Since the implementation of the “05 Program” of ideological and political course reform (“05 program” is the program of the Ministry of Education on the establishment of ideological and political theory course in colleges and universities in 2005), the practical teaching of ideological and political theory course (hereinafter referred to as ideological and political course) has been put on the agenda. However, it is a pity that the five aspects (practical teaching and classroom teaching, practical teaching and social life, teachers’ social practice and students’ social practice, practical teaching and scientific research, content stability and form diversity) are not well unified, resulting in unsatisfactory teaching effectiveness. How to take effective measures to constantly improve the effectiveness of ideological and political course practice teaching has become a practical problem to be solved urgently in front of the majority of ideological and political course teachers and administrators. Under such circumstances, it is of great practical significance to explore the path choice for improving the effectiveness of ideological and political course practice teaching based on the successful experience of “five unification” in the past ten years.
2. The Unity of Practical Teaching and Classroom Teaching
Generally speaking, ideological and political theory course is divided into theoretical teaching and practical teaching. Practical teaching is a unique teaching activity. Compared with theoretical teaching, it pays attention to close to social reality and social life, and strengthens students’ ability to apply the theory to social reality and practice. Practical teaching is an effective supplement to theoretical teaching and an extension, expansion and deepening of theoretical teaching, which is an accurate positioning of practical teaching of ideological and political course. This orientation requires that the practice teaching should be combined with the teaching content of ideological and political course, cooperate with classroom teaching, and realize the organic unity with classroom teaching, so as to realize the healthy and sustainable development of practical teaching and receive the due results. For this reason, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council clearly pointed out in the Opinions on Strengthening and Improving Ideological and Political Work in Universities under the New Situation: “it is necessary to strengthen social practice education, increase the proportion of practical teaching, organize teachers and students to participate in social practice activities, improve the mode of collaborative education such as the integration of science and education, university enterprise cooperation, and strengthen the construction of practice teaching base” (The CPC Central Committee and the State Council, 2017).
For a long time, pure classroom theory teaching is the only teaching mode of ideological and political course, and the teaching method is single. Teachers play a leading role in the classroom, unilaterally instill theory into students, students’ participation in classroom theory teaching activities is low, teachers’ teaching and students’ learning become two parallel lines. In addition, the teaching content is divorced from the reality of society and students, and the course lacks certain appeal and persuasion, which makes it difficult to arouse students’ resonance and arouse students’ enthusiasm in learning the course. In this case, we need to “adhere to the combination of political theory education and social practice, and not only attach importance to classroom education, but also pay attention to guiding college students to go deep into the society, understand the society and serve the society” (The CPC Central Committee and the State Council, 2004). In addition to classroom theoretical teaching, practical teaching should be supplemented. The classroom theoretical teaching and practice teaching should be organically combined, and flexible and diverse teaching forms should be adopted. We should make students participate in it, visit the scene in person, change from supporting role to leading role, from passive learning to active integration, and actively explore the problems in the practical teaching content. Practice teaching, with the advantages of broadening the field of vision and integrating theory with practice, is a teaching link and teaching form loved by college students, which is conducive to enhancing the teaching effect of Ideological and political course and improving the effectiveness of ideological and political course teaching.
We should also see that practice teaching emphasizes practice, but the purpose of practice teaching is to better understand theory and to cooperate with classroom theory teaching. We cannot make no distinction between the primary and the secondary cause a presumptuous guest usurps the host’s role. That means we can’t treat practice teaching as the leading role, practice teaching will be separated from the core of ideological and political theory course. Therefore, the content of practical teaching of ideological and political course should focus on Marxist theory and ideological and political education related content, such as the basic theory of Marxism, China’s national conditions and the history and achievements of revolutionary construction and reform, education in patriotic ideology and morality, education in socialist democracy and the legal system, theory and practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics must be included. In this way, it can embody the essential feature of the extension of practical teaching to theoretical teaching in class, thus contributing to the realization of practical teaching objectives.
