneliness, Society of Friends had tended to decline since the 19th century in Britain, but got development in America. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was divided into three major church groups. Its international organization is Friends World Committee for Consultation which was founded in London in 1937 and whose headquarters is located in Birmingham, U.K., with branches in many countries all over the world.

2) Religion. Although the people often regard it as a Christian denomination, not all its followers treat themselves as Christian, “just because the movement in the history contains a lot of Christianity elements, and some people would rather treat themselves as an ordinary member of religion”. Tolerance becomes one of ways of life for Quaker. So, Quaker believers are “willing to learn with all the other beliefs and churches”.

One of the features of faith is that each has inner light, which is a Seed and the Spirit of Christ, so people “have the ability to use this light and seed to identify the truth, closer to god, to get the correct guide of life; thus, the church emphasizes good factor in human nature, and does not notice the theory of original sin”.

The second feature of faith is that individual believers can directly contact with god, without any mediation, including the church. It holds “the bible is not all god enlightenment for human”, “the latest enlightenment is the ‘inner light’ of the believers” so as to “obtain the direct experience of god.”

3) Condition in China. It was introduced to China in the late 19th century. The missionary society introduced from Britain is called Society of Friends, and the missionary society introduced from America is called Quakers. In February, 1892, British London Christian Society of Friends created Friends High School (the predecessor of Friends High School) in Daliangzi, Chongqing (currently Xinhua Road, Yuzhong District). In 1899, the Sichuan missionary conference was firstly held in Chongqing, and the representatives from seven churches and American, British, Scottish bible societies attended it. The conference determined to establish “West China Consulting Office”, distributed to propaganda and education area of all Christian churches in Sichuan, and only Chengdu and Chongqing were public propaganda and education areas. In 1907, With Methodist Episcopal Church and Methodist Mission, it created West China Union University in Chengdu.

The above materials about Society of Friends are helpful for the research on the connotation of President Yang Fangling’s Christian belief. In the period of middle school, he studied in Friends High School, and got appreciation of Society of Friends. In senior high school, he graduated, whose grade was top 1 in Friends High School, and was recommended for the admission of Shanghai Saint John’s University by Sichuan Society of Friends. After graduation, he was recommended for the admission of University of Birmingham to study education by Sichuan Society of Friends. He was promoted to the famous church university in Birmingham where the headquarters of Society of Friends was located from the church school titled as “eastern Harvard”. In 1923, his study would be finished, and accepted the appointment of Sichuan Society of Friends in a hurry to go back to Friends High School to teach and manage teaching. Such simple and clear personal profile indicates Yang Fangling’s “5-dimension Education” Thoughts were gradually formulated in the process of receiving education in church school with the “escort” of Society of Friends. It is the source, directly referring to the education system of church school.

Hu Weiqing, in “universalism challenge―research on Christian Education in modern China (1877-1927)”, put forward “universalism” is the recognition of the essence of Christian religious culture spread in China in the modern times: “universalism as a historical movement is the stronger history unity reflected in the human activities to get out of distributed, isolated state. As a thought exercise, it refers to constantly deepening belief on the consistency of human, and it tries to establish a set of common and unified criterion”. And “modern Christianity spread in China essentially is the part of the worldwide universalism movement, and the Christian education is a method and tool to practice universalism”. In 1877, in Shanghai conference, the protestant missionary in China and the American Presbyterian Calvin Wilson Mateer priest declared “Relationship between Christian church and education, of which the purpose is quite clear. He said the objective of church school was “to undertake intelligent, moral and religious education for students, not only making them convert to god, but also making them become the effective power to defend and promote the truth career after they believe in god”. He thought the western civilization and the progress trend was rushing into China, if a devout Christian was not ready to control and guide the reform, it would be controlled by heretics or people who were not religious. Science and art and material improvement would be controlled by Christian enemy who would use it as a powerful weapon to hinder the further development of truth and justice. Science became either religious ally, or the most dangerous religious enemy. The opportunity of the Christian church lied in cultivating talents who could take Christian truth to lead the great spiritual and material reform.” Cultivating Christian talents was the main aim of Christian church school education, requires the union of intellectual education, moral education, religious education. But as Hu Weiqing pointed out, “universalism” impulse of Christian education in modern China, the church school education goal with the union of intellectual education, moral education, religious education suffered the great hit in the non-Christian movement in China at the beginning of 1920s because of the special reinforcement of religious education. By searching the archives of Chongqing Private Friends High School in 1919-1924, the main curriculum arrangement of Friends High School in 1919, 1920, 1920 is as follows:

