Safeguarding Victory for Both Educators and Scholars: A Diary Study Based on the 36 Stratagems


  • David McLachlan Jeffrey Academic Bridge Program, Zayed University


Educational alternatives, 36 Stratagems, diary studies, educational philosophy


This teacher diary study is a first attempt at applying the ancient Chinese military text, the 36 Stratagems, to contemporary education. China is one of the world's most ancient civilizations. Its classics are timeless and universal in that they embody a philosophy that is both multidimensional and holistic. For this reason, it is possible to apply ancient Chinese military texts to modern-day competitive situations that, whilst not necessarily on a battlefield, are highly competitive, such as the field of education. In examining the 36 Stratagems through this diary study, it is shown how they can inspire educators and students to use their tactical essence in a nurturing manner to achieve mutual victory against all the obstacles that stand in their way to scholarly success. 

Author Biography

David McLachlan Jeffrey, Academic Bridge Program, Zayed University

David McLachlan Jeffrey is an English language instructor in the Academic Bridge Program at Zayed University, United Arab Emirates. 


Bailey, K. M. (1990). The use of diary studies in teacher education programs. In Richards, J. & Nunan, D. (Eds)., Second language teacher education. Cambridge University Press: United Kingdom.

Baron, J. (2000). Thinking and deciding (3rd edition). Cambridge University Press: United Kingdom.

Bell, J. (1993). Doing your research project: A guide to first-time researchers in education and social science. Open University Press: Buckingham, United Kingdom.

Brahm, L. J. (1995) Negotiating in China: 36 Strategies. Reed Academic Publishing: Singapore.

Guanzhong, L. (2002). Romance of the Three Kingdoms (C.H. Brewitt-Taylor Trans). Charles E. Tuttle Co: Vermont. (Original work published 1360)

Haichan, S. (1991). The wiles of war: 36 military strategies from ancient China. Foreign Language Press: Beijing.

Henderson, M., Morris, L., & Fitz-Gibbon, C. (1987). How to measure attitudes. Sage Publications: United Kingdom.

Hundelby, S., & Breet, F. (1988). Using methodology notebooks on in-service teacher-training courses. English Language Teaching Journal. 42(1), 34-36.

Jarvis, J. (1992). Using diaries for teacher reflection on in-service courses. English Language Teaching Journal, 46(2), 133-143.

Jeffrey, D. M. (2010). A teacher diary study to apply ancient art of war strategies to professional development. International Journal of Learning, 17(3), 21-36.

Koiang, K. K., & Yi, L. (1992). The secret art of war: Thirty six stratagems. Asiapac Comic Series, Singapore.

Krippendorf, K (2003). The art of the advantage: 36 strategies to seize the competitive edge. The Strategy Learning Center: Miami.

Minford, J. (2003). The art of war: The essential translation of the classic book of life. Penguin Books: London.

Mitchell, S. (1992). Tao te ching. HarperCollins: Hammersmith, UK.

Nunan, D. (1992). Research methods in language learning. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.

Scott, M. (1997). Wordsmith Tools 3.0. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK.

Tung, D., & Tung, K. (2005). More than 36 stratagems: A systematic classification based on basic behaviors. Trafford Publishing: Canada.

Tung, D., & Tung, K. (2010). 36 stratagems plus: Illustrated by international cases. Trafford Publishing: Canada.

Verstappen, S. H. (1999). The 36 stratagems of ancient China: Timeless proverbs on the art of being cunning. China Books & Periodicals: San Francisco, USA.

Von Senger, H. (2006). The 36 stratagems for business: Achieve your objectives through hidden and unconventional strategies and tactics. Marshall Cavendish: Singapore.

Von Senger, H., & Gubitz, M. (1991). The book of stratagems: Tactics for triumph and survival. Viking Press: New York.

Xiaochun, M. (1996). The thirty-six stratagems applied to Go. Yutopian Enterprises: California, USA.

Yuan, G. (1991). Lure the tiger out of the mountains: The thirty-six stratagems of ancient China. Simon and Shuster: New York, USA.






Peer Reviewed Articles