Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

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Emphasizing both the West and the East: Campus Culture of McTyeire School for Girls in Shanghai (1892-1952)
Ma Guangxia

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


The McTyeire School for Girls (The Anglo-Chinese School for girls), founded by Southern Methodist missionaries in 1892, was registered to the government in 1931 and given a new Chinese name “Zhongxi nvzhong. The school was consolidated with St. Mary’s School for Girls in 1952 and eventually formed a new school named Number 3 Girls’ School. Over this period of sixty years the McTyeire School became one of the most prestigious girls’ schools in China, a great number famous women coming out of it, such as Soong Sisters, and then attracted more pupils from the local elite.

The paper explores the reasons for the McTyeire School’s success and its reputation as an institution that cultivated girls’ education. In doing so the paper explores the agency of migrant missionaries in promoting social change through education. Three themes are identified for particularly analysis.

Firstly, migrant missionaries adopted the policies of “Christian family” and “women’s work for women”. School leaders, such as Miss Haywood and Miss Richardson, aimed to the school a home for the girls and stressed the importance of positive relationships both between students and between students and missionary educators. This ideology gave processes of cultural contact between east and west a particular emphasis that facilitated social change.  This became clear when missionary leaders nominated local women to lead the school.

Secondly, migrant missionaries had specific pedagogical aims such as “to furnish a liberal education in both Chinese and English, to give instructions in Western music, to exercise a wholesome influence upon the mental and moral habits of the girls, to inculcate a knowledge of the truths and principles of the Christian religion”. Migrant missionaries developed a detailed curriculum plan, and mainly included “three distinct courses of study besides music, the Chinese language and literature, the English language and literature with collateral courses in science, and a course in religious instructions.” As time went on, they added other courses such as P.E., housekeeping, social intercourse etc., there were also optional courses including music (vocal music were taught to all the pupils, instrumental music with extra charge), expression and dances etc.

Thirdly, migrant missionaries introduced specific areas of ‘women’s expertise’ to their pupils. Combined with qualities typically associated with local women, migrant missionaries introduced new concepts of American womanhood and, in doing so, facilitated a space where women’s roles in societies were open to change. Some of the American concepts, especially around domesticity, have often been considered highly conservative but the paper argues that they were a formative part of girls’ development and seem to have an aided the development of politics informed by feminism.