1919: cultivating one’s morality, bible, history, composition, penmanship, English, math, algebra, image, geography;

1920: cultivating one’s morality, Confucian classics, Chinese, history, composition, English, math, algebra, geometry, geography;

1921: bible, history, composition, Chinese, English, math, algebra, image, geography and physiology;

For the curriculum after 1923, there was no the subject of bible, replaced by “cultivating one’s morality”. At this time, Yang Fangling had come back to China from Britain to manage the teaching affairs of Friends High School. His understanding of the education objective of the church school played an important role. Meanwhile, the non-Christian movement in China was preparing: in 1923, the Chinese famous educator, Yu Jiaju, published “Problems of Church Education”, showing “church education is aggressive”, “church education influences the unification of Chinese traditional education” and calling that the educational sovereignty must be retrieved so that there was a nationalism movement in society. In 1924, students from all schools in Shanghai unified to form “non-Christian League”, and the huge non-Christian movement broke you in China.

Yang Fangling went to Shanghai St. John’s University of Shanghai in the fall of 1915 and took his undergraduate study there for four years, with excellent academic performance. In Friends High School, because of the age, the school education goal setting is not conscious, but in St. John’s University, the unique and distinctive church university education mode would certainly gave him an engraved impression. The “conclusion” part of “Primary Study on Chongqing church school education in modern times (1886-1952)” shows, “from the beginning, the church school has the double function of propaganda and education, and the reason is simple: Christianity is not the isolated system existing out of western society and culture. It not only has closely inseparable relationship with western culture, and in missionary view, the western culture is only an important part of Christian theology, and natural sciences, particularly mathematics and physics, are the necessity to train logical reasoning ability of religion believers. Therefore, natural science knowledge such as light electricity also accounted for an important position in the church school’s classroom. The missionary aimed to cultivate a group of religious people with high level and rich knowledge, and it had to start a church school in accordance with the law of education, systematically spread knowledge of western culture. This determines the church school inevitably exerted the education function of teaching some scientific knowledge in the meantime of performing its sermons function from the beginning, spreading modern western culture with the enlightenment significance to the modern Chinese society” (Tang Bouyou, 2009) . Or, you can think St. John’s University finally trained Yang Fangling to become a devout Christian, but most importantly, the western culture spread by St. John’s University inspired him to become a real educator.

If the church school is not only regarded as a “tool of imperialist culture invasion but noticed with its historical function as “the beginning of modern Chinese education”, it should accept the advice Mr. Zhao Rukun, first of all, the requirements for knowledge study on the recognition aspect should be paid attention to carefully distinguish “national sovereignty” and “culture spread” which are two different concepts with different connotations. “Cultural spread is the inevitable trend in the development of civilization. The purpose of cultural spread is to promote mutual communication and the overall development of the world culture. Any energetic culture can enrich and develop itself only by constantly communicating with other civilizations to learn useful ingredients. This kind of learning includes not only scientific knowledge, advanced ideas, but also other civilized values. Any self-sealing civilization is not likely to sustain its long-term development, which is the objective law that has been proved by the world civilization development history. The former Soviet Union scholar Goncharenko pointed: “the influence of culture and mutual influence is a common law. Each culture that existed in the past or exists currently inevitably influences other cultures. It is hard to imagine that, culture can be completely isolated from the influence of culture tide. Culture is characterized by diversity, and also has universality, which is the most fundamental and the most general thing of world culture. Generally speaking, culture does not have the distinction of being good or bad. The birth and development of any kind of culture has its rationality, not absolutely good or backward. So, the general result of cultural exchange is that each culture can acquire and make fusion with different cultures to form its own culture. Culture spread does not mean that a culture completely replaces another kind of culture, which is the general rule of cultural development” (Zhao Rukun, 2005) .

