Finding Fault for Different Reasons: A Media Word Analysis Concerning the Coward Teacher

By Bruce Kuiper.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

On May 12, 2008, a high school teacher by the name of Fan Meizhong abandoned his students in the middle of a horrific earthquake to, as he later said, preserve his own life. The worldwide outcry against this teacher seemed fairly universal, but a word analysis of online media concerning this event shows that the reasons various cultures all came to this same conclusion differed greatly. The analysis shows that China’s media decried Fan Meizhong for his failing to live up to Confucian ideals of what a teacher should be, and American and European media faulted him for not acting according to proper individual standards. Such differences, although ultimately coming to the same conclusion, show key cultural differences that can help us communicate more effectively between various groups.

Keywords: Teacher, Coward, Word Analysis, Media, Culture, Earthquake, Fan Meizhong, China Media, U.S. Media

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.157-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 594.283KB).

Bruce Kuiper

Assistant Professor, Communication, Dordt College, Sioux Center, IA, USA

Bruce Kuiper currently teaches in the Communication Department at Dordt College (Sioux Center, IA; USA). Focusing especially on cross-cultural issues we all face in our daily communication, he has been working to develop overall cultural awareness on the college campus. He has taught a wide variety of courses in many parts of the world, including six years in China and several years in Minnesota. The father of two and husband of one, he is vitally interested in the way in which our communication affects all aspects of our lives. He has presented papers in Hong Kong and Thailand on the cross-cultural issues involved in Asian and American relationships, as well as collaborated on researching the involvement of Americans in Tibet.


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