1. The Necessity of Integrating “Si Shi” Education into Ideological and Political Courses in Colleges and Universities
In November 2019, General Secretary Xi Jinping in his visit to Shanghai pointed out that “We should guide party members and cadres to study the history of the party, the history of the new China, the history of reform and opening up, the history of socialism in depth, so as to pass on the beginner’s mind from hand to hand and shoulder their mission bravely.” On January 8, 2020, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed once again at the education Summary Conference under the theme of “Stay true to our original aspiration and keep our mission in mind” that “We should combine the study and implementation of the Party’s innovation theory with the study of the history of the Party, the history of new China, the history of reform and opening up, and the history of socialism.” (Xi Jinping, 2020). This is the first time that the Central Committee of CPC has clearly put forward the concept of learning the “Si Shi”. The “Si Shi” education was initially aimed at party members and cadres, as an important part of the Party’s theoretical education, and the spirit of party education. It is a compulsory course for party members and cadres, to carry out patriotism education. Through the “Si Shi” education, to help the masses of party members and cadres to further enhance the “four consciousness”, strengthen “four matters of confidence”, work according to the requirements of “two maintenance”. As the main front of propagating the Party’s ideological and political theory, colleges and universities are duty-bound to carry out the “Si Shi” education in the ideological and political classes, which is not only an important political task to strengthen the Party’s ideological and theoretical construction, but also an effective way to achieve better achievements in the moral education of colleges and universities.
At present, as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, great changes have taken place both at home and abroad. Various thoughts of thought are stirring and ideological struggle has never been more severe. In the face of such great changes, the majority of young students’ values and views on history have not been formed yet, and they lack the ability to distinguish rationally. Their cognition and interpretation of party history and national history may fall into the mire of historical nihilism and cannot get rid of it by themself. Well, “Historical nihilism is a kind of wrong ideological trend in the ideological area in our country since the reform and opening up, through negation of the people’s revolutionary history and the history of the communist party of China, and then refuting the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the guidance of Marxism, the socialist road and the people’s democratic dictatorship, trying to achieve the purpose of changing the banner of socialism by making a mess of history.” (Yang, 2016: p. 110). Especially, although spread and obtain useful knowledge become unprecedented convenience in the information age, it also facilitates the fabrication and dissemination of false historical knowledge, thus causing adverse effects. For example, there have been some remarks which are disseminated widely in some media especially on the Internet. The persons who released some comments aimed at discrediting, distorting and defaming the history of the Communist Party of China, the State of New China, the history of Reform and Opening up, the history of development of Socialism. It is easy to mislead some young students’ cognition and have a negative impact on their view of history.
As is known to all, the view of history is an important basis for young students’ world outlook, outlook on life and values. And the consequences will be very serious if the direction of the education of “Si Shi” is wrong. One of the consequences is that there will be a great possibility to shake the mainstream ideology of the whole society, and the country’s own security cannot be guaranteed, and the ruling position of the Party cannot be consolidated. Therefore, carry out the teaching of “Si Shi” among college students is a golden key to help young students clarify the historical position, grasp the trend of The Times and solve the current ideological cognition problems, and eliminate the bad influence of the wrong historical trend of thought and the cultural phenomenon such as historical nihilism. So, the colleges and universities of China must strengthen the teaching of “Si Shi”, to make the education of “Si Shi” fully integrate the teaching of ideological and political course. It is better to help students understand and appreciate these historical knowledge and correctly understand the path that China is on. In this way, the ideological and political course teachers can really help students to set up the correct view of history. To guide the youths to establish the historical and political identification of their country’s political system and social system is an important work and task for colleges and universities in the construction of the ideological and political theory.
The education of “Si Shi” not only needs colleges and universities to carry out, but also needs specific ideological and political courses to carry out. “Outline of Chinese Modern and Contemporary History” (“Outline” as follows) is a ideological and political course based history. This course plays an irreplaceable role in carrying out patriotism education for college students and helping them clarify the development of Chinese Modern and Contemporary History. Therefore, “Outline” should explore the effective way of integrating education of “Si Shi” into classroom teaching deeply and construct a new mode of educating youths with history, especially in the current ideological and political course reform and innovation practice.
