Research on Reflection-Action Philosophy-Based Development of Minority Children in Early Reading Ability —Practical Research Based on a Nu Ethnic Population Village


Based on the individual case of a Nu Ethnicity Village in Yunnan Province of China, this paper used the philosophy and methods of Reflection-Action to unfold a practical research meant to promote the development of early reading ability of Nu Ethnicity’s children. This paper consists of three major sections: the first section is about the researchers gaining knowledge about the level of Nu Ethnicity’s children’s early reading ability through questionnaire survey; in the second section, using the philosophy of Reflection-Action, the researchers unfolded a two-year-long practice of promoting the early reading ability of the Nu Ethnicity’s children in Laomudeng Village; finally, based on the practical research, this paper concluded some experience that is worth spreading and taking reference from.

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Sun, Y. and Li, S. (2014) Research on Reflection-Action Philosophy-Based Development of Minority Children in Early Reading Ability —Practical Research Based on a Nu Ethnic Population Village. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 4-12. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.212002.

1. Introduction

According to the researches of some western scholars, early literacy is an important influencing factor for the success or failure of pre-school age children after entering into primary school. The academic failure of children from poor families or of ethnic minorities in primary school is closely related to their difficulties in understanding and using the mainstream languages and culture. As explained by William Labov, a famous sociolinguist, “poor children or minority children in the complicated world of various dialects may be better at narrative structure and inferential capacity and may have more skillful syntax. However, language is a convenient token of hierarchy, race, nationality and educational level. These children are robbed of the background knowledge and conventions which are necessary for their understanding of the teachers and the textbooks, leading to their lack of experience in using abstract languages”. [1] The researches of Basil Bernstein, a sociologist, prove that the root cause resulting in the failure of children in low social and economic background is their development in daily life of a kind of restricted codes, a type of language associated with the own background of the speakers. The restrictive codes refer to pure forms consisting of many words. The contents of the restrictive codes are concrete and narrow, rather than analytical and abstract. The restrictive codes are more suitable for empirical communication, not for discussing more abstract concepts, processes or relations. Therefore, Bernstein thinks that, compared with the elaborated codes used by urban middle class, such restrictive codes are not adapted to the school environment to a very high extent [2] . For minority children who mostly live in remote rural areas, their first languages are not official languages and their cultural backgrounds differ a lot from the school education that represents modern civilization. After minority children enter into school, the biggest challenge they face comes exactly from language. Although Chinese government launches the policy of “dual language education”, hoping that minority children could learn the ability of listening to, speaking, reading and writing Chinese language, most minority children still can’t complete their fundamental education well due to their lack of training for early reading and writing of Chinese language, directly limiting their chances of receiving higher education, leading to the inequality of education. To alter the status of the academic failure of minority children, it is very important to realize equal education and improve the reading and writing abilities and comprehension of abstract languages of minority children. Currently, more and more scholars prove through researches that the development of reading and writing in early childhood is vitally important for the academic success of children in school and for their achievement in the future. The results of a Harvard University follow-up study on the linguistic and reading abilities of children between 3 and 19 years old show that the conditions, environment and ability of children in early age are highly correlative with their reading ability and academic success in the future (Snow et al., 1998) [3] .

Weak literacy of minority children, a worldwide challenge, directly leads to the academic failure of minority children in fundamental education stage. In 2012, Australia unfolded a National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy, which showed that only 4.4% of Grade 3 children of non-local ethnic groups had a literacy lower than the national standard, while 36% of local children of local ethnic minorities failed to reach the lowest national standard, and this percentage expanded to 58% in rural areas. Surveys also show that in some remote areas, 76% of Grade 3 local ethnic minority children fail to pass the lowest national standard in reading and writing [4] . Low literacy of local minority children in Australia has produced constant adverse effect on the economic, social and healthy status of adult local minority. Till now, Chinese government has not launched national assessment of literacy programs, but some scholars have found in researches that weak comprehension of Chinese language is the first to blame for the academic failure of students of Ethnicity Lahu [5] . For minority children, the lack of training on early reading ability of Chinese language not only hinders their comprehension of textbooks, but also discourages their motives and abilities to learn.