Based on different understanding on the law of culture spread, church educators have obvious differences in the education aim of church school. President Bu Fangji who managed the affairs of Saint John’s University for 55 years said that education was not only to obtain knowledge but also to promote “comprehensive development of human”. Bu Fangji was assigned to be president of the university in 1888, experiencing the period of the university transferring from college to university (1879-1905). In 26 years, it took “gradual improvement road”. From 1906 to 1925, Saint John’s University was in its golden age, “After being the university, its system gradually became perfect”. From 1925 to 1952, Saint John’s University experienced the “troubled times” in its history, such as “national flag event”, “legislation conflict” and “war chaos”. Yang Fangling entered Saint John’s University to study in 1915 when was the “golden age” with gradually improvement by President Bu Fangji.

The period when Yang Fangling received the four years’ undergraduate study (1915-1919) is just the period that the concept of President Bu Fangji on running a school began to formulate. The university was facilitated with “hard software”, which is an evident sign. In 1915, the library of Saint John’s University was established (begin to construct in 1913 that is the 25th anniversary of Bu Fangji as the university president); in 1917, the university gate was constructed; in 1918, new scientific hall was established with sponsor from Rockefeller Brothers Fund; in 1919, modern university gymnasium―F. CIEMENL COOPER was set up. The university was run full of vigor. The studies conclude that the characteristics of Saint John’s University have the following four aspects (Xiong Yuezhi & Zhou Wu, 2007) , which have positive influence on Yang Fangling to operate Friends High School and form “5-dimension education” after coming back from Britain.

1) “The abundance of life, the cultivation of personality”, small-scale and non-professional school education philosophy. Church school is the place that students go to study, and should be full of full-bodied Christian family atmosphere. Teachers and students not only meet in the classroom, but also establish and keep close and frequent contact in extracurricular time and space, such as academic discussion, holding all kinds of extracurricular activities, and even having parties at the homes of resident faculty regularly or irregularly. In this way, school size and the number of students are too large, or it may affect the directness and closeness of the mutual relationship between teachers and students. For this, “Fifty Years’ History of St John’s University” particularly mentions: “it holds rigorism to recruit new students. Therefore, the number of cannot be more than 400; the number of middle school students may not be over 250. The number is less, and then the contact between teachers and students is more frequent, the more knowledge increases more quickly. This kind of university certainly has more contributions to China.” Bu Fangji directly said: “we must not let our university develop too largely, so as to sacrifice the important impact on students. Our aim is that smaller school ensures the quality, not for quantity” (Marry, 2005) .

Non-occupational school orientation “deeply affects the pattern and atmosphere of St. John’s University”. President Bu Fangji thought, “the most important mission of education lies in “abundance of life” and “cultivation of personality”. He wrote in “John Sound”: “abundance of life means education is created to help others, and school educates people, it is not set for a living. Education should take the moral value as its total pivot. The more interests human has, the broader his mind is; the life is great and long... cultivation of personality means transcending personal desire of material and money... school is a small universe, and students are in it with the development of nature and noble personality” (Xiong Yuezhi & Zhou Wu, 2007) , not the path for them to be satisfied with the profession to earn money.

