Fall 2021 Dialogue

Commission on Social Justice in Teacher Education Programs

I am an American featuring activist Amanda Nguyen created by Shepard Fairey is about reaffirming the idea that Asians belong. For this and other free downloadable images, visit Amplifier.org.

Welcome to our Fall 2021 dialogue.

We ask that you post an initial response to one or more of these questions from October 18th-26th, 2021. Then, please respond to at least two posts to generate dialogues across contexts and experience. We encourage you to engage in conversation with others from October 26th-November 1st, 2020.

Recommended readings: Start with this blog post by Dr. Betina Hsieh written the day after the Atlanta shootings. Then, read this edited transcription (Coloma et al, 2021); of a conversation that took place on April 11th, 2021 “in response to the increasing attention as well as escalating fear due to anti-Asian racism and violence” (p. 378).

Next, read this article by Liz Kleinrock, view this video from the New York Times, and review this statement issued by the California Council on Teacher Education.

Background knowledge and thoughts: “Asian America” is an umbrella term that white-washes the diverse ethnic, linguistic, and religious origins of the people meant to be included. By using this term, we exclude and marginalize an already disregarded population that has been ostracized and made invisible over generations. But the term also has roots inspired by the Black Power Movement of the 1960s.

Considering this knowledge, what did you learn about Asian American history when you were in K-12?

Introduce yourself; where do you go to school? What is your degree program and how far into it are you? 

How, as a teacher, might you challenge the dominant story of Asian American history and expand the narrative? (Consider your content area, grade level, and your current/future students in your response). How will you (or do you) teach or connect with Asian American Studies in your classroom?

For those of us who are not Asian American: What might educators, teacher candidates, and/or students do to support Asian American students and colleagues?  

In what ways can teachers, schools, and neighborhoods build coalitions with our students? How might YOU begin to do this? (Consider your local or state community in your response.)

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  1. Hello there everybody, my name is Tyler Reid and I am a student at California State University Long Beach. I am in the credential program for single subject matter and I am pursuing my teaching credentials so that I can fulfill my dreams and become an adapted physical education teacher. And I down to physical education teacher is hey Educator the teacher’s physical education to the students with special needs of all different ranges. At CSULB I have earned my bachelor of science in kinesiology in the fall of 2020 and am finishing my credential coursework before I begin my student teaching in the Spring of 2022.

    Considering the knowledge of this article, have you got your informed that I do not remember a lot of content area in my history classes with Asian American history during my K through 12 Education. Albeit that was almost 15 years ago, I still do not remember a lot of history texted in Asian American history unless it was around Chinese New Year.
    There was the basic Asian American history that word be presented in our classes such as the transcontinental railroad, the Japanese internment camps during World War II and most likely a little more but unfortunately, I cannot remember.

    As a future Educator in Adapted Physical Education I have a very common goal amongst my peers of the profession. That goal is to be inclusive with all of her students both general Ed and special-needs programs. My job is to create contact in which all levels of students are able to be successful and participate in physical education content. Part of being an educator is to assess the needs of my students and either modify or accommodate their needs throughout their educational plan. My educational domain, my students are equals on all levels. There is not one student or grade level that is seen above the others. That is why in my classroom or playground, I will do everything in my power to be inclusive of all my students and their backgrounds. One coming to stay for the physical education teachers make when creating activities for their students is to make activities that are based off of American traditional sports indoor customs. Based off of my caseload with my students, I would create content that is inclusive of my students’ backgrounds. One part of his job is creating an engaging and fun continent for your students so that you have high participation levels. Another major part of participation with your students is being a personable educator. Your students need to be able to feel safe in the environment in which you are teaching.

    What I have learned in my years in education at CSULB is that you cannot be a stagnant educator in the school system. You need to be what is called a lifelong learner and create content that flows with the times. That means not rolling out the same unit plan or activities every single year. It means changing up your content and your activities and learning new strategies along the way. Your first-year material should not be the material you teach in the last year of your career. Your accountant should evolve over time as we all do as educators for our students. I think it’s safe to say that if you were to do the exact same content for multiple years, your work would feel like work. Like a repetitive one set track mind.

    One way as a future educator that I might build coalitions with my students is to not be silent about it. Given the opportunity I feel that it is important that we as a community of people talk about our differences and different background so that we better understand each other. It is what makes us Americans in these times that we are not just a one history slate. Many of us came from different backgrounds, countries, traditions, values and morals that we embedded in the soil of this land. Now more than ever it is time that we start making changes as a community to do better for our youth. It is up to us to make a change.


  2. Good Evening. I hope that you are healthy and doing well as we come together in this space to discuss. I am a candidate for the Single Subject Credential in Science at California State University, Long Beach. I am in my 3rd trimester of the program and am happy to say that I have enjoyed my experience immensely because it has given me opportunities to participate in discussions like this.