2. Accurately Grasp the Political Nature of the Education of “Si Shi” and Optimize the Teaching Content Rationally
The history of the Party, the history of the State, the history of reform and opening up, and the history of Socialism is mainly about the history since the founding of the Communist Party of China which united and leaded the Chinese people to resist foreign aggression, strive for national independence and realize people’s liberation and the great rejuvenation of the nation. Therefore, the first thing that “Outline” teachers need to grasp accurately is that the education of “Si Shi” and the “Outline” course have the same nature, they are both not simple history teaching. Both of these courses are political education carried out with history as the carrier, and their highlight is the shaping of correct historical view. And, just because of this, the fundamental purpose of carrying out the teaching of “Si Shi” in colleges and universities is to guide the students to have a deep understanding of the development context of Chinese Modern and Contemporary History. It’s very important to tell them why Chinese people have chosen Marxism, the Communist Party of China and the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics through the education of history.
As “Outline” teachers, first of all, should study and have a further research about “Si Shi” by themself. In addition, the teachers have to understand and absorb the latest research at home and abroad, and constantly provide new materials, new results, new arguments for the teaching of “Si Shi” during the pre-course preparation.
The teachers can create a high-quality ideological and political teaching when they combine teaching with research better, and thereby constantly improve their teaching quality.
Of course, the persons who studied “Si Shi” may not be all Chinese. However, as a ideological and political course teacher, must firmly grasp the rights of narrative and discourse to study and research, and to make China’s own voice heard around the world. The education of “Si Shi” is related to popularize the socialist system with Chinese characteristics to the public at home and abroad. And, it’s an important event to tell Chinese stories well, innovate the discourse system of Chinese philosophy and social sciences, and to contribute wisdom to the country’s development.
In the specific teaching practice, teachers should give full play to the important role of the education of “Si Shi” in guiding the overall situation and further optimize and reasonably arrange the teaching content of the “Outline” course.
There are five courses of ideological and political theory in total, each of which has undertaken some tasks about the education of history view and patriotism for college students. In order to fully implement the education of the “Si Shi”, the “Outline” course is very important. As a special ideological and political course taking advantage of history education, the “Outline” course is mainly taught the history of resisting foreign aggression, overthrowing reactionary rule, striving for national independence and people’s liberation, and realizing national rejuvenation, national prosperity and people’s happiness on the path of socialism since modern China. It should be said that the teaching content of the “Outline” course has actually covered the “Si Shi”, so it is the main channel and front for the ideological and political course to carry out the “Si Shi” education in colleges and universities. However, the content of the development history of socialism is slightly weak. The current teaching materials and specific teaching contents of the “Outline” course are mainly based on the important historical documents and conclusions of the Party to present and evaluate the history of reform and opening up. But, the latest research results about the history of the Party, the history of the New China and the history of reform and opening up have not been timely incorporated into teaching materials and teaching contents. In this way, the magnificent history of reform and opening up as a “great awakening”, “great creation”, “great revolution”, “great leap” cannot be got comprehensive specific, vivid reflection in the ideological and political course teaching process (Song & Liao, 2020: pp. 24-29).
In order to solve these problems, teachers should make reasonable optimization in the teaching process, make up for shortcomings, integrate the “Si Shi” teaching with existing teaching contents, and put the “Si Shi” teaching into practice.
3. Make Full Use of Local Red Historical and Cultural Resources, with “Si Shi” as the Guide, Tell Red Stories Well
The ideological and political education activities carried out by the use of red resources, namely the ideological and political education activities of red resources are essentially ideological education (Li, 2013: p. 48). The fundamental purpose of the education of the “Si Shi” is exploring the resources of red culture, inheriting red genes, telling Chinese stories well, and cultivating patriotism. The history of the Communist Party of China since its birth is a history of revolution, construction, and reform that led the Chinese people to work tirelessly to realize the “Chinese Dream”. Many precious red cultural resources have been left throughout the motherland. The resources contain great patriotism and revolutionary spirit. In carrying out the “Si Shi” teaching, in addition to the theoretical teaching of teachers in the classroom, more attention should also be paid to the discovery of red cultural resources in the location of the university. Students can be brought to the red memorial venues to carry out on-site teaching, through historical situations created. And the teachers tell local red history to educate persons, quote typical cases around them to impress people. This will make the “Outline” teaching alive and achieve the teaching purpose of educating people through history.