2) “Authentic English teaching”. English teaching is the strength of the church school. Led by Bu Fangji, St John’s University became “unswervingly doer”. President Bu Fangji said: “English as the powerful tool to spread new education is the key to introduce modern education to China. He cited the case of European Renaissance to illustrate the importance of English in China. The reason why the Renaissance took place is that the ancient Greek literature was input to the Europe. The reason for Japan to revive is that it adopted English as the medium to input western thought. The Chinese civilization has reached its zenith, and now begins to decline to death, thus it must give all the treasures of the west to China, to make its recovery. Chinese cannot be taken as medium. It cannot use the old bottle to take new win. Not mastering western language is impossible to grasp the western thought. He said that English was the medium of teaching. Modern science, mathematics, European history, economics, logic, new disciplines all adopted the textbooks in English” (Xiong Yuezhi & Zhou Wu, 2007) . “Fifty years’ history of St. John’s University (1819-1920)” specially quotes five kinds of benefits for Chinese to learn English, which was concluded by Bu Fangji: “1. as the western people study Latin and Greek, it can improve wisdom for Chinese to study English; 2. the study of English can wipe out the stereotype of Chinese exclusion; 3. the study of English by Chinese can improve the feelings of the things, and expand international trade; 4. the study of English can make Chinese clearly know Christian business aims to train talents with service for the society; 5. the study of English by Chinese at least is imperative in the treaty ports, and the church schools should take initiative”. So, on November 22, 1929, “John weekly” had such words: “the biggest sign for the distinctive feature of students in St. John’s University is their authentic English. The university is famous for it, and there is the reputation of “St. John’s English” in the society.

3) School characteristics with the combination of “general education, science education and physical education”. The editorial of St. John’s University, “John Sound” had published an article for this topic, saying: “the purpose of the school is to make students with a wide range of free education, to enable students to have a thorough study of English literature, and to teach them science, and make clear the truth, to enhance the human happiness. And more importantly, it aims to calculate the good character of students. This is the largest contribution to the Christian on this point, and must have more contributions for the development of Chinese education in the future. European modern civilization comes from schools. I hope China should have this situation” (Saint John’s University, 1997) . The researchers pointed out that general education and science education coordinate, to “develop students’ good character, as the especial of St. John’s, which fully embodies the purport of general education (currently). Chinese education changes from humanistic education to science education, and the displacement ignores the study of philosophy and culture subjects, becoming secular. This kind of education could not cultivate scholars dedicated to research work.”

And physical education was introduced to university campus, and St John’s University was the pioneer to lead such trend. In May, 1890, the sports meeting was held in St. John’s for the first time, and is the pioneer of “school sports meeting in China. Therefore, St. John’s became one of the top teams in the Shanghai school sports and the cradle of Chinese modern sports”. “Readme of Bu Fangji” has such kind of words: “when I proposed to carry out sports activities in school, I persuaded teachers and students to accept the need for these activities, and encountered great difficulty. This seems to be a radical innovation, because students are not in public gown, which is considered to beneath dignity. Fortunately, my Chinese secretary found that the young in ancient China also attended riding and shooting, and other games, which proves that our sports is only the recovery of old custom, and then problems were solved.” (Xiong Yuezhi & Zhou Wu, 2007)

4) “Colorful campus life and campus culture”. The famous alumnus of St. John’s University, Zhou Youguan commented the beauty of the campus, “at that time, the campus can compete with any beautiful campus in the world, not worse than them”. The moral, intellectual, physical, group and aesthetic education constructed for campus culture has special features. The comment from the editorial “John Weekly” (1923):

1) “as the most perfect and the most novel university at that time, its facilities are not only top-ranking, and it has more organizations held by students, with more active community activities, the journal set by students is prosperous, the campus atmosphere follows the west, the campus culture is colorful, and other universities cannot compete with it”.

2) “Sports is the “acknowledged leader” of eight eastern universities, John Nanyang football team is famous in the whole nation each year. All students do morning exercise for fifteen minutes every day, except the rainy and snowy days”.

