Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Action Plan for Secondary Teachers around the World to Teach about China and the Asian Other in 2008

Action Plan for East Asia to be Integrated more into School Curricula

Kevin Stoda, Across Curriculum—Literature, Language, and Social Studies—
10th & 11th Grades, Dasman School (KUWAIT) and Midwestern High Schools (9 to 12th grades)


Not only are curriculum, instruction, and assessment important to what we teach, how we teach, and how we about measuring and observing what learning is going on in- and out of the classroom, as instructors, we also need to focus on choosing content which is empowering for our students.

Over the past decade I have written and presented workshops on the empowering aspects of focusing on the role of “outsider” when aiding L2 learners to step into the shoes of the other. This enables the language learner to focus on empathetic relationships to language and culture of the other who may or may not speak the target language very well.

Earlier this spring, I noted at the republishing of my paper, “Image of L2 Learner as Outsider” that “[a]n individual who is considered an outsider is defined as such by living a lifestyle or representing a race or culture that is considered by those in power to be outside the established order, particularly someone who ignores (or seems to ignore) or challenges social norms. Foreign and second language educators should especially focus on the perspective of the outsider (1) in organizing classes and in order to (2) select written and spoken texts with the perspective of the outsider in mind—for use in reading, viewing and discussion. These authentic texts, when focusing ‘on the perspective of the outsider’, help students to internalize cross-cultural information when presented in realistic exchanges and in authentic communication for those students trying to comprehend and internalize cultural and language cues.”

Further, in presenting the following action plan, I will also emphasize the role that popular images, paintings, and photos play in our interpretation of the other—especially when we language learners and instructors perceive the other to be someone outside our personal cultural-language worldviews.


In selecting or developing “outsider” related materials, we teachers can also be responsible for expanding and focusing on other targets across the curriculum, especially in extending both reading and vocabulary skills in all disciplines.

In this plan of action , one of the primary foci is on how Americans relate to the Asian other and how the Asian other likely perceives Americans and non-Chinese. Finally, professional development for educators is further encouraged. This should lead to requests for expansion of library and media (or other materials, including online materials but also primary sources and visuals in print), which both teachers and students can share with each other, with their peers or families, and with the greater learning community and public in which we serve.

Shared experiences across the curriculum are important and topics related to the Asian and American-Asian experiences are timely as intolerance is often cultivated when political economic times are tough and uncertainty is high. The rise in competition between Asia and the USA in terms of markets and demand on resources is only one aspect of the relationship which needs to be considered.

The three types of shared experience I focus on in this action plan are: (1 ) an example of a classroom excursion, (2) literature and media with an Asian face from the Western perspective, and (3) images from Asia viewing the West over the recent centuries.


In the bibliography I have compiled a great number of images from all over the net. These images generally show various East Asian Views of the West (and intra-East Asian perspectives). However, a few are done by Westerners in sympathy with the East Asian positions. (Can the students decided which style of painting or drawings are done by a Westerner—and not an East Asian artist or photographer?)

These many images can certainly be a great source for class discussion about imagery of the other in popular media and art.

Such a discussion will likely hit home more if American students were asked to view the critical reflections shown in Shimomura’s artwork (discussed below) in conjunction with such discussion and research.

Finally, one line of on-line research I suggest for students would be to look at various (selected) images from the bibliographic category of images listed at the end of this action plan and ask the students to determine in which era each of the images are from. Many pictures and styles clearly come from certain historical eras or periods, i.e. during the Cold War, during the age of European Imperialism or 21s Century history various images are favored over others.

(1) Are the images from some time in the 19th or 20th Century or do they more represent the status quo in 2008?

In addition, (2) students should be encouraged to journal or write about what their own image of East Asia are before proceeding too far along on how East Asians view others. This might be done after viewing some of Shimomura’s work.

(3) Comparing and contrasting certain images could become a topic of one of the student’s power point presentations later in the year.


Likewise, we educators need to deal with other East Asian related literature discussed in this University of Kansas online seminar (EALC 747/HIST 747 course). I personally plan to continue to expose future students to international issues, ideas of faith, religion, and philosophy (as well as history, literature, and culture) in months as well as years to come. Moreover, I would advocate that all school libraries purchase some of the books (noted below) which we have read in this seminar.

