Harmonious Classrooms With the Daoist Principle of Wuwei


  • David McLachlan Jeffrey Sichuan University – Pittsburgh Institute, People’s Republic of China


This article is a reflection on the Daoist principle of unforced action known as wuwei and how contemplations of it by teachers can potentially help in nurturing more harmonious classrooms. It begins with an outline of the philosophy of Daoism together with its core principle of wuwei. It also discusses further Daoist principles associated with wuwei such as the virtue-less virtue of de, the natural spontaneity of ziran, the dynamic harmony of yin-yang, and the vital energy of qi. It then examines some of the metaphorical illustrations of wuwei found in the classical Daoist texts of the Laozi, the Zhuangzi, and the Liezi. In doing so, it considers how the ancient notion of wuwei might serve as an inspirational guide to novel perspectives and approaches to contemporary teaching and learning, and therefore help to effortlessly align classroom environments with the natural spontaneity of the Dao.

Author Biography

David McLachlan Jeffrey, Sichuan University – Pittsburgh Institute, People’s Republic of China

David McLachlan Jeffrey works at Sichuan University - Pittsburgh Institute, China. He has taught English as a Second Language in Japan and Saudi Arabia. He has a deep fascination for Asian philosophy, and believes that it can be applied with success by teachers worldwide.





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