2. Status Survey: Current Early Reading Ability of Nu Ethnicity’s Children

Nu ethnic population is an ancient ethnicity distributing in the upstream of the Lancang River and the Nujiang River in Yunnan Province. By 2009, Nu Ethnicity registered a population of 28,697, and is in the category of lowly-populous ethnicities and unique Yunnan minor ethnicities and one of 17 ethnicities of “direct transition”1 in Yunnan. Before 1949, Nu people stayed in the end of the primitive age because of their remote living location, occluded traffic conditions and closed social structure. They have followed their own way of primitive education that matched to their traditional living state. Feudal education never extended to their territory, neither did the border education initiatives launched by the KMT government. It was not until the 1950s when the people’s government of China launched ethnic education with huge effort and a series of preferential policies did school education start from scratch and develop very fast in Nu Ethnicity people.

To get the knowledge of Nu Ethnicity’s children’s current literacy, the researchers formulated the survey questionnaire on children of 6 - 7 years old in Minority groups region. The major part of the questionnaire consists of the survey on the literacy of children and early reading education in families. The literacy of children includes three dimensions, word recognition ability, comprehension ability and expression and retelling ability. Except when checking the quantity of Chinese words recognized by the children, this questionnaire used Likert5 rating method for all other questions. The object of the questionnaire survey was chosen as the teachers and the parents of the Nu Ethnicity’s children, Lisu Ethnicity and Ethnic Han from the pre-school classes and kindergartens of each central school in Fugong County, Nujiang City in Yunnan Province. The questionnaire was designed to understand current literacy of children aging 6 to 7 years of three ethnic groups in Fugong County . 100 copies of questionnaire were handed out and 96 copies were collected, translating into a recovery rate of 96%, with the survey results presented below.

2.1. Average Quantity of Recognized Chinese Words of Nu Ethnicity’s 6- to 7-Year-Old Children Is 30, Lower Than That of Lisu Ethnicity’s Children of the Same Age Group in the Same Area But There Is No Significant Difference between the Two Ethnic Groups at This Point

The questionnaire survey results show that the average quantity of recognized Chinese words of Nu Ethnicity’s 6- to 7-year-old children was 30, while the children in China’s urban pre-school classes or higher grade children in kindergartens could recognize 287 Chinese words. In other words, before entering into primary schools, Nu Ethnicity’s children recognized only 10% of Chinese words that urban children could recognize. The extremely low literacy of Chinese words makes it very difficult for Nu Ethnicity’s children to perform well in primary school and has affected their interests in learning. Furthermore, data statistics show that in Fugong County, 6- to 7-year-old Lisu Ethnicity’s children outperform their counterpart in Nu Ethnicity in terms of literacy but not by a significant margin. 6- to 7-year-old children of ethnicities Nu and Lisu recorded an average recognition of Chinese words at 2.5636 and 2.6981, respectively, with the t value of 0.547 and sig value of 0.585, much larger than the significant level of 0.05. Therefore, Nu Ethnicity’s children are slightly lower than Lisu Ethnicity children in terms of the literacy of Chinese words without a significant difference (see Table 1).

2.2. Nu Ethnicity’s 6- to 7-Year-Old Children Has Better Comprehension of Reading Materials by Means of Pictures and Marks than by Means of Words and There Was a Significant Difference between the Two Ways

The questionnaire survey shows that 78% teachers of pre-school classes or kindergartens thought that Nu Ethnicity’s children were good at the comprehension of reading materials through pictures and marks, and only 12% teachers maintained that Nu Ethnicity’s children were good at doing so through words. It can be seen from the results of Chi-square test in Table 2 that the Chi-square value was 31.980a, with DOF being 12 and the sig value

Table 1. Analysis on the difference between 6- and 7-year-old children of Nu and Lisu ethnicities in total quantity of literacy.

Table 2. Analysis on the difference of Nu Ethnicity’s children comprehending in reading materials through pictures and marks and through words.

being 0.001, far less than the extreme significant level of 0.01. Therefore, Nu Ethnicity’s 6- to 7-year-old children comprehend reading materials better through pictures and marks than through words and the two approaches have extremely significant difference.

From the table above we know that Nu Ethnicity’s 6- to 7-year-old children were lack of the development in abstract thinking ability in the learning process and less sensitive to Chinese words, therefore, they mainly relied on pictures and marks to understand reading materials when reading. Therefore, when designing reading mate- rials for Nu Ethnicity’s children, this feature for them to develop reading skills could not be ignored, and researchers shall use pictures and marks as much as possible to inspire the reading interests of Nu Ethnicity’s children.

