Empowering American Public School Teachers to Transform Social Studies Curriculum
in Secondary Classrooms: June 24 - July 27, 2018
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 in summer 2018 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 in the areas of history, culture, religion, economics, language, and educational
systems. Teacher participants will work with Towson University faculty members to
design and implement curriculum that accurately reflects Chinese heritage and culture.
The project consists 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 and Hong Kong featuring a combination of seminars, cultural workshops, school
and museum visits, as well as cultural excursions to sites designed to help participants
understand the diversity and complexity of China. As part of the post-departure activites, teacher participants are to finalize, implement and post the units of study with
suggested teaching materials, resources and strategies on a website for all educators
- To provide opportunities for the participants to acquire first-hand knowledge of
the history, culture, language, geography, family structures, religion, education,
and economics of China and Hong Kong.
The project will motivate secondary educator participants to broaden their knowledge
in their specialty areas as they experience the richness and variety of real life
through seminars, school visits, as well as cultural excursions in China and Hong
Kong. As a result of this immersion experience, they will design and implement curricula
that are accurate in content and effective in pedagogy.
- To develop cognitive and affective changes in the participants and to have the changes
reflected in the courses they teach.
The project will enable the participants to engage in self-reflection and consciously
examine their own assumptions about Chinese culture. This process of defusing and/or
affirming their beliefs and values itself is a powerful teaching tool the participants
will employ in their classrooms to help their students become aware of the ethnocentric
lens through which they look at “others”; furthermore, the students will develop a
deeper understanding of and appreciation for cultures different from their own.
- To create units of study in history, culture, language, geography, education, and
economics of China and Hong Kong that include a full range of instructional materials,
supplemental resources and teaching strategies.
As part of the pre-departure activities, the participants will consult their school
district specialist regarding the curriculum development guidelines and work with
TU faculty to develop a draft unit outline. During the trip, TU faculty will continue
to work with the participants to identify unit objectives, content and available resources.
After the trip, participants will utilize the knowledge gained and materials collected
to finalize the units. Each unit must produce tangible materials that can be reproduced
and distributed, whether in the form of multimedia, a written text, artifacts, or
any appropriate combination of these options. New curriculum units will be disseminated
as a model for the study of the rest of Asia and be incorporated into area studies
and world cultures in secondary curriculum to broaden students’ understanding of and
appreciation for other cultures.
- To disseminate units of study, teaching materials, teaching strategies and relevant
resources to a larger educational community
As part of the post-trip activities, the participants will implement the newly designed
curriculum in their own classrooms. They are also required to share their experience
and information to other educators in the school community and beyond.