    My experience with Asian American history was almost entirely limited to what we learned in a textbook for the first part of my K-12 experience. Asian American history was not taught to me in the same way that the histories of other cultural groups were taught. Especially not the history of the dominant culture. Oftentimes, history felt glossed over and in a lot of ways, I feel like this was because of the dire injustices that the dominant culture hopes we forget if the history remains untold.

    In science, we may at first think that there is no space for social commentary, but there is plenty of room. There was room when COVID-19 hit the scene and misinformation was spread like wildfire. Time should have been made for the development of critical literacy in classrooms and I fear that in a lot of ways, biases in the education system have helped the misinformation campaigns spread. This kind of analysis not only serves as a tool to dissect articles form academic journals, but also helps individuals navigate the deluge of information that they experience through mass media today.

    As a result, I think that being conscious and aware as educators that there is continued erasure of a vast group of people with various backgrounds and cultural differences is a place to start so that we can keep ourselves accountable. I think my first step would be to educate myself so that I am able to take some of the burden off of the shoulders of those of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community that are facing erasure, macroaggressions, and microaggressions in everyday life. As eloquently stated and bravely shared in the stories and research of Roland Sintos Coloma, Betina Hsieh, OiYan Poon, Stephanie Chang, Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Grace Meng, Leigh Patel & Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales (2021), there are so many directions in which we are now responsible as a community to step up and help. Then, I would like to diversify who I reach out to in my community. There are scientists and science teachers from all kinds of backgrounds, and by inviting voices from experiences different than mine, I would hopefully use my platform as an educator to amplify voices that my students might not experience otherwise.

    I am not Asian American, but that only means that I have so much to learn. And the remarkable thing is that I can learn from anyone. I can learn from people that are not in my field but are Asian American and Pacific Islander. I can learn from teachers like me who are Asian American. I can work to make sure that my AAPI colleagues are acknowledged and valued in the workplace. I can work to make sure that their opinions and voice don’t get discredited or overlooked.

    I can learn also from my students. I hope that by valuing the cultural funds of knowledge of all my students, I can open a channel for my students to feel secure enough to share their culture. I could have a day where my students share their cooking and have them research the science behind the dishes that their families make for celebrations.
    To build stronger coalitions in my community and with my students, I can start by putting in the time to do the research. Centralizing information to give to my students could be an excellent place to start. Then I could reach out to organizations that help or represent the AAPI community and see what I can do to support them. Hopefully, there could be community projects that my classes of students could contribute to. Maybe, by letting my students know what opportunities are out there and supporting them with my time and energy, my students can feel galvanized in also being agents for change. After all, ensuring that the world is safe for everyone is not going to be accomplished by one person. This goal will require generations of people pushing for the safety and support of all members of the community. Additionally, like all things, order tends to disorder. This is the second law of thermodynamics and at this time is considered undisputed. This does not mean that we should give up on our goal of progress, but it means that progress will require constant work, passion, and effort. I’m glad that we have found a place to start.


  3. Good morning/ afternoon/ night depending on when you read this. My name is Antonio Enriquez, I’m a former alumnus at California State University. I graduated with my Spanish Bachelors’ degree in May 2021, and at the moment I’m partaking in the Single Subject Credential program in Spanish. Currently, this happens to be my first semester, and hopefully, in the fall semester of 2022, I will then begin my student teaching.

    From K-12, I wasn’t taught much information on Asian American history and if so the only time I’ve been presented with this topic was in a U.S. history class I had back in 11th grade. The only times the name Asian American was brought up is when we went over lessons on the creation of railroads throughout the U.S., Mining, and when the U.S. created Japanese internment camps. As far as I remember I believe that was pretty much it.

    As an inspired future Spanish teacher, most of my topics will be in relation to Spanish and Latin American history, literature, and culture. However, I strive to teach the influence of other communities in Spanish and Latin American history. I strive to do so because I deem it necessary and key to teaching students how the molding of various communities either small or big helped influence current social structures. In regards to implementing the teaching of Asian American Studies within my lectures, I will teach my students the influence Asian Americans have had in the past and present in both Spanish and Latin American History. In addition, I will prompt my students to research former Asian American authors, activists, and or influencers who participate in the Spanish or Latin American communities in a positive way.

    I believe that teachers have so much influence on students and the environment within the school. Therefore, to support Asian American students and all kinds of students. teachers must create a positive environment that promotes students into seeing one another as a community, brethren, or even as a family, whose goal is to help each other achieve greatness in education and socially.

    By creating organizations with the aim of community building we can place forth in motion the movement of deconstructing biases which various communities face and eliminating them through factual acquisition, once achieved we must push forward the reconstruction of the educational system to teach both teachers how to appropriately aid their students and teach students how to help out one another.