2.3. 6- to 7-Year-Old Nu Ethnicity’s Children’s Retelling Ability Could Not Reach an Average Level and Is Significantly Lower than the retelling ability of Lisu Ethnicity’s Children in the Same Region

Generally speaking, 6- to 7-year-old children like retelling the reading materials and are capable of retelling over 50% of the reading materials, showing a decent retelling ability. However, according to the questionnaire survey, 72% teachers thought that Nu Ethnicity’s children did not like retelling the reading materials, and 82% teachers regarded that 6- to 7-year-old Nu Ethnicity’s children could not reach the normal level of retell reading materials (retelling more than 50% of the contents). Meanwhile, statistical results showed that Nu Ethnicity’s children’s retelling ability is significantly lower than Lisu Ethnicity children in the same region.

As shown in Table 3, Nu Ethnicity’s children and Lisu Ethnicity registered an average value of 3.6182 and 3.9245 respectively, with the t value being 2.251 and the sig value being 0.026, less than the significant level of 0.05. So Lisu Ethnicity’s children liked retelling more than Nu Ethnicity’s children and there is a significant difference.

2.4. In Nu Ethnicity Families, Children Have Very Limited Access to Early Reading Materials, and Their Parents Do Not Have the Awareness and Ability to Develop Children of Early Reading Ability

This survey found that in Nu Ethnicity families, children early reading materials for children were very rare, with only 13% of parents admitting having bought for their children early reading materials. Each family held an average quantity of 3.5 volumes of children’s reading materials. Nu Ethnicity’s parents tended to believe that teaching children to read was the business of primary school teachers and parents did not have to do the job. Of course, 56% Nu Ethnicity’s parents blamed their failure to explain the stories on the books to children to their own poor level of Chinese language which stopped them from reading together with the children. Meanwhile, these parents also showed strong will in learning the methods for developing children of early reading ability.

In all, Nu Ethnicity’s 6- to 7-year-old children had low early reading ability and lacked of household education on early reading education. Therefore, this study’s practical research in the approaches and method of promoting the early reading ability of Nu Ethnicity’s children based on relevant reflection-action theories has very important values and significance.

3. Theoretical Foundation: Reflection-Action Philosophy

“Reflection-Action” is a new-type working mode to recognize the society and promote social changes. It combines the educational theory and participatory learning method firstly developed by Freire, P., a famous Brazilian educationalist. Firstly, his theories and methods were used in helping the adults learn, combining adult learning and rural development, promoting the job of eliminating literacy to a new level. The practice has been widely used worldwide and won the “International Illiteracy Elimination” award from the UNESCO. The “reflection- action” method can not only eliminate the illiteracy of adults, but can also be used in conflict management,

Table 3. Analysis on the difference of Nu Ethnicity’s children and Lisu Ethnicity in the extent of preferring retelling.

community organization and foundation, the formulating of community development plan, natural resources management and comprehensive rural management and many other aspects. It focuses more on the increase of community residents of self-development ability of self-organization ability.

In recent years, “reflection-action” has been proven feasible in helping children learn. Scholars maintain that the “reflection-action” method is helpful for developing the “innovation and participation” of children. It could provide a practical strategy that could realize a professional term in the 1990s, “children participation” through recognizing (or incorporating) children as active participants of the development process. The confidence through program learning could prepare the children for the future, no matter in self-employment or entering into formal education, or free participation in social democracy. “Reflection-action” is most likely to be used in non-formal education centers (usually run by non-governmental institutes), where the flexibility and involvement of children would not be compromised by too onerous teaching works. Besides, “reflection-action” can also be used in formal schools under the aim of making schools focus on children and connect the children with community life. In more and more countries, the governments are recognizing the limitation of traditional education system, and the adopted western-style courses lacked of the connections with reality, and the mechanical teaching approaches had low efficiency. Between the schools and the society which is meant to be served by schools there has been a big gap. Some countries are trying the “informalization” of formal systems (usually with the support of organizations such as United Nations Children’s Fund). This is a huge challenge, and “reflection-action” may be able to provide a through organization mode to launch this philosophy in large scale [6] .

The major target of using “reflection-action” in children education is to provide a tool for children to share and systematize their knowledge and use knowledge to analyze their environment. This method takes advantages of the features of the children, because children could also create economic values for their families and the society through household works and production activities.

