A hallmark of Confucius" thought is his emphasis on education and study. Study, for Confucius, meant finding a good teacher and imitating his words and deeds. A good teacher was someone older who was familiar with the ways of the past and the practices of the ancients. While he sometimes warned against excessive reflection and meditation, Confucius" position appears to be a middle course between studying and reflecting on what one has learned. He who learns but does not think is lost. He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
Confucius is willing to teach anyone, whatever their social standing, as long as they are eager and tireless. He taught his students morality, proper speech, government, and the refined arts. Confucius" pedagogical methods are striking. He never discourses at length on a subject. Instead he poses questions, cites passages from the classics, or uses apt analogies, and waits for his students to arrive at the right answers.
Confucius" goal is to create gentlemen who carry themselves with grace, speak correctly, and demonstrate integrity in all things.
Confucius did not put into writing the principles of his philosophy; these were handed down only through his disciples, with most collected in the Analects of Confucius (Lun Yu). It made Confucius the model of courtliness and personal decorum for countless generations of Chinese officials.