Education About Asia

Helping Students Overcome Fear of “Foreignness” in Teaching Asian Religions

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The study of Asian religions in high school and college survey courses offers both confusion and the possibility of better international understanding. The purpose of this teaching resources essay is to identify potential pit falls to avoid. Although the focus here is on Chinese religions, the likely problem areas and possible instructional solutions are applicable to other belief systems.

A first common problem for students is their concern about the complexity and foreignness of vocabulary. Instructors should quickly deal with this concern by providing context and usage for important terms and communicate that many translations of terms won’t be precise through providing examples.