4. Practical Research: Stages and Steps

4.1. The Implementation Process of the Program: Two Stages

To further promote balanced social and economic development nationwide and reduce the gap between weak ethnic groups and others and realize equal start of education, in 2011, Chinese government publicized the Plan to Support the Development of Low-Population Ethnicities (2011-2015), which specifically discussed the importance and necessity of developing pre-school education in areas of low-population ethnicities and presented concrete tasks accordingly. Under this background, this research selected three Nu Ethnicity’s villages and four pre-school education institutes in Fugong County of Yunnan Province to unfold practical study on early reading. Before the research kicked off, researchers proposed three questions that needed to be addressed: first of all, how could Han teachers working in the kindergartens or schools in the towns and townships of Nu Ethnicity effectively help Nu Ethnicity’s children to adapt to primary school education smoothly? Secondly, how should the cultural resources of Nu Ethnicity itself be well utilized to enable their children to obtain certain ability in listening to, speaking, reading and writing Chinese language? Thirdly, how should we summarize the experience and lessons from this research to support the unfolding of other similar program? Based on these three questions, the research was conducted in two stages below.

4.1.1. Stage 1: Early-Stage Preparation before the Launch of Program

Before this program formally kicked off, a woman of Ethic Nu in the program team spent 6 months communicating with authoritative patriarchs in Nu Ethnicity villages about the core philosophy and steps for the program. Through talking to the patriarchs of Nu Ethnicity, the program team gained more knowledge of the cultural and thoughts of Nu Ethnicity. While formulating and implementing the program, the researchers should not only respect local customs and culture, they should also entrust the patriarchs with more power to make use of their subjectivity. After winning the support of the patriarchs of the Nu Ethnicity villages, ethnic leaders of all Nu Ethnicity villages and the principals of the research program gathered in a selected kindergarten for discussion. Through deepened communication, participants of the program understood the values and challenges of the early reading program better and managed to modify the implementation plan for the program according to some special requirements of Nu Ethnicity villages.

Researchers of the program maintained that traditional culture of local Nu Ethnicity villages program should be fully considered, and the implementation of the program should not be a “cultural invasion”. Therefore, the program was tailored to meet three requirements of local residents: first of all, teachers of the children involved in the training on instructing children to read and learn Chinese words would not leave the villages; secondly, families of the children participating the early reading program would not bear any costs; thirdly, Nu Ethnicity’s children involved in the early reading program could be accepted by any kindergarten without experiencing cultural discrimination. Besides, to guarantee smooth unfolding of the program, the program team also committed to the patriarchs of the Nu Ethnicity villages that in the two-year implementation period, the patriarchs would be the program leaders and decision makers and would be responsible for modifying the contents of the teaching materials. Afterward, the coordinators of the program met and discussed with kindergarten teachers who would join the program and who would be the critical players for the success of the whole program. In all, during the whole implementation process of the whole, Nu Ethnicity villagers, researchers and kindergarten teachers kept close cooperation.

4.1.2. Stage 2: Concrete Process for Implementing the Program

The Nu Ethnicity’s children’ Early Literacy Program lasted for two years, with scholars involved in the program working kindergartens teachers, 4- to 6-year-old children and their family members. The immediate target of the program was to improve the literacy of 4- to 6-year-old Nu Ethnicity’s children and prepare them for primary school studies when they grew up to 6 years old. None of the teachers involved in the program were of Nu Ethnicity, but they all had the experience in working with Nu Ethnicity people. To ensure smooth and highly effective implementation of the program, scholars were focusing on three aspects below: 1) full knowledge of the culture and customs of Nu Ethnicity, understanding the recognizing characteristics and personal features of Nu Ethnicity’s children which were used as important grounds for the design and implementation of the program; 2) the awareness of all teachers involved in the program to form correct philosophy of early literacy. Teachers should not only be aware of the importance of early literacy to the academic success of local children, but should also use such awareness in the teaching practice. After this program ended, teachers involved in the program should continue proper implementation of early literacy education; 3) establishing a blog related to this program, setting up a communication platform for participants. During the execution of the program, participants and teachers could upload pictures and videos and show what they have reaped in the blog and experienced. Instructors of the program shared the experience of success in the community practice in the blog, promoting similar programs in other villages.

4.2. Individual Case Study: Introduction to the Laomudeng Village Mode

To further understand the implementation process and experience of the early literacy program, this paper would use the example of the practice in a Nu Ethnicity village―Laomudeng Village, to analyze the process and methods for the improvement of Nu Ethnicity’s children in early reading ability.

Laomudeng Village is a typical Nu Ethnicity community, where traditional culture education has been conducted in oral form. Senior people usually orally taught children of traditional culture and knowledge. Visual cultural symbols usually appeared in traditional artistic works and are endowed by local residents with special cultural significance. In local kindergartens, books or paper reading materials could hardly be seen. Most teaching staff involved in the program did not have the qualification for education, but they were trusted and highly respected by local Laomudeng villagers. Therefore, the program team used these popular teachers as the major force to development the readings interests and improve the literacy of Nu Ethnicity’s children. Through the discussions between scholars and teachers, the program team designed a very interesting activity to inspire the reading interest of Nu Ethnicity’s children which includes 3 periods:

Period I: the program team offered for free a point-and-shoot camera to each Nu Ethnicity’s child in Laomudeng Village, allowing the children to take pictures of interesting people and occurrences in daily life. The teachers encouraged the children to describe the picture they took and helped them to write down their descriptions in the pictures. Afterwards, these pictures and words were bound to volumes, becoming the reading materials for Nu Ethnicity’s children. Children in local communities could not only take home the books they “compiled”, but also those by other children, to share with their families. The activity promoted Nu Ethnicity’s children and their families to read paper materials together, developing them of preliminary interests in paper materials.

Period II: patriarchs of Laomudeng Village initialized a “fantastic journey to the culture of Nu Ethnicity” with the children. In the whole process, senior people in the Nu Ethnicity community gave account of the myths and legends and showed traditional singing and dancing art of Nu Ethnicity. The activity was also recorded by the cameras with the pictures bearing corresponding descriptive words and bound into reading volumes. These reading materials were of great help for Nu Ethnicity’s children smoothly transiting from kindergartens to Grade One of the primary school. The participation of and massive support from the patriarch of the village guaranteed smooth implementation of the program as well as great professional development of the teachers involved in the program.

Period III: based on the two activities above, the program team introduced children’s reading materials into the education process of local kindergartens education. The contents of these reading materials were integrated with abundant traditional culture of Nu Ethnicity and closely related to the familiar world of Nu Ethnicity’s children. For example, a book for the early reading of children named Girl Yana and the Immortal Monkey told a legend in the Nu Ethnicity village. A girl named Yana saved an immortal monkey and made friend with him. In the book there were full of living scenes of various Nu Ethnicity’s residents, such as children playing games, hunting wild pigs and picking up wild fruits. With the progress of the program, Nu Ethnicity’s children had more and more interests and spent longer time in reading. In some kindergartens, researchers also witnessed children reading and discussing in groups.

With the program advancing thus far, researchers offered to local Nu Ethnicity’s children many high-quality early reading materials which improved their Chinese language level in reading, despite they were not formally published textbooks for Chinese language. Meanwhile, teachers involved in the program developed a lot in professional teaching skills, some of them even obtaining national qualification certificates for children education and care very easily.

5. Experience and Reflection

5.1. Experience of Nu Ethnicity Villages in Early Reading Program

Two years after Nu Ethnicity villages launched early reading program, the original goal of the program was realized in a quite satisfactory manner, obtaining the experience in following aspects worth learning from:

For one thing, the participation of and support from the patriarchs of Nu Ethnicity villages was the key to the success of the program. We can see from the implementation of the program that the program team focused highly on the communication with local residents, and in particular, they established proper relationship with patriarchs of each Nu Ethnicity village. As civil leaders of the local community, patriarchs are highly admired and respected by Nu Ethnicity villagers. Therefore, six months before the implementation of the program, the coordinator of the program had began deepened communication with local patriarchs who not only understood and supported the program but also joined the planning and management of the program personally. For example, in the “bookshelf entering into families” activity, the cooperation of local Nu Ethnicity villagers was the result of active promotion of patriarchs. Had it been researchers advocating the idea alone, the positive response from Nu Ethnicity families would be in question. Arguably, it was exactly because of the participation of and support from Nu Ethnicity patriarchs that the program won the trust of Nu Ethnicity villagers and unfolded without problems.

Secondly, reading materials that reflected traditional culture of Nu Ethnicity and the living world of Nu Ethnicity’s children won the recognition of Nu Ethnicity villagers, realizing “mutual interaction” of the early reading plan. Judging from the implementation process of the program in Laomudeng Village , another important reason for the success of the early reading program was the deep integration of traditional culture of Nu Ethnicity and the children’s reading materials. To activate the initiatives of Nu Ethnicity’s children and their parents in participating the early reading program and avoid the sense of strangeness of the children toward paper materials out of cultural difference, on one hand, scholars exerted the activeness of Nu Ethnicity’s children, and on the other hand, they compiled paper reading materials based on traditional culture of Nu Ethnicity and the living world of Nu Ethnicity’s children. This method had positive effect on arousing the interest of Nu Ethnicity’s children early in reading. Meanwhile, proper “mutual interaction” was realized between Nu Ethnicity’s parents and kindergarten teaching.