3. The Unity of Practical Teaching and Social Life
Rich and colorful social life is the birthplace of theory and the main battlefield of ideological and political teaching. Ideological and political course practice teaching only based on social life, facing social life can make ideological and political course grounded, practical, effective. Because of this, General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized in his speech at the National Symposium for Teachers of Ideological and Political Theory that “ideological and political courses should adhere to the unity of theory and practice, cultivate people with scientific theories, attach importance to the practicality of ideological and political courses, and combine ideological and political lectures with large social classes” (Xi, 2019). Based on this concept, we have created a practical teaching scheme of “walking ideological and political course”, which guides students to go out of the classroom, out of the campus, to the social class full of vitality and vitality to realize the ideological and political theory, to understand the truth of Marxist theory and ideological and political education, and to truly achieve the integration of theory and practice. Through entering the social life, we can further understand, absorb and internalize the basic theoretical knowledge learned in the ideological and political course, realize the application of the basic Marxist theory and the related principles of ideological and political education, so as to further establish the world outlook and methodology of Marxism.
The CPC Central Committee and the State Council pointed out in the “opinions on Further Strengthening and improving the ideological and political education of college students”: the teaching of ideological and political theory “should be connected with the reality of reform and opening up and socialist modernization construction, the ideological reality of college students, the combination of theoretical armed and practical education, the reform of teaching content, the improvement of teaching methods and teaching means” (The CPC Central Committee and the State Council, 2004). This instruction enlightens us: the university period is a preview and prelude for young students to go to the society and turn from knowledge-based learning to practical work. In this period, in addition to storing knowledge and constantly improving theoretical and knowledge literacy, we should also have the practical ability to analyze and solve problems. This requires us to face social life and social practice as much as possible through practical teaching, create conditions for college students to contact, understand and understand the society, strengthen their understanding of the great practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics, cultivate their moral quality, sense of cooperation, dedication and social responsibility, and improve their ability to see through complex social phenomena, distinguish right from wrong, and deal with complex social problems, so that the theoretical knowledge mastered by students can be transformed into practical ability, thus laying a solid foundation for them to step into the society smoothly.
4. The Unity of Teachers’ Social Practice and Students’ Social Practice
Teaching and learning benefit each other is a universal educational principle, which should be implemented in the practical teaching of ideological and political course. In the past, the practical teaching teachers seldom participate in the process of practical teaching. At most, they only appear in the specific arrangements before the practice teaching and in the performance assessment and evaluation after the end of the practical teaching. They seldom participate in the process of practical teaching, let alone give specific guidance. As a result, teachers do not understand the students’ practice process, can’t perceive and understand the difficulties and problems existing in practice teaching, and can’t put forward improvement measures. The arrangement of practical teaching is also organized according to teachers’ wishful thinking and their own experience and knowledge level. It is difficult for practical teaching to touch students’ hearts and directly hit students’ pain points and interest points. The leading and guiding roles of teachers have not been brought into full play, which makes the practical teaching deviate from the original intention to a certain extent and fails to achieve the expected goal.
Such a situation requires us to improve. It means to combine teachers’ social practice with students’ social practice, take the initiative to participate in students’ social practice process. In order to play a leading role in the practical teaching of ideological and political course, teachers must participate in the practical teaching and strengthen the process guidance and management. It is beneficial for teachers to control the whole process of practical teaching, to discover students’ thoughts and problems in time, and to play a leading role in the overall design and management of practical activities. Of course, teachers’ participation in students’ practical teaching activities does not mean to eliminate students’ autonomy and initiative. In the whole process of practical teaching, teachers are only the mentors, assistants, supervisors, enlighteners and guides of students’ learning. They can fully explore and activate students’ autonomy, enthusiasm and initiative, and strengthen and exercise their abilities of independent inquiry, autonomous learning, self-understanding and independent practice. In fact, teachers’ participation in the practical teaching of students’ ideological and political course is both opportunities and challenges for teachers, and it also has a great role in promoting the improvement of teachers’ teaching professional level.
At the same time, it is also necessary to create conditions for students to participate in teachers’ social practice activities, so that students and teachers can understand each other, strengthen communication and exchange, fully understand teachers’ thoughts and thoughts in ideological and political course classroom teaching and practical teaching, so as to deepen the understanding and communication between teachers and students, and truly implement the principle of teaching and learning benefiting each other.
