A new course on the theory and practice of love that will begin in the spring semester next year at north China's Tianjin University has stirred much controversy. The course will be offered not by the university itself, but by one of its student organizations in order to boost extra-curriculum education and satisfy students' various personal development needs.
The need for such a course has been hotly debated. Some question the validity of the course; others argue that it can help students delve deeper into what love really means; and others want the course to go even further.
Love needn't be taught
Guo Yuanpeng (www.dbw.cn): The timing for the opening of a "love course" is right as many do not know how to love, despite the fact that it should be instinctive in contemporary society. The so-called "leftover" women and men--unmarried people in their late 20s or older--are a big concern for their parents. So this course may equip college students with the skills of love so that they are more capable of finding their better halves.
However, there should not be a set pattern for love and relationships. When romance is treated as a discipline to be taught collectively, it may become as monotonous as buildings in cities. When all the components of falling in love are orchestrated, will it still be wonderful?
More unsettlingly, when people have mastered these skills, they may use them to deceive others. Another problem is that students who have learned the theories would certainly want to put them into practice. Such actions may affect their academic performance. Worse still, when students fall in love for the purpose of practicing learned skills, will there be true, unrequited love?
Love is not simply about techniques. The failure in finding a partner doesn't lie in a lack of techniques; rather too much emphasis has been placed on the material aspects when seeking a partner. High expectations for the economic prosperity of a partner, especially on the part of women, have made it increasingly difficult to be happy in love.
The time for love (courses)
Zhao Lei (The Beijing News ): As a college student, I think that we do need a course on love. For university students who have grown up under an exam-oriented educational system, very few of us have had experience of being in love before entering university. As a result, many of my peers know how to study, but do not know how to even communicate with the opposite sex.
Meanwhile, tragedies on campus such as committing suicide "for love," while frequently covered by the media, are partly due to a lack of education about love itself.
The opening of a love course by Tianjin University represents a meaningful and brave innovation on this subject. Although the course may not be fully developed, it serves to arouse more attention from universities to the emotional education of their students.
Mao Kaiyun (www.china.org.cn): Does love need to be taught? Even high school students know how to fall in love; cannot university students do the same? Yet love is also a kind of profound knowledge that few really understand.
Universities are responsible for cultivating students with independent thinking. They also have the opportunity to teach them practical life skills. Courses on love would not only educate students about how to deal with a romantic relationship and help improve their interpersonal skills, but also provide critical information about sex and morality regarding sex.
The forward-thinking approach of Tianjin University is innovative and should be supported and welcomed by society rather than being suppressed.
Tao Wuning (www.ncwm.gov.cn): For university students whose view of life and its values are premature, their romantic relationships are often fragile. Therefore, it is necessary and important for Tianjin University to establish a course on love to ensure that students' relationships are developed in the right direction.
The new course will not be conducted in a teacher-dominated environment, but in a group discussion format, which will provide a platform for students to brainstorm on the methods of communicating in a relationship. It will also encourage students to learn traditional virtues such as respect. Students will learn through the course that they should respect each other and assume moral responsibilities in a relationship in order to allow their love to promote both their study and careers.
The theories to be taught such as love psychology and economics will inform students of the building blocks of a successful romantic relationship. In addition, social etiquette training and other practical lessons will enable students to contain emotions with rationality and restrain their behaviors with morals.
Zhao Hongxin (Beijing Morning News ): Setting up courses on love has become a new trend in universities. However, much needs to be done to make the course more complete.
The content of the course needs to be expanded. In addition to dealing with issues involved in the process of falling in love, the course should also include knowledge on marriage and family building. In the meantime, as the lesson is a division of social psychology, a more complete system of love courses should be established to satisfy college students' demands.
The evaluation of students in such courses should attach more importance to practice as opposed to theory. Students who have been able to find a suitable partner with the help of the courses can be given a full score on the precondition of meeting other requirements, as Tianjin University promises to do.
Also, more educational resources need to be explored as the number of teachers available to conduct such courses is extremely scarce.
Sun Ming (Beijing Daily ): Offering a course on love not only represents big progress in university course reform, but also showcases the educational concept of putting students first. A love course cannot solve all kinds of problems existent in a relationship; however, it can at least inspire students to want to fall in love.
To make it even more effective, universities should continue to improve the course. In addition to encouraging students to have discussions in class, they could also hire marriage experts from matchmaking agencies as advisors.
Love courses should not only be about relationship skills but also about psychology, marriage and sexual psychology. Moreover, the necessary psychological counseling should be given to try to solve challenges the students are facing. Then these courses could become an effective method of emotional education and personality training.
Mao Jianguo (Zhongshan Daily ): Some college students do have problems getting along with other people. It's not that they don't know how to fall in love, but that they don't know how to get to know the opposite sex. From this perspective, it is necessary to train students on such a topic.
However, what can be taught through a love course seems to be too limited. A student who has difficulty getting along with others doesn't only have problems in romance, but also in other aspects. Students often have low emotional quotient (EQ), which is a measure of a person's competence in areas such as self-awareness, empathy, and dealing sensitively with other people.
Many college students are lagging behind in EQ, exemplified by the fact that they are not accustomed to getting in contact with other people or have difficulties in doing so. The development of a person's EQ should have started from an early age; however, many primary and secondary schools have ignored the training of this quality by adopting an exam-oriented approach. So universities offer a good opportunity to make up for one's development.
EQ education should be accorded more priority because it is broader in scope, covering both relationships and social education. Teaching love from the perspective of EQ can achieve better effects and enable university students to get along well with their peers.
Copyedited by Mara Lee Durrell
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