3) “On the intellectual aspect, it has Chinese and English debate of six eastern universities, and students have literature debate meeting, novel association, economic study association, law and literature association, various thesis competitions. College students all join in them in addition to getting degree. In addition, there are famous lectures, English dram community, Chinese and Foreign drama community, boxing community, dancing community, etc.” (Literature review activity and campus drama activity have included aesthetic education).

4) “On the moral aspect, it has Young Men’s Christian Association. All religious students must read it, and the belief cannot be forced to take. Church and non-church students are treated equally without difference” (Xiong Yuezhi & Zhou Wu, 2007) .

The famous alumnus of St John’s University Li Chengji made a general comment on construction of campus culture with moral, intellectual, physical, aesthetic, group education: “the university was founded by American Episcopal church, to preach the doctrine, serve people, and contact feelings for the purpose, so extracurricular activities are rich and colorful, and there are dozens of types. Students have mental counseling, talents execution, and seldom have deviant and absurd behaviors. Student union is well-funded, with numerous talents, and is quite active and famous in Shanghai. Today, many alumni still keep unremitting style” (Li Chengji & Li Zhigang, 2000) .

4. The Analysis of Yang Fangling’s “5-Dimension Education” Thoughts

For the above quote that “on moral aspect, there is Young Men’s Christian Association” in “John weekly”, this is the information that needs to be particularly noticed. Here Young Men’s Christian Association refers to the Christian association in China. The earliest proposal and explanation of the so-called moral education, intellectual education, physical education and group education seems to originate from this.

In terms of the influence of Christianity on the modern Chinese social reform, American sinologist Fei Zhengqing mentioned one of the most influential institutions in China’s western education is Young Men’s Christian Association. He said: “from 1885 when the first director-general, David Willard Lyon, came to China to 1949, Young Men’s Christian Association had been the driving force of China’s reform of society. It had great influence on China’s political and social development, and there is no the same example in any other countries and regions”. In order to expand the influence of Young Men’s Christian Association, in 1917, the Chinese Young Men’s Christian Association merged “Youth” launched in 1909 and “Progress” founded in 1911, and changed its name to “Youth Progress”, as the official organ journal of Chinese Young Men’s Christian Association, with one piece each month, and the first issue was published in the same year.

Editor Fan Zimei had written the article to illustrate the meaning of the title of Youth Progress and its principle: “Youth Progress, of course, is to make young people progress. So, how can young people make progress? It must need the cultivation of the four types of virtue. Only by making progress in morality, intelligence, physical exercise, and collaboration spirit can young people make contributions to family, society and the nation. Our goal is to starts with a Christian standpoint to provide encouragement and guidance for them in the process of young people in the pursuit of progress. We don’t intend to provide radical or fashion advice to them, but to provide young people with some unbiased, objective advice... although we are consistently concerned about religion, were are not ready to make this publication as a religious publication; although we are consistently concerned about scientific topics, we are not ready to make it as a science journal, although we are consistently concerned about sports, we are not ready to make it as a sports magazine... we hope to cultivate youth with all-round development in terms of the four virtues” (Xiong Yuezhi & Zhou Wu, 2007) .

Moral education that “on moral aspect, there is Young Men’s Christian Association” is not only a common sense of moral education, but cultivation of “moral education” with four types of virtue. Four virtues, namely “moral, intellectual, physical, and collaboration spirit”, are to cultivate good moral consciousness, cultivate knowledge learning and diligence will, cultivate physical exercise habits, be willing to work with others in the cultivation of team spirit. According to historical records, in March, 1917, the first “Youth Progress” was published, with the total issue of 46975 volumes in the first nine months, and 52416 volumes in the second year, 1918. In China at that time, this was a great issue data, and we can see the influence of its domestic youth reading. The content setting of Youth Progress contains ten parts, and edited content is arranged with words as follows, so that the researchers understand:

Moral education―religion, ethics, philosophy and moral cultivation.

Intellectual education―politics, education and applied science.

Physical exercise―personal and public hygiene, game and sports.

