East Asia is extraordinarily diverse and complex: culturally, ethnically, geographically, economically. In spite of rapid transitions due to globalization and geopolitical forces, East Asia maintains some of the world’s oldest cultural traditions. East Asia’s complexity, diversity and shifting role in global affairs present numerous opportunities for learning. There are countless reasons for North Carolina teachers to enhance their own knowledge of East Asian cultures and issues, as well as strategies for bringing these topics into the classroom.
East Asian societies comprise a significant proportion of the world’s population. Recent UN estimates place East Asia’s population at 21.67% of the world’s total population, with a median age of 38.2 years. East Asia is a global powerhouse. It is a center of international trade with ties extending throughout the globe. Its cultural influences, economic prowess, geopolitical issues and challenges for the future are just some of the reasons why East Asia is a region to stay up to date on. Additionally, East Asia has long been a region to watch in terms of education. Teaching is a highly respected profession across East Asia and East Asian countries have a long history of student success on various assessment measures. (Check out the latest PISA: Programme for International Student Assessment Results here). In North Carolina classrooms, the study of East Asia has a long tradition of integration across grade levels and disciplines. North Carolina’s classroom demographics are changing as well, with growing numbers of East Asian students in classrooms across the state.
This week marks the beginning of the Year of the Dog and the 2018 Chinese New Year holiday. The Chinese New Year remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations and has influenced its geographic neighbors as well as cultures with which the Chinese have had extensive interactions. It is estimated that approximately one sixth of the world’s population will celebrate the Chinese New Year in 2018. Traditionally, the Chinese New Year has been a time to bring family together and to honor deities and ancestors. The holiday begins with the New Moon on the first day of the New Year and ends 15 days later on the full moon. The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day. K-5 classroom resources can be found here and grades 2-12 resources here. Festivals are also planned in communities across the state of North Carolina.
In March, World View will host a seminar on East Asia: Traditions, Trends and Transformations. The program will open with a performance and conversation with Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei, a collaborative musical duo who blend cross-cultural takes on folk, old-time and classical forms of music. Keynote sessions also include talks on contemporary China, North Korea and regional dynamics of East Asia, as well as concurrent sessions and workshops focused on a range of topics such as cultural arts, Taiwan, global business in East Asia and teaching about East Asia through literature and film, to name a few. Through plenary talks and small group sessions, K-12 and community college educators will explore East Asia’s history, culture, diversity, contemporary affairs and changing role in the world. Participants will discover and experience strategies and resources for integrating these issues and topics into the classroom or learning environment. We hope to see you in March! Register here.