Teaching East Asia Seminar


During the spring semester, KCTA offers "East Asian History and Culture for Teachers," is a 24-contact hour professional development course for K-14 educators funded by the Freeman Foundation of New York and Stowe, Vermont.  It will provide both content and resources to enhance the global competencies of students by learning about China, Korea and Japan in all grades and subject areas. Instruction via lectures, discussions and multi-media presentations focuses on East Asian geography, history, philosophy, art and literature from ancient through contemporary times. Topics and educational resources that correspond to state and national standards for social studies and AP World History Themes are emphasized, but teachers of other subject areas including language arts, gifted education and the arts also benefit from participation.

During the fall semester, KCTA offers a 12-hour course on Japanese topics in conjunction with the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival.

Dates and Locations

Spring 2017: 4-6 PM on January 23 & 30; February 6, 13, 23, 27; March 6, 23, 27 and April 3 at the Olathe School District Instructional Resource Center (Room E), 14190 Black Bob Road, Olathe, Kansas An optional gallery talk will be held in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on April 9th.  Benefits for successful completion include $100 honorarium, option for two graduate credits, copies of all presentations seen, and eligibility for subsidized study tours. To register or for more info contact Nancy Hope at nfhope@ku.edu.

Topics Covered

Sessions accord with social studies standards for world history:


Why We Need to Know About East Asia; How Did China Get So Rich; Geography of China


Rice culture; Shang Dynasty accomplishments; Chinese language


Confucianism and Daoism; Mandate of Heaven and the Dynastic Cycle; Buddhism


Qin Dynasty accomplishments (Shi Huangdi, Terracotta Army, Great Wall); Han Dynasty accomplishments (paper, filial piety, diplomacy); Silk Road connections


Tang Dynasty accomplishments (Examination System, Chang'an, poetry and painting); Indigenous Japan (geography, peoples, language, cultural borrowing)


Song Dynasty accomplishments (inventions, trade and commercialism, the arts);Classical Japan (aristocratic women, literature and art)


Mongols in East Asia; Ming accomplishments (Zheng He's voyages, Great Wall, Forbidden City); Japan's warrior culture (samurai, daimyo, castles, Zen)


Qing Dynasty events (Manchu rulers, Opium War, Self Strengthening Movement, Taiping and Boxer Rebellions); Edo Period Japan (political stability, literature, drama, woodblock prints)


Meiji Restoration; Impact of Japan on the West; Korea (colonization, Korean War, contemporary Korea); North Korea's nuclear card


China and Japan in the 21st century (population, environment, economy, militarization, and popular culture)


Gallery tour of East Asian art and Educator Resource Center of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Benefits of the seminar

Receive $100 honorarium for attending at least 7 of the 10 sessions and creating a mini-lesson of your choice and one formal lesson plan.

Option for two graduate credits from Baker University Graduate School of Education.

Receive copies of PowerPoints seen and additional resources to enhance your students’ global competencies by teaching about China, Japan and Korea. 

Become eligible for enrichment & subsidized study tours to East Asia through NCTA (www.nctasia.org).

Requirements for seminar

"East Asian History and Culture for Teachers" is open to all K-14 educators and especially to upper elementary and secondary teachers (grades 5-12) of world history, geography, literature, art or the gifted from public and private schools. Teams of educators from the same school or district are especially encouraged to participate.  

Review of KCTA seminars by former participants

Susan Dillinger, a Title 1 reading teacher at Onaga Grade School, developed lesson plans for middle school teachers on China's Terracotta Warriors and Japan's samurai.  Linda Dills, who teaches technology at Chaparral High School in Anthony, has students do projects about East Asian topics in her computer and web design classes. And Michele Radio's gifted students at Blue Valley North High School, many of them interested in careers in international relations, discuss the difference between Japanese and American business practices.

Dillinger, Dills, and Radio share not only an interest in Asia but an experience: They attended seminars given by the Kansas Consortium for Teaching about Asia (KCTA) that are designed to give teachers the knowledge and resources to educate their students about a region that is vitally important to their future and to our state's.

Through the seminar's lectures, readings, videos, and other resources, teachers learn information that dovetails with what the state's social science standards say students should learn. Teachers who complete the program, which started in Kansas in 2001 and is part of a longer-running national effort, institute lesson plans on East Asian topics — on China, in particular.

"It's very important that we have some introduction to other cultures, because they're certainly not getting it in the school hallways," said Dills, whose district is mostly rural. "Because of the Internet, because of technology, we deal more with other countries. The students need to respect other cultures that are very different. … Hopefully I can create a little respect for other cultures different than their own."

In a more diverse, suburban district like Blue Valley, Radio said, the seminar brought additional benefits. "I learned more about East Asian culture. I talked to East Asian kids about things they didn't know about their culture. … I have been bolder in trying to get my Asian kids to embrace their culture, to learn about their roots."

Dillinger is convinced that important topics — and knowledge of Asia and the world at large is one she believes in — are best taught in a variety of subjects. "Integrate everything, pull it all together," she said. "What you're teaching in social studies, kids are reading about it in English. … I believe then the students learn so much more and are so much more excited that way."

"The thing that is so impressive is that the seminar is so well organized," Radio, the Blue Valley North teacher, said of the program. "Each one of the classes offered valuable information and materials. It was very user friendly for teachers who needed to learn quickly about East Asia."

For more information or to apply:

The Application Form (PDF)
or contact Nancy Hope at nfhope@ku.edu.


Center for East Asian Studies

KU's Center for East Asian Studies is a Title VI National Resource Center dedicated to teaching people of all ages about East Asia. We provide an array of resources for educators at all levels, sponsor East Asia themed events and lectures at the University of Kansas and at partner institutions, and assist KU students to develop expertise in East Asian languages and cultures.

Click here to reach the CEAS home page.

Click here to learn about more resources for teachers.

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