Thirdly, in the implementation of Nu Ethnicity’s children reading program, the “reflection-action” theories and methods were used to promote the development of the independent development of learning ability of local residents. Under the influence of postmodernism, “reflection-action” theory targets the development field itself, specific development program, development organizations or development-oriented experts as the objects of observation, criticism or study. The implementation of this program followed the theories and methods of “reflection-action”. The ultimate goal of this program was to promote the development of Nu Ethnicity’s children in early reading ability and prepare them better for adapting to the learning in primary school. This program reflected a “humanism” thought of the development anthropology. Researchers tried as much as possible to avoid turning the research process into the control over and value export to the weak groups and avoid appearing in a manner as strong culture to “save” Nu Ethnicity’s children. Judging from the implementation process and mode, the Nu Ethnicity’s children’s early reading program was conducted under the precondition of respecting the human rights and culture of local residents and through inspiring the subjectivity of Nu Ethnicity’s patriarchs, children and their family members. It was an effective early reading education practice meant to promote the independent development of Nu Ethnicity’s children reading in reading.

5.2. Reflection of the Practical Research in Early Reading of Children from Nu Ethnicity Villages

5.2.1. Respecting Local Culture and Exerting Local Force

To summarize the successful experience of the early reading program in Nu Ethnicity villages, we realized that in minor ethnic areas where the native languages are not Chinese, the implementation of similar program must respect local culture and customs and shall emphasize exerting the “spiritual leadership” of patriarchs of minor ethnicities to ensure a problem-free implementation. Besides, unfolding minority children early reading education for minority children in China must focus on establishing decent interactions with local families. Many researchers have proved that the family education’s emphasis on and correct guidance of the literacy of pre-school age children is directly related to the development of the literacy of children after entering into the primary school. Therefore, to promote the development of the literacy of minority children, intervening family education and promoting families to pay attention to early reading is an indispensible measure.

5.2.2. Excavating Local Knowledge and Encouraging Local Pride

In China, for many minority children whose native languages are not Chinese, learning Chinese language is a process of cultural identity and adaptation. Therefore, when unfolding early reading education for children, we shall avoid ignoring the educational values of local culture of each ethnicity. Learning from the experience of the early reading program for children of Nu Ethnicity villages children early reading program, we believe that when unfolding similar programs, elite culture of each ethnicity shall be developed with great efforts according to the cognitive features of children from different ethnicities and used as the course resources for early reading. The practice above could not only generate the children’s feeling of intimacy toward the reading materials, but also arouse the ethnic identity and pride of the minority children through elite local culture, which is highly significant for realizing the sustainable development of the reading education toward minority children reading education. Besides, in the development process of early reading courses, we should pay attention to exerting the subjectivity of local children and families. Children of minor ethnicity groups are not receiving the mainstream language and culture passively, but they have the rights to participate in the process. Only by considering the cultural features and the perspectives of the children can we come out with early reading plans that can truly promote the development of children of minor ethnicities in early reading ability and self-learning ability.


This paper was supported by the project funded by a critical subject of the Ministry of Education “Study on the development of civil cultural and educational resources in southwest” (Project No. DHA00251); and this paper was supported the project funded provincial colleges and universities cooperation projects “How to promote the western Yunnan border mountainous area in the development of preschool education” (Project No. SYSX201416).


*Corresponding author.

1The “direct transition regions” refer to the residential areas of minor ethnicity groups which, during 1950s, were still at the end of the primitive society with indistinct class differentiation and diverse land occupation. Under the long-term effective help of the China Communist Party and the People’s Government, such regions directly transited into the socialist society. Such transition successfully solved the issue of ethnicities in the border areas at different social stages entering into the socialist society together. “Direct transition” ethnicities and “direct transition” regions fall within the domain of production relations and political science, not just referring to some certain ethnicity or its region. According to Marx’ social pattern division theory, “direct transition ethnicities” refer to ethnicities which were still in the end of the primitive society and transiting from the primitive communes to the class society (the residual form of primitive economy) by 1949 when China had established the socialist production relations and which entered into the socialist society with other ethnicities. Counties, towns and villages where these ethnicities lived were called “direct transition regions”.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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