Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching about the Colonial India State and Society with Six Acres and a Third

Six Acres and a Third is an English translation of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s 1902 Odia novel Chha Mana Atha Guntha, a humorous satire set in early nineteenth-century British India. It tells the story of an exploitative moneylender called Ramachandra Mangaraj, who uses the colonial legal system to usurp the properties of people in his rural community, before being ruined by it himself.

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Busy Teacher’s Handbook to Teaching the Zhuangzi

The Zhuangzi ranks amongst the greatest Chinese literary masterpieces. Written in China’s Warring States period (475–221 BCE), its vivid allegories have profoundly influenced the most preeminent of Chinese thinkers for over two millennia. In this essay, I present a sample of the Zhuangzi’s key ideas on life and death, language and knowledge, and time and the universe that will interest the twenty-first century student. I will also provide the classical allegories behind these learning poin...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Contextualizing Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, nominee for the 2017 National Book Award for fiction, is a sweeping historical saga of one family’s experience living as “forever foreigners” in twentieth-century Japan. Despite its heft (496 pages in the hardcover edition), the novel is written in an accessible and engaging style appropriate for both undergraduates and high school students. Moreover, Pachinko is set in a particularly rich era of modern East Asian history, encompassing colonial Korea, World War II...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching about the Comfort Women during World War II and the Use of Personal Stories of the Victims

“Comfort women” refers to the system of sexual slavery created and controlled by the Imperial Japanese government between 1932 and 1945. It is the largest case of government-sponsored human trafficking and sexual slavery in modern history. Many scholars have argued that the term comfort women, a euphemism coined by the Japanese military, obscures the gravity of the crime. While the authors agree that “military sexual slaves” is a much more accurate and appropriate phrase, we use the term...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Using the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index to Teach Social Science: A Plan for a Facilitated Discussion

The Lowy Institute, one of Australia’s most well-regarded think tanks, released its second annual Asia Power Index in May 2019 (available at https://power.lowyinstitute.org). High school and college educators can use this resource to get students doing hands-on explorations of Asian political, military, economic, and diplomatic power using data. Students can learn about Asia while enhancing their data literacy and critical-thinking skills. This essay provides a plan for an interactive discussi...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

EngageAsia: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Creating Transnational Communities

EngageAsia (www.engageasia.org), a New York-based 501(c)(3) non- profit with the mission of building community in the Asia–Pacific through education, was born out of a need for a new organization with Asia-focused teacher professional development at its core, through intensive discussions between its cofounders and inaugural board, and on culling best practices from years of working with US–Japan teacher professional development programs. Most importantly, the creation of this new organizati...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

The Nomads of the Steppe: Resources for Teachers

The nomadic pastoralists of the inner Asian steppe had an impact on history out of all proportion to their small population. The cultures and politics of societies across Asia experienced profound change at their hands. China presents a good example of this phenomenon. The nomads on the steppe posed a perennial challenge to the Chinese political structure, making management of the nomads always one of the chief concerns of every Chinese dynasty. The Great Wall of China is the most famous demo...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching China Through the Lens of Girls’ and Women’s Lives

Illiterate paternal grandparents raised Jin Shan, a teenage girl living in rural China. Her parents, unable to afford milk for their child, had no choice but to become migrant workers when Shan was seven months old. Shan remained behind with her grandparents, who farmed in the town of Xixiashu in Jiangsu Province, and did not live with her parents again until the age of ten. Shan’s experience was not unusual. In fact, it was anything but rare. Her story places her among millions of “left-beh...

Teaching Resources Essay

Leading a Short-Term Study Trip for Students in Japan

The best way for students to study the history, culture, and livelihoods of another country is through an organized in-country experience. There are various benefits that can accrue through such an endeavor. One can learn about a part of the world away from home while at the same time gaining a deeper appreciation of one’s own culture by looking at it from the outside. Ideally, a student will spend a full semester or year studying abroad, but that is a luxury that many cannot afford in terms o...

Online Supplement, Teaching Resources Essay

AP Art History and Chinese Art

The AP art history curriculum identifies 250 works students are required to know, spanning 20,000 years of history and cultures across the globe. The list includes thirty works of Asian art. I teach in a rural fringe district and am committed to giving my students “equal access” to non-Western artistic traditions, and have taken several courses with NCTA, including the 2011 China study tour. My study tour began with Shanghai at night (with its river of lights), the gardens at Hangzhou, Ch...

