身教 – Chinese philosophy and culture

shēnjiào 身教

Teach by Example

用实际行动教导人。与“言教”(用语言讲述教导人)相对。本指执政者不要满足于简单的发号施令和言语说教,而要以自身的实际行动,为民众起到道德示范作用,以达成社会治理的目标。与“人治”思想相通。后转为重要的教育理念:教师不仅要用语言讲授知识、教育学生,更要以自己的实际行动,在治学、修德等方面成为学生的表率,以便更好地感化学生,实现既定的教育目标。犹言“以身作则”“为人师表”。

This means teaching by one’s deeds as opposed to explaining in words. Originally it referred to a ruler who should not just issue orders and tell people what to do. Rather, he should set an example to his subjects with his own actions as a model of virtue, thereby achieving the goal of good order in society. This has something in common with the principle of “rule by man.” Later it turned into an educational concept: Teachers should not only teach their students by words; they should also, in their own actual conduct, be an example to the students in scholarship and cultivation of virtue, so as to guide them and reach the goal of education. There are well-known sayings in China like “making oneself an example” and “to be a model teacher to others.”

引例 Citations:

◎子曰:“其身正,不令而行;其不正,虽令不从。”(《论语·子路》)

(孔子说:“执政者自身行为端正,即使不下命令,事情也能行得通;自身行为不端正,即使三令五申,百姓也不会听从。”)

Confucius said, “If a ruler is upright, he could have things done without giving orders; if he is not, people would not listen to him even if he gives repeated orders.” (The Analects)

◎化民成俗之道,除却身教,再无巧术。(吕坤《呻吟语·治道》)

(教化民众,形成良好风气,除了以身作则,再没有更好的方法了。)

To lead by example is the only way to enlighten the people and cultivate good social mores. (Lü Kun: Moan and Groan)

◎言教不如身教。(《明史·汤开远传》)

(用言语教导不如用行动教导。)

Teaching by words is not as good as teaching by example. (The History of the Ming Dynasty)

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