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Rediscovering the Fourth-Grade Slump in a study of children’s self-concept

Confucius was born in China and lived from 551 until 479 B.C. His teachings are mainly concerned with the practical ethics of daily life without the addition of religious considerations (Chen & Chung, 1994; Millay & Streeter, 2004). Confucianism is the major cultural influence in Chinese-influenced societies including China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan (Chaves, 2002; Diriik, 1995; Greer & Lim, 1998; Hahm, 2003; Kim & Park, 2003; Martinsons & Martinsons, 1996). However, we cannot expect Confucianism to have the same status, function, or value among these countries when, even within one country, it is respected more in certain regions than in others (Hahm, 2003). In spite of these differences among countries and regions, the philosophy still unites the East Asian people today. The people have both been significantly influenced by the Confucian cultural tradition and by its core values, which serve as the ethical and moral foundation for business and social interactions, and for people’s thinking styles (Chaves, 2002; Diriik, 1995; Greer & Lim, 1998; Hahm, 2003; Kim & Park, 2003; Martinsons & Martinsons, 1996). According to Chen and Chung (1994), the principles of Confucian teaching can be summarized as emphasizing education, family system, hierarchical relationships, and benevolence. These principles can be compared with studies that explored those traits’ impact upon creativity. Therefore, relevant creativity literature involves the connections between creativity and the components of Confucianism. The macro-cultural element of Confucianism can then be combined with the smaller components. In Confucianism, the purpose of education is to help people develop ideal personalities (Liu, 1990, cited in Cheng, 1998). A Confucian gentleman is a person who consciously cultivates, practices, and displays his virtues (Zhang, 2000). The holistic and idealistic model of a human being is a well rounded person with a perfect personality who makes a positive contribution to society (Liu, 1990, cited in Cheng, 1998; Yao, 1999). These characteristics should be fostered in the citizenry through the educational system, and uniform virtues with regard to one’s role in life are instilled. CONFUCIANISM CONFUCIANISM AND CREATIVITY RESEARCH CREATIVITY AND THE FIRST PRINCIPLE OF CONFUCIANISM: EMPHASIS ON EDUCATION 30 Confucianism and Creativity The level of support within the home for homework activities (Henderson, Marx, & Kim, 1999; Kim, 1993; Yao & Kierstead, 1984), and efforts of cooperation between teachers and parents to match home and school environments to promote a consistent learning style for children are very high (e.g., Hong & Lee, 1999). Parents place special emphasis on education in early childhood, engage students in learning, and support their schools, (Haynes & Chalker, 1997; Haynes & Chalker, 1998; Henderson, Marx, & Kim, 1999). Positive influences from Confucianism are that people are highly motivated towards the acquisition of an excellent education, including the strong desire to obtain higher degrees and diplomas (Martinsons & Martinsons, 1996; Sorensen, 1994). Emphasis on education has contributed to the economic growth of Confucian societies (Morris, 1996). Virtues attributed to the economic growth of the East Asian Five Dragons, the so-called East Asian economic miracle (Hahm, 2003), including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan, are skill acquisition, hard work, moderation, p