Teaching Resources Essay

Population Trends and Issues: Bangladesh

In demographic studies, much discussion in academic circles centers around either the challenges faced by aging populations in places such as Japan, Germany, or Italy, or the impacts of pronatal and antinatal policies (policies meant to increase or decrease birthrate), such as China’s One-Child Policy or Australia’s Baby Bonus. With a population in excess of 165 million, Bangladesh is currently the world’s eighth-most populous nation, yet remains largely unknown and misunderstood outside o...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Graduate School Confidential: Misguided First Impressions of Japanese Preschools

I started graduate school in 1980 after living in Japan for four years. In my second semester, a nearby college held a colloquium for business and community leaders in Detroit, Michigan, on “What We Can Learn From Japan.” They asked me to talk about Japanese education, specifically high achievement test scores. There wasn’t much scholarship available on Japanese education then, but after an extensive card catalog search at the University of Michigan library, I discovered some Japanese g...

Teaching Resources Essay

The Great Courses: Books that Matter: The Analects of Confucius

“Imagine a world,” author/narrator Professor Robert André LaFleur suggests, “in which the gift of a book could change your life forever. Imagine a world in which you didn’t just read, but read, reread, read again, and lived a book.” This is the dynamic instruction that drives twenty-four half-hour lectures on Confucius and the Analects for listeners/viewers who are new to, or even those well-acquainted with, the teachings of one of China’s greatest thinkers and educators.

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Challenging the Textbook to Develop Historical Thinking: Inquiry Lessons on the Mongol Invasions and Meiji Japan

Developing lessons and units of study in the current social studies climate requires finding an entry point with a topic that will facilitate an inquiry. One such entry point can be challenging textbook accounts. In Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen describes many of the problems with history textbooks and indicates a need to stop using textbooks as the authoritative source.1 Teaching students how to assess a source’s reliability and usefulness, including textbooks, is a key historical thi...

Teaching Resources Essay

Finding Quiet within the Noise: How Japanese Traditions Can Help Today’s Students

Mindfulness has become trendy around the world in recent years— but in Japan, it’s been ingrained into the culture for centuries. —BBC Travel Contemporary society is beset with physical and digital noise. News media supply a never-ending stream of sensational stories. Cellphones, computers, and video games distract teen and adults constantly, and almost unlimited access to one another through social media sites only increases tensions between and among individuals. It is almost impossi...

Teaching Resources Essay

Message in a Bottle Cap: Stories for All Classes as Told by Korean Art

One tends to gain a more comprehensive understanding of a culture through the close examination of its messages, visualized in the medium of art. This essay will identify several ways in which an investigation of the visual arts can help students explore the impact of past events and understand the influence of contemporary issues on the development of resources and methods of artistic production, using case studies of Korean artwork. Access to this work in Korea, however, has often been limi...

Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching About the 1947 Partition of British India: Literature and Oral History

How do you divide a nation into two respective nation-states? Who is authorized to draw the borders, and what happens to the people on either side of these borders when they resettle due to their religion? How did South Asian literature and oral narrative come to terms with the violence that accompanied decolonization processes after 1947, and why is the history of Partition relevant today? The year 1947 marks Indian Independence from British colonial rule and the Partition of British India into...

Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching East Asia with GIS

Twenty years ago, taking a trip meant gathering the right maps or tracing the itinerary in an atlas. In the classroom, maps have long gone hand in hand with studying history: globes, wall-mounted maps, projected maps—these static images also help students in their journey to understand how events unfold across time and space. Maps are important visual reference points: with them, students can see where history happened and better understand why; for example, maps showing the earliest construct...

Teaching Resources Essay

The Small Islands Debate: Exploring Critical Controversies in Maritime East Asia

Considering Asia’s Maritime Controversies: Why Are Asia’s Maritime Disputes Important? Tensions among East Asian countries have significantly increased during the twenty-first century because of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Sea of Japan. Many serious conflicts about sovereignty over small islands and seabeds exist among China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, along with Việt Nam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. Governments have acted assert...

Teaching Resources Essay

Ai Weiwei: Artist Activist Best Practices for Teaching Modern Art in the History Classroom

Editor’s note: This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA). The work of NCTA is directly related to the theme of this issue, “What Should We Know About Asia?”, and core components of NCTA professional development courses are classroom innovation and implementation, with NCTA teacher-participants developing lesson plans as part of their completion projects. To both commemorate NCTA’s anniversary and, as important, to ...

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