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Teaching About Asia - November 2007

USCI's monthly e-newsletter on news and resources for teaching about Asia
November 1, 2007

For most teachers, spring begins in January with a new semester and new opportunities for professional development.  The USC U.S.-China Institute is happy to announce that we have plans underway for implementing our "East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" teacher training seminar in the Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and Long Beach areas this spring. The 36-hour seminar, which upon successful completion provides a generous stipend and grants for reference materials, focuses on helping teachers incorporate East Asian materials into their curricula in new and exciting ways.  For additional information, please see below or visit the "Asia in the K-12 curriculum" section of our website.

This issue's special focus is on resources for teaching about Asia.  One of the newest and most exciting comes courtesy of USC students in the form of US-China Today, our newly launched student-driven e-magazine.  Reporting on the evolving U.S.-China relationship and the latest political, economic, social, and cultural developments in contemporary China, US-China Today is a great resource for current event-related assignments and classroom discussions.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe (go to our newsletter subscription page and select the “K-12 Education” subscriber category). As always, we welcome your feedback - please write to us at

In this issue:


♦  NCTA Seminars - Spring 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute (USCI) is committed to improving teaching about China and the rest of Asia. Together with the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), college and university partners and California school districts, we offer professional development seminars to help teachers bring more of Asia to their students.

For Spring 2008, we will be holding the "East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" seminar in conjunction with the Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley and Long Beach school districts.  Locations and dates will be finalized and announced in December.

"East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" at a glance:

Duration: 36 hours
Eligibility: Open to all; priority enrollment for World History and Language Arts teachers
Class size: 25 teachers per seminar
Seminar focus:  1) Helping teachers address CA educational standards by exploring East Asian history and culture; 2)  Using new media resources to develop East Asia-focused lesson materials
Upon sucessful completion of seminar and follow-up requirements, individuals are eligible to receive:
    →  $500 stipend
    →  $200 in East Asian referene and teaching materials
    →  $300 school library grant for East Asia-focused materials
    →  Two LAUSD salary points or six USC continuing education units
Seminar topicsEast Asia: Geography/Early East Asia, East Asia since 1900, Cosmopolitan East Asia, Women in East Asian History, Chinese Philosophy, Late Imperial China, Classical and Warrior Japan, The Meiji Restoration, Japanese Literature, Using Poetry; New Media: Web Research, Web Collaboration, Web Page Design

For additional information, including details on past seminars, speaker biographies and CA educational standards, please visit the Asia in the K-12 Curriculum section of our website.

♦  Teachers in the News

 •  World Teachers' Day 2007

From the UNESCO education website:

"October 5 - Global - World Teachers' Day, held annually on 5 October since 1994, commemorates teachers’ organizations worldwide. Its aim is to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers. This year, the focus will be on working conditions: teachers, students and their communities all around the world are urged to get the message across that better working conditions for teachers mean better learning conditions for learners."  Read more...

♦  USCI in the Classroom

 •  US-China Today

Our newly launched student-driven e-magazine focuses on the multidimensional and evolving U.S.-China relationship with coverage of and commentary on a wide range of political, economic, social, and cultural issues.  Some recent headlines:

→  Chinese Musical Hybrid is Winning Fans
→  Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink
→  Coming to America: The Story of Chinese Immigrants

To read these features, as well as browse daily summaries of China-related stories in the international media, visit the US-China Today website at

•  "On an Average Day" 

Did you know that on an average day in China:

→  135,416 new cell phones are registered
→  1.2 billion text messages were sent
→  An internet user surfs the net for approximately 2.2 hours


Using statistics to explore the often astounding developments in contemporary China, "On An Average Day" stories provide great discussion starters in the classroom.  For the full story list, visit our Resources page and click on the "Average Day" tab.

♦  Additional Resources for Teaching about Asia

•  New York Times Learning Network

The NYT On the Web Learning Network provides developed lesson plan units that use recent NYT articles as springboards for examining curricular topics.  The lessons are listed in reverse chronological order based on the stories' publication dates, and the China-specific page can be found here.  Some recent activities include:

→  Splitting the Motherland? - Examining points of view in the debate over Tibetan independence
→  Gauging Beijing - Using institutional analysis methods to evaluate China’s preparedness for the 2008 Olympics
→  Anger and Aggravation in Asia - Examining the relationships among China, Japan and Korea through multi-layered timelines

•  Asian Educational Media Service

Published by the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, AEMS catalogues and reviews multimedia resources for learning and teaching about Asia.  E-mail to be placed on the mailing list.  Some recent features:

→  China and India DVDs for kids
→  Teaching about Bunraku (Japanese puppet theater)
→  Review of Vietnamese film "Buffalo Boy"

•  Asia Society

The Asia Society offers a variety of resources for educators on the teacher resource portion of their website, including an extensive selection of maps and images that are searchable by grade, era and region.

•  Got a good tip on teaching resources? 

→  E-mail us and we will share it in the next issue

♦  Teachers on Asia

•  Asia in My Classroom Discussion Forum

Teachers of all levels and subjects are invited to join our "Asia in My Classroom" forum. To become a registered user (enabling you to post to the board), please e-mail us your request along with your name, school, and the grades and subjects you teach.  These are just a few of the topics teachers have been discussing:

→  From a review of the documentary "Please Vote for Me" about democratic class elections at an elementary school in Wuhan, China:  "The film is both a fascinating look at how democracy plays out in its purest form with children who have few preconceived notions of voting, fairplay, and winning by merit alone. It's also a fascinating look at Chinese culture and how children are treated (and treat) their parents.  It was a hysterical and sometimes shocking view of democracy!"
- Amanda Ronan, Larchmont Charter School

→  On using Japanese manga (comics) to teach writing:  "...[by] whiting out the bubbles and having the students write the dialogue between characters...Would the characters take on a different persona, depending on the type of cartoons presented to them? And how will it differ [between my Asian and non-Asian students]? How would 'Doraemon' be received as opposed to 'Far Side?'"

-Sarah Eun, Larchmont Charter School

→  Where to find popular East Asia film and music online:  "If you're wondering where to buy film or music by Asian artists is the site for you. I've used this site to purchase films and CDs from my favorite Hong Kong stars. Their prices are very decent and they have a wide selection of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese films, TV drama and series, music and even anime."

- Mimy Mac, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies


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USC U.S. - China Institute

3535 S. Figueroa Street, FIG 202
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1262
United States of America

phone: 213-821-4382
fax: 213-821-2382