Social service―interpersonal relationship, social custom and philanthropy.

Conference―purpose and activities of Young Men’s Christian Association.

Prayers―Christian doctrines and principle learning.

Communication―information of Young Men’s Christian Association in cities, Young Men’s Christian Association in schools, and world Young Men’s Christian Association.

Records―domestic and foreign events and discussion.

Miscellaneous group―various literature works, such as literature, notes, story and novel.

The overview about the content of “Youth Progress” clearly explains the “four virtues”: “moral education” is “religion, ethics, philosophy and moral cultivation”. “Intellectual education” is the study of science of politics, education and applied science; “physical exercise” is “personal and public hygiene, game and sports”; “group education” is “interpersonal relationship, social custom and philanthropy” involved in social service.

Compared with the written explanation of “four virtues” activity of Guangzhou Young Men’s Christian Association, the connotation of the “four virtues” in the church school should be further discussed. In “Instruction of Guangzhou Young Men’s Christian Association”, the principle of Young Men’s Christian Association is illustrated in details.

The association aims to contact the young man to make them mutually support, and emphasize moral education, intellectual education, physical education, group education, with the systematical progress.

The association stresses moral education, based on Christianity, and accommodates common morality, and for the foreign things, we will maintain but not damage with the mind to develop it to be perfect.

The association stresses intellectual education, focusing on the new to correct the old shortcomings with the combination of literature and quality, Chinese and western, to successfully develop wisdom.

The association stresses physical education, to develop the young with useful body to operate business, repay society, not limited to special sports, and struggle to win.

The association stresses group education to make all the young with the joy and recreational fun. The number of showing the bandits, and empathy and hence protect its inherent naive.

The association researches the above four factors, with the reasonable system to make the uniformity of progress, and to eliminate the partial disease (Lu Haibiao, 2007) .

In the first ten years in the new century, the domestic academic research of Chinese Young Men’s Christian Association made more and more positive comments on Young Men’s Christian Association, for example: “the Christian youth emerged in Britain in the middle of the nineteenth century, and was introduced to China in the end of the 19th century as American students volunteered to take overseas missionary movement. Chinese Young Men’s Christian Association follows the spirit of Christ to emphasize the contribution spirit of “not to be served, but to serve”, to advocate the moral, intellectual, physical, group education. In the transition of new and old culture, with the mixture of innovation and tradition, the western science and culture was introduced to China, to cultivate a large number of youth who benefit the nation and society” (Liu Zinan, 2005) .

But by reading literature, sometimes I think “4-dimension education” of Young Men’s Christian Association has differences from the “3-dimension” education St John’s University President Bu Fangji stressed the church school education goal. He said education “is not only to acquire knowledge”, but also to promote “person’s comprehensive development”. It is to “cultivate people’s spirit, intelligence and physique” to “make their functions develop together”5. The so-called “spirit” is the mind and heart, and in terms of education level, it is the spiritual and moral education; “intelligence” is the knowledge acquisition and the development of intelligence; “physique” is the sports. As Bu Fangjing said in the school magazine “John Sound”, his personal opinion of the essence of school education is that “the school is a small universe”. Students are in it to develop the nature and the noble personality. The relationship between people, and the self-consciousness in the society should be guided. So, the purposes of St. John’s university is to make students be the complete citizen, to take service as the prerequisite and self-abnegation autonomy as ability. Their will must be high, with broad horizon, and make them as human spiritual animals, and do things for the spiritual satisfaction” (Xiong Yuezhi & Zhou Wu, 2007) . He put particular emphasis on the mutual dependence of “morality”, “intelligence” and “physique” in the church school under the guidance of “spiritual personality” to highlight the function of university as “small universe”; “group education” was also mentioned, “the relationship between people, and the self-consciousness in the society should be guided,” without special illustration, that is because he was talking about “non-occupational localization” of St. John’s university.