If possible, in the area of world literature, some of these books are likely to become classics for the age groups targeted. Specifically, I plan to begin to assign parts of these books to my students for class discussion in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12--i.e. along with our regular course readings.

To elucidate further why and how this particular East Asian literature fits in well with (or compliments) my current curricular development needs, I should explain that 10th and 11th grade students whom I will be teaching this next year (i.e. a high school in Kuwait using current U.S. school curriculum standards) must read (1) Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe’s THINGS FALL APART, (2) Franz Kafka’s METAMORPHIS, and (3) Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD.

In Lee’s classic story, the first person narrative of a child, a tom-boy nicknamed Scout, is used throughout the tale. This is important because students can often quickly identify or empathize with someone speaking in first person who is nearer to their age and is speaking in a relaxed (but insightful) manner about a world which adults and ancestors have bequeathed her (their own) generation.

This similar technique is use in all three young adult books which were required reading for this Teaching East Asian seminar (EALC 747/HIST 747 course). :
Alan Gratz’s, Samurai Shortstop, Penguin Group, 2006.
Richard E. Kim, Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, U. of California Press, 1998.

Whelan, Gloria , Chu Ju’s House, HarperCollins, 2004.
Further Gratz and Whelan’s work are fictional historical pieces, just as Harper Lee’s MOCKING BIRD and Achebe’s FALL APART are. (Only Kim’s NAMES is an autobiographical work.)

Two of these Asian books, Kim’s NAMES and Gratz’s SHORTSTOP, also focus on a (1) particular time in the modern era and on (2)restricted geographical settings. Gratz looks at Tokyo, Japan of the late 19th Century just as Chinua Achebe’s FALL APART looks at two villages situated in rural Nigeria of the 19th century (as European colonialism transforms one tribal village after another). Meanwhile Kim looks at rural Korea of the 1930s & 1940s. (Kim is also looking at life in colonial Japan .) Finally, Harper focuses only on Maycombe County Alabama of the 1930s.

NOTE: Kafka looks at Prague of the 1910s and 1920s and paints a European landscape on the verge of the collapse as the international liberal capitalism of the prior two centuries will collapse in the coming decade. Meanwhile, Whelan focuses on 1980s China after the virtual collapse of the political and socio-economic world of Mao’s attempts at permanent communism and revolution: Chu Ju, the main character of Whelan’s writing, spends her childhood in a restricted rural setting.

In all these stories children are shown growing up under a system of change and facing societal pressures to conform to the world left to them as their destiny. A good didactically sound and spirited of discussion, research and student centered presentations should provide insight for all teenagers (and teachers) handling such material. Finally, writing assignments inevitably invite creativity and discussion of

“What would you do if you were __ X__ in that situation?”
will be beneficial to students and educators.

In short, times of change and instability are awaiting the readers when they approach the materials and historical eras discussed in all these books and in viewing these images. Curricula designers around the world and in the USA need to take both a global as well as local approach to such topics and educational materials and literature.

The Asian experience cannot (or must not) be left out of this reading experience.

I intend to drum up support for a fuller integration of Asian experience into curricular developments wherever I labor in years ahead. Along with advocating more literature with an Asian face for purchase by school libraries, I will ask computer and other departments across the curriculum work on developing more Asian oriented lesson plans in this 3rd Millennium. Fo example, research about online Asian Art exhibitions can provide great potential for Teacher-to-teacher dialogue in a variety of disciplines. Progress in course development related to teaching Asian are essential for long term changes to take shape.


I. INDIVIDUAL PAINTINGS & Images reflecting Chinese Views on America and West

America Discovered in 1421

British Imperialism

Captain America

China Dragon and relations with American Forex

China sees Rising Sun on West

Dial 911 for America - Dashanzi – Beijing

East Meets West

European Imperialism

Female Chinese/Western Warrior

Mainstream Chinese TV program on Nickolodean

New Rules of Imperialism

School Debate on American Culture in China

State of SinoAsia Relationship
Note: In most cases, I recommend censoring this particular image of Kenneth Shang—even though it is painted by a Chinese citizen!!! ( I leave it this action plan because some students doing research will certainly come across it if they look under terms of stereotypes and images of China and America. I am simply forewarning the instructor.)

