Saturday, May 5, 2007

Lecture on Japanese Culture

Last Friday (5/4) I was asked by IU's EASC (East Asian Studies Center) to do a video-conference lecture on Japanese culture for middle-school students (12-13 years old) in Michigan. (My end was at the video-conference room at IU's International Program Center, and the other end was at a classroom with video-conference facilities in this middle school in Michigan.)

According to Patricia, a social studies teacher in this middle school contacted EASC to provide four 50-minute sessions (with a different set of children each time) and I did two sessions in the afternoon. From what I gradually gathered, EASC is a resource center for teachers and professors nationwide, and teachers not only in Indiana but also in any other parts of the country can contact EASC for resources or a help such as outreach workshops and video-conference lectures (like the ones I did) as a part of their teaching in East Asian cultures. I find it quite neat and was very happy to be of help to such teachers who are interested in teaching their students about East Asian cultures. IU's EASC must be one of the most excellent resources center for the teachers in the US, since I also learned that IU's East Asian Language and Culture Department, with which EASC is affiliated, has long been among the top 10 of "most excellent East Asian Studies Departments" in the U.S.

My presentation went quite well for both sessions, except for some frustration I felt due to a conflict between the teacher's views about Japan (which I found quite stereotypical) and my aim to provide the children with somthing beyond stereotypes. But I believe that both the teacher and children enjoyed my PowerPoint presentation and thus by the end of each session their views about Japanese culture were definitely broadened, even just for a little. And I found it so refreshing that these children are so curious and motivated to ask a lot of questions on their own all through the session, compared to my experience in teaching Japanese university students... Well, I guess we need to try to find a balance between the two extremes, because, to be honest, I also found that these American kids are a little too rushing in asking their questions to listen to the teacher/speaker more carefully and patiently. (Most kids were raising their hand at the moment I utter one sentence to each question ^^;)...

But overall, it was a very neat experience and I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks Patricia!

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