Education About Asia

Engaging Inner-City Students in East Asian Studies: Martial Arts, Warriors, and Gender

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For the past two years, I have taught high school students from urban schools in Chicago that were targeted by the University of Illinois at Chicago as a part of the Transforming Roadblocks into Opportunities (TRiO)Academic Support Program. Students who come from low-income families, families with no college graduates, or who are individuals with learning disabilities can participate in the program and may bring their brothers and sisters. My students are African-American and Hispanic, and the high schools they attend are riddled with violence. Classrooms are often disorganized or targeted as turnaround schools where the staff is replaced by Chicago Public Schools. The goal of the TRiO program is to prepare students upon high school graduation to enter college by providing various academic activities, including trips to visit colleges and universities. Students participating in the program have been able to turn the odds around and go on to undergraduate and graduate schools, as well as come back to teach!