Understanding Chinese Culture in Three Contexts: Empowering American Public School Teachers to Transform Curriculum in Secondary Classrooms
June 26, 2013 – July 31, 2013
Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program, Towson University will provide an immersion experience in Chinese culture for five weeks this summer for twelve public school teachers. The project intends to develop educators’ intercultural competence and enhance social studies curriculum and instruction on China in secondary education classrooms in U.S.A. by expanding their scope of knowledge into a Chinese speaking world that includes Hong Kong and Taiwan in the areas of history, culture, religion, economics, language and educational systems. Teacher participants will work together with Towson University faculty members to design and implement curriculum that accurately reflects Chinese heritage and culture.
The project will consist of three phases. The pre-departure activities are conducted through online learning modules to provide the teacher participants with initial language training, background knowledge and cross-cultural understanding. Following the preparation is a five-week study travel in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan featuring a combination of seminars, intensive language lessons by Chinese experts, work sessions, school and museum visits, as well as cultural excursions to sites that are related to modernization and economic development. The experience in the first two phases will be channeled to developing curriculum units that will be disseminated as a model for the study of the rest of Asia and be incorporated into area studies in K-12 curriculum to broaden students’ understanding of and appreciation for other cultures. As part of the post-departure activities, teacher participants are to finalize, implement and post the units of study accompanied by suggested teaching materials, resources and strategies on a website for all educators to access.