4. Keep Pace with the Times and Explore New Teaching Methods Actively for the “Si Shi” Teaching in the Information Age
At the current stage, the vast majority of college students are “post-90s”and “post-00s”. They are deeply affected by globalization, informatization and social transformation. They have more active thinking, and their awareness of rights, equality, and self-awareness has increased significantly. In their lives, decentralization and fragmentation are obvious. They can easily be misled by some incorrect interpretations and misunderstandings about the “Si Shi” on the Internet, and forming a wrong view of history. As the builders and successors of socialism in China, contemporary young people are living in the best era of our country and shoulder the historical mission of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The “Si Shi” education in colleges and universities is to guide students to understand their own historical mission deeply, to better grasp the current trend of China’s development, to establish their own sense of mission, to consciously connect their aspirations with the destiny of the country and the nation, and to realize the organic combination of individual success and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Therefore, “Outline “course teachers should keep pace with The Times, study hard and make good use of modern internet technology, reform the traditional lecturing teaching method, and explore the new teaching mode fully that “teachers as the leader and students as the main body “ in order to carry out the “Si Shi” education in the information age. In the process of educating people, teachers should try to use internet technology to create a virtual simulation historical situation for students. The virtual experience mode in virtual practical teaching allows college students to feel more vividly behind the theory of ideological and political theory course content which contains the historical accumulation, cultural heritage and spiritual power, thus promoting college students’ learning interest and enthusiasm (Liu & Shen, 2020: p. 68). In an information society today, teachers should also explore and build a hybrid teaching mode combining online and offline actively, and try to use some social software such as QQ, WeChat, open the “Si Shi” knowledge column on weibo, etc., to carry out online communication with students, so as to achieve the teaching purpose of emotional appeal and moral education.
History is the best textbook. In the new era of globalization and information technology, integrating the education of “Si Shi” into the class of “Outline” will help the contemporary Chinese college students establish a correct view of history and further enhance the sense of historical responsibility and mission of young students. The teachers of “Outline” course should first accurately grasp the political nature of “Si Shi” education in order to achieve this aim. Secondly, in the specific teaching practice, teachers should take the “Si Shi” teaching as the guidance, fully highlight the history of the party and the country, and conduct targeted criticism of the historical nihilism in the field of “Si Shi”. Through these works, teachers can help college students to clarify the historical development, grasp the laws of history, and guide the vast number of young students to know history and patriotism. Furthermore, teachers should use practical teaching flexibly in addition to traditional theoretical teaching in order to effectively integrate the “Si Shi” education into the “Outline” teaching. For example, ideological and political courses can explore local red cultural resources, tell Chinese stories well with local red classics, infect people with cases around them, and educate people fully reflected the emotional and historical education of “Si Shi”. Finally, teachers of the “Outline” course should also try and explore new ideological and political teaching methods actively in the information age, and use cloud classrooms to create a new ideological and political teaching model of online and offline combination.
This article is one of the achievements supported by the project Research and Reform of education and teaching (2020-2022) of Sichuan University of Arts and Science. The research project is “The Construction and Implementation of the Collective Lesson Preparation Mode of Ideological and Political Theory course in Colleges and Universities—Taking the Outline course as an example” (2020JY001).
 Song, J., & Liao, Y. J. (2020). Thinking about Blending Education of History of the Communist Party of China, the People’s Republic of China, Reform and Opening-Up, the Development of Socialism into the System of Teaching of Ideological and Political Theory Courses, Ideological & Theoretical Education.