Western Imperialism


2008 Paintings at the Guizou Painting Academy

Anti-US Political Cartoons 1958-1960

The Paintings of Zhang Hongnian,

III. IRONIC IMAGES FOR DISCUSSION in Media on China and America

American in China

British Imperialism

Chinese as Fans of American Culture

Chinese face mask today

Chinese meets Chinese American

The Colonel as Standard Barer

Heroic Chinese War Imagery

Made In America

Mainstream Chinese TV program on Nickelodeon


One View on China

School Debate on American Culture in China

Ying yang

Western Imperialism

IV. JAPAN & IMAGERY with or of the Other

Anti-Communist imagerey
Images of the Floating World Ukiyoe,
Is this me?

Japan, please tell me your opinion of ____.

Map: How Japan Sees America,


American (definition in Korean)

The Good Neighbor,
Korean American Mission …Christian,

Korea Cartoons,
Korea and the Republicans,
Korean-American Association,

Koreans Hate Mad-Cow,
Possible Free Trade Agreement,

VI. ENTIRE Exhibitions related to Asians as Outsiders & Overseas American stereotypes

Images of the Floating World Ukiyoe,

List and links of some collections

On-Line Museums of Asian Art



Gratz, Alan, Samurai Shortstop, Penguin Group, 2006.

Park, Linda Sue, When My Name was Keoko, Clarion Books, 2002.

Qiao, Li, Wintry Night, (translated) Columbia University Press, 2002.

Whelan, Gloria, Chu Ju’s House, HarperCollins, 2004.


Carpenter, TedGalen, “Taiwan’s View of America and Coming War with China”,

Bacon, Alice M. “How Japanese ladies Go Shopping, 1890”,

“Chinese consulate: How the Chinese See Americans”,

“How the World Sees America”,

Kim, Richard, Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, U. of California Press, 1998

Seldon, Mark, “Japanese and American War Atrocities”,

Tappan, Eva March, “Sir Edwin Arnold, A Japanese Dinner Party, 1890 ”,


The New Yorker’s View of America,

Retribution, The Juiling Chronicles,

Shambaugh, David L. Beautiful Imperialist: China Perceives America, 1972-1990
Princeton University Press, 1991

Stoda, Kevin, “The Imagery of the Outsider in Literature, Media and Society: ‘It’s Affect on Second Language Acquisition”,

Stoda, Kevin, (March 13, 2002) Presentation on the "Second Language Learner as Outsider" at THE OUTSIDER 2002 Conference for the Society of the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery by the Society, Colorado


An example of what needs to be done educationally (especially in terms of public education and in terms of appreciating hidden concepts relayed through art would be found in Roger Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril”, which has been touring in 2007-2008 in Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. The works are a retrospective of one Japanese-American artist. The imagery is built on numerous topics and themes of Shimomura’s personal experiences in his homeland over the last 70-plus years.
Even overseas students, such as those I teach in Kuwait, can view many of Shimomura—a third generation American of Japanese descent—on line.

Especially of interest to educators in viewing such a retrospective are topics which many non-Asians have barely been subjected to in their educational experience. This has been because U.S. and European experiences and international narration have dominated the global political scene and textbooks until well into the late 20th century. These caricatures of Shimomura include images of prejudiced and racial characterizations of Asians, i.e. focusing on oversimplification of Asians through manga-like imagery in areas of politics, faith, traditions, and society ( , especially as is relevant to us in dealing with cross-cultural education and training).

Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril” was shown in Joplin , Missouri from June 14- August1, 2008. A pamphlet explains, that Shimomura is “[u]sing woodblock prints and Pop Art Style in . . . unforgettable commentary on stereotyping, prejudice and the Asian American experience.”

Roger Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril”,

Roger Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril”,

Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril”



Blogger Get Accepted said...

This article is a boon to the REAL teachers. Keep it up! Do this for ever. Thanks.

education,teachers, principals, college, coaching

6:18 AM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

I'm glad you like it. I am told that Stanford Univeristy is offering online courses for instructors interested in this topic. KAS

11:40 AM  

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