    • Hey Antonio,

      I can relate on the education that I got on Asian Americans in school, I feel like the biggest thing I learned about was the railroads. When I was in college I took a California History class as part of the social science credential and I think I learned more there then I did in 12 years of school. I am hoping that I do not make the same mistake my teachers made and I will teach my students about different cultures and immigration. We as teachers have such a big influence on our students and we see them more then their families and we can give them a positive environment that they may not have at home. When we create a positive environment we can eliminate biases and we can change the outlook on learning and ones outlook they may have.


  4. Hello everyone, I am currently in my third semester of the Mathematics Single Subject Credentials program at California State University, Long Beach.

    I was born and raised in California and went to public school throughout my K-12 years. Thinking back to those years, which admittingly was over a decade ago and I was not the best history student, I can honestly say I do not remember learning very much about Asian American history. The most prominent event I remember learning about was in secondary school, it was when we talked about the Japanese internment camps during our chapter on World War II. More specifically, the internment camps coming up briefly in both the textbooks and World War II movie clips that were shown. I remember a few students, along with myself, shocked to learn that this happened here in the United States, but really not going into much detail. There should have been a focus on the travesties the Japanese community endured. To say the least, the curriculum is scarce of proper and adequate representation of the history of Asian Americans. The high school US history classes are also taught through a white lens, to be culturally responsive US history is made of so many different ethnicities and cultures and they should be represented or at least show US history from their point of view. Our curriculum should be as diverse as our students.

    The video from the New York Times there was a clip where someone in class said “all Chinese people are disgusting” and she raised her hand saying she is Chinese and the other student just kept talking about it. That was devastating, as an educator we need to be advocates for our students and not allow such comments. Another quote that stuck with me was that “ since the pandemic schools have been a Petri dish for racism.” This shows that educators have a huge role in not just educating students, but also supporting students.

    As an educator, it is my responsibility to provide a safe space for students to share their thoughts and perspectives. I really think we need to do more to support our students. First and foremost, I need to learn more about Asian American history and culture to be able to support and connect with our students. To connect mathematics to Asian American Studies does not seem difficult, I believe incorporating examples of real-life events such as data analysis of any event, which will lead to a discussion which will allow students to connect share perspectives on such events. Teachers can build coalitions with our students by supporting the clubs on campus. Just showing up to their event or offering your room for them to meet, will build that community with our students.


  5. Hi, my name is Patrick Lam and I’m a student teacher attending California State University, Long Beach. Currently, I aspire to become a high school chemistry teacher that teaches in California. For my bachelor’s degree, I graduated at UCI with a BS degree in chemistry. Now I’m one 1.5 semesters in the CSULB teaching credential program.

    In K-12 schooling, I learned about a few various things about Asian American. In elementary school, I remembered having a Chinese teacher that was really nice. She taught us Chinese but I can’t really remember much besides the activities that she presented such as related colors to Chinese words. We did have a “festival” one day that showed appreciation for Chinese culture which I thought was really cool. My school was predominantly Caucasian so representation of Chinese culture was a big deal to me. However in middle school, I did not get that sense of Asian American representation. At most there would only be two Asian Americans in the classroom at my high school and middle school. For high school, I took Chinese as a language elective and I enjoyed the experience even though I knew some of the culture already but I’m not fluent in Chinese. The only Asian American history that I received from school was in American history class where we learned about the exclusion laws restricting Asians during the 1900s. In addition, we learned about the internment camps that took place around world war II and the wars that were waged during the Vietnam war and Korean wars. That’s all of the Asian American history that I learned in k-12.

    As a future educator, I wish to challenge the dominant story of Asian American history and expand the narrative by showing my students the great innovations that Americans have contributed to the United States. In addition, I think that no matter what race you are in the United States you can fulfill your dreams and whatever career path that you choose as long as you work hard and persevere. For example, when I was at UCI doing research, I observed that there were many Asian Americans pursuing the chemistry profession. Many of the graduate students had published papers that were released to the public and did so successfully. Hopefully this can inspire and encourage my students to pursue a career path and science as long as they want to. The way I plan to teach and connect with Asian American studies in my classroom is to show related papers and different perspectives of Eastern sciences since I’m going to be a chemistry teacher. This way the students can see that scientists are not only within the Western hemisphere but also the eastern hemisphere and they have different perspectives on how to go about science.

    For those who are not Asian-American, educators and students alike can help support asian-americans by being supportive of the Asian american differences in culture. If an Asian American student has trouble speaking English because English is not their dominant fluent language, students and educators can help teach this student how to interpret information in the student’s native language as best as possible. In addition, I believe that all the positive and negative stereotypes of asian-americans have should be dismissed so that all Asian Americans feel equal relative to their peers so they don’t have any advantages or disadvantages. Furthermore, I hope to have the students be able to differentiate between the Asian American cultures such as the different and varying ethnicities.

    Some ways that teachers, schools, and neighborhoods can build coalitions with our students is to form a sense of community around the school. Having extracurricular activities that support Asian Americans can help build a better community and understanding of asian Americans. I would be an advisor to students and allow students to make a Asian American club that does activities in the culture.


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