How to Become a Sage

Students prepared for this assignment by reading the week’s reading assignment about the Chinese philosopher Xunzi in the class textbook. This lesson is inspired by Oprah Winfrey's Lifeclass TV show.

The instructor acted as Oprah Winfrey, introducing a new Lifeclass entitled, “How to Become a Sage.” She introduced the four guest Life Coaches—four of the Chinese philosophers discussed in class: Confucius, Xunzi, Zhuangzi, and Mencius.

She split the students into groups, based off of the philosophers they most closely identify with. Together, groups were to identify and come to agreement on each philosophers' vision of the world and the beings within it.  They did this using their textbook and the chalkboard.

After this brainstorming session, each group represented their philosopher and articulated how one could become a sage according to each philosophy. Then, they came together as a class and discussed the differences and similarities between the various philosophers’ views. 

This activity enables students to synthesize their knowledge of Chinese philosophy while having a great deal of fun. Additionally, it places students in the role of the "expert," so that they can uncover and reinforce what they already know about these philosophers, as well as engage each other in lively debate and discussion.

Our ABLConnect Curriculum Specialist notes that instructors should specify how long students should spend doing each step of the activity and give them clear roles and responsibilities.  This activity may be best as a review tool.