In fact, on education level, the relationship between “spiritual and moral education” is close, and, Mr. Cai Yuanpei put forward the idea that “aesthetic education replaces religion”. In “Textbook of cultivating one’s morality in middle school”, he put forward the concept of “national education”, “the intelligence and studiousness of people in a nation has a significant relationship with the nation fate, therefore, the people maintaining the national development must implement national education to their children” (Cai Yuanpei Research Institute of China, 1998) . When he was the education chief, he proposed national education purpose of “5-dimension education”, to advocate the national education, materialism education, moral education, world outlook education and aesthetic education, and cultivate new citizens, and develop healthy personality. Of course, Mr. Cai Yuanpei’s “5-dimension education”, in particular, refers to the national education strategy to improve the national quality on the national level, but not the education function of “small universe” and the comprehensive development of student as education goal. Bu Fangyi made no special emphasis on aesthetic education, which is probably because St. John’s University is university but not high school, the choice of subjects is already contained in it, aesthetic education is required in the school, but lies in the students’ own personal interests.

About “aesthetic education”, the modern Chinese dictionary explains: “aesthetic education is to cultivate aesthetic ability, aesthetic sentiment and interest in art as the main task of education. Music and art are important content of aesthetic education” (Dictionary Editorial Office of Linguistics Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1999) . The famous alumni of Friends High School made two memoirs, which very concisely mention its aesthetic education. One is “Wenfeng Ancient Tower Peak” written by Zeng Qinghua illustrates the “moral, intellectual, physical, group and aesthetic education”: “for the words said by President Fangling, the most impressive on me is that ‘we cannot make the middle school as pre-learning class like Nankai (middle school), Tsinghua (middle school)’. Yes, the president’ education concept is to cultivate talents with ethics and ability of running school for the society (seen in teachings of the deceased of the president’s tombstone) but not test machine. What one says is done by himself. Indeed, Friends High School conducted the teaching in this way, focusing on the moral, intellectual, physical, group and aesthetic education without deviation and waste (Yang Boyong, 2004) . The other one is “Nanshan Dream--In Memory of four good traditions of campus music in Friends High School” written by Wang Chengwu, showing the source of music tradition of Friends High School, “the source of good tradition is firstly from the President Yang Fangling. The president took the position for 25 years from 1925 to 1949, in which he thoroughly implemented the education aim of “5-dimension education” (morality, intelligence, physique, group and aesthetics) to make the good tradition of campus music develop step by step. He not only actively advocated it but also led by example. Song Zhenbai recalled, “there is one credit for the music course in Friends High School, and it would be taught once a week by President Yang and the foreign teachers including Miss Berry, Miss Bookless, Mrs. Vanght and the wife of the president who all acted for piano accompaniment……this course takes singing as the main, and most of textbooks are European and American popular music, folk music, art music and part of Chinese music” (Yang Boyong, 2004) . Campus football in physical education, English education in intellectual education, music in aesthetic education made Friends High School become the unique one. Moral and group education was naturally integrated to cultivate a lot of talents and make students get more opportunities to succeed, so the campus culture was vigorous. Yang Fangling’s education thought of “5-dimension education” is worth deeply exploring.

5. Conclusion

Yang Fangling’s personal profile indicates “5-dimension education” thought was gradually formulated in the process of receiving education in church school with the “escort” of Society of Friends. The source of “5-di- mension education” is directly referring to the education system of church school. And most importantly, the western culture spread by St. John’s University inspired him to become a real educator. The characteristics of Saint John’s University have positive influence on Yang Fangling to operate Friends High School and form “5-dimension education”.


1hulesheng Prompt on hulesheng sina blog.

2See the Reflection of Localization Movement―the Relationship between Christianity and Chinese Culture, Shanxi Christianity, 1, 2007.

3Mi Zongchi (1929) Alumni Book Prologue of Chongqing Guangyi Middle School.

4Baidu Baike (2014) Quakers.

5(1925) Teach Why to Set School. Christian Education, 6, No. 2.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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