Increasingly, Asian history, culture, language, and politics are being integrated into the K-12 curriculum in schools across the nation. Many teachers are now teaching subjects, then, in which they received little or no training while in college. Fortunately, however, centers for the study of Asia at universities around the country have, under the auspices of Title VI of the Higher Education Act, established National Resource Centers (NRCs). One of the nine programs within the Center for International Education of the U.S. Department of Education, NRCs support improvement of university library collections, academic research by faculty, language instruction, and curriculum development, as well as promote outreach to K-12, community college, and four-year college teachers. These outreach efforts take the form of information, lesson plans, learning opportunities, and instructional materials about Asia. There are currently fifteen NRCs for East Asia, nine for South Asia, and six for Southeast Asia. (note 1) The centers are scattered around the country, and while many provide some services nationwide, most outreach programs focus primarily on assisting teachers and professors in their own regions.
Perhaps most immediately useful to teachers are the curriculum guides, lesson plans, and resource materials offered, usually for a nominal charge or free, by many of these centers. The South Asian Center at Syracuse University, for example, provides teaching kits, some of which include comics from India, for teachers to use in classrooms. The University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana’s Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies also offers a study of cartoons from Japan. At the University of Hawaii’s Southeast Asia Center, they have developed lesson plans (one to two lessons each) on twenty-five different topics, as well as workbooks for high school students on the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia.