What Could We Teach About Asia in Elementary, Middle and High School
In the elementary school classroom we should seek first to interest and fascinate the students and make them want to learn more about Asia. One way to do this, is to make Asia relevant to their daily lives (Asia teaching idea #1). Second, we should teach them the elements of geography so that a map of Asia is not strange and exotic but an understandable part of the world. (Asia teaching idea #2). Third, we might pick one or two of the best known countries of Asia such as China, Japan, India, and learn about their culture: religion, festivals, music, etc. (Asia teaching idea #3).
In the middle school classroom we should seek to build upon the interest in and knowledge of Asia begun in elementary school. The primary goal should be to learn about the peoples of Asia: their ways of life, their customs, their languages, their values: religion and philosophy, their family structure, etc (Asia teaching idea #4). The focus should be on stressing the oneness of humanity, showing that different languages, customs, physical features, habits, foods, etc, don't change the essential human character we all share. At the same time, students could begin to learn about the problems that Asia countries have: development issues such as access to clean water, education, housing, safe environments, etc. (Asia teaching idea #5). In order to gain a good sense of Asia as a whole, one could divide the class into 4 groups and look at 4 different Asian nations, one from each regional division of Asia. (Asia teaching idea #6).
In the high school classroom, students should engage Asia on a variety of levels. The goal here is to prepare them to take an informed role as citizens and voters, with an understanding of current major issues and their backgrounds as well as a good knowledge of the history and geography of Asia. They could make an in depth study of the history of one or more Asia countries (see individual countries for teaching ideas and information). They could look thematically at the great issues that are involving Asia such as paths to development, environmental concerns, the rise of militant Islam, poverty and child labor (Asia teaching idea #7).
The descriptions and information contained under each country in this website will suggest many more ideas and will provide the background information to allow anyone to teach about Asia. One of the very best sources of information, including many already designed teaching modules, is the Asia society. Each of our country pages is linked to the relevant part of the Asia society's Askasia teaching pages. Each country is also linked to a variety of other web sources which will provide pictures, articles, and other additional information for in dept presentation of many topics.
If you want to learn about Asia and to include it in your classroom teaching on a continuous basis, ask your school to subscribe to Teaching About Asia, a publication of the Association for Asian Studies, that is written by teachers, for teachers. Published three times a year, it is a fantastic source of teaching ideas, teaching lessons, and information by and about, other teachers. To subscribe, please contact: Subscription Department, Education about Asia, 1021 East Huron St. Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104. The current subscription rate is $25.00 for individuals and $31.00 for organizations.