Gansu Survey of Children and Families Papers


Revolutionizing Ritual Interaction in the Classroom: Constructing the Chinese Renaissance of the 21st Century

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



Reprinted from Modern China 35, no. 6 (2009): 632-661.
Publisher URL:


Over the past decade, educational leaders in China have maintained that the pattern of social interactions in Chinese classrooms is not conducive to the cultivation of innovativeness and creativity and that this lack of creativity is a major barrier to China’s global competitiveness. One key response has been the implementation of the 2001 New Curriculum reforms in basic education. This article draws on qualitative classroom observation and in-depth interview data, as well as quantitative survey data, from Gansu province to investigate the extent to which classroom interactions differ substantially in Chinese primary school classrooms that are implementing the New Curriculum reforms compared with those that are not. To the extent that individuals are constructed by the interactions in which they participate, changes in classrooms could have far-reaching implications for contemporary youth socialized differently than those of previous generations, and for the future social, cultural, and political order of China.


China, education reform, teaching methods, New Curriculum reforms, rural education



Date Posted: 20 October 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.