5. The Unity of Practical Teaching and Scientific Research
Teaching and research are like two wings of a bird and two wheels of a car. Both of them complement each other. As one of the teaching activities, the practical teaching of ideological and political course must be closely combined with teaching research. To seek for problems in teaching, solve problems in scientific research, promote teaching by teaching scientific research, constantly enrich teaching content and improve teaching methods, so as to constantly improve the effectiveness of practical teaching.
From the perspective of traditional ideas, it seems that practice teaching does not need teaching research, which is an excuse for neglecting practice teaching. In fact, a series of problems need to be studied, such as the principle, purpose, method, effect, acceptance and participation of students and teachers, and the relationship with theoretical teaching.
Generally speaking, the scientific research on the practical teaching of ideological and political course should focus on the following basic issues.
Firstly, the necessity and possibility of practical teaching of Ideological and political course. Why is the practical teaching of ideological and political course not effective enough at present? A fundamental problem is that it is not valued by school leaders and teachers. Why are these problems occurring? What are the causes of these problems? Is the problem of inadequate ideological understanding or safeguards in place? These are all urgent research topics that need to be studied and solved.
Secondly, how to coordinate and unify the relationship between the practical teaching of ideological and political course and the classroom theoretical teaching? How to allocate the teaching hours of four ideological and political courses? How to link up the practice teaching of the four courses? Ministry of Education stipulates the class hour that takes out two credits is used at ideological and political course practice teaching, and how to put forward these two credits from the four courses?
Thirdly, how to divide the boundary between practical teaching and theoretical teaching? Which belong to classroom theory teaching and which belong to practice teaching?
Fourthly, the issues of funds guarantee, safety guarantee and policy guarantee for practical teaching of ideological and political course also need to be studied in depth.
Other problems, such as the construction of evaluation system of ideological and political course practice teaching, mobilizing teachers and students to actively participate in the practical teaching of ideological and political course, and a series of problems that have not yet been fully solved need to be thoroughly and carefully studied.
6. The Unity of the Stability of Practical Teaching Content and the Diversity of Practical Teaching Forms
The practical teaching of ideological and political courses must be centered on the theme of ideological and political education, which is the core of unalterable stability at any time. But around this content, we can adopt various forms of “menu-style” to carry out practice teaching, and organically unify the stability of practice teaching content and the diversity of forms.
In recent years, our curriculum starts from the most fundamental characteristics of the ideological and political course of practicality and life, and follows the idea of returning the ideological and political course to the fertile land of real life. Our course has formed a “personalized menu” practice teaching method. According to students’ different living conditions, professional characteristics and even interests, the following menu is designed: “Walking ideological and political course (organize social investigation in combination with the teaching content of Ideological and political course, visit museums, memorial halls, exhibition halls, modern historical relics, revolutionary sites and practice bases, and write investigation reports)”, “Painting on Ideological and Political Education (using pictures to interpret the basic theory of Ideological and political courses or personal feelings and feelings on Ideological and political courses, or combining the content of Ideological and political courses to reflect on a certain social phenomenon)”, “Positive energy scenario drama performance (according to a certain content of Ideological and political course, under the guidance of teachers, the students write and direct and perform by themselves)”, “Today I will tell you (in combination with the Tianjin College Students ideological and Political Course Lecture Competition, students form groups or individuals walk on the platform to explain a certain content of the course or Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era, or explain the current political content closely related to the course, the time shall be controlled within 8 minutes each time)”. Similar to these abundant practical teaching methods, and so on, to form a strong expansibility, high flexibility “personalized menu type” practice teaching mode, it overcomes the defects of the past that we are all alike and ignores the students’ personality, guides students to find the connection point between their unique and colorful life and rich ideological and political courses, and practices what they have learned in life theory, which has received a great effect.
*The phased achievement of the promotion project of ideological and political theory course teaching reform in universities in Tianjin “Research on Practical Teaching Reform of Ideological and Political Theory Course”.
 The CPC Central Committee and the State Council (2004). Opinions on Further Strengthening and Improving Ideological and Political Education for College Students. The People’s Daily, 2004-10-15, 1.
 The CPC Central Committee and the State Council (2017). Opinions on Strengthening and Improving Ideological and Political Work in Universities under the New Situation. The People’s Daily, 2017-3-1, 1.