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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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.
I really like the mindset you have as an Adapter Physical Education teacher. You’re right, the activities you introduce to your students are the perfect jumping off point to learn about other people’s cultures. You could introduce new games and trainings from around the world. It could be specific to your students’ backgrounds, or you could introduce the games at random so nobody feels singled out. The school I work for now has APE for the students. The teachers have introduced games like soccer, which is played around the world. But they’ve also tried cricket, which is played and watched mostly by people in the British Commonwealth and South Asian countries. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Framingham State University
I whole-heartedly agree with your statements about stagnant educators and being silent about coalitions. I am excited to get in there and develop methods of teaching that are powerful and effective and ever-evolving. I also think its really powerful, what you said about America not being one history slate. I’m concerned that a recurring theme among these posts is “I didn’t learn much about Asian American culture, I just learned about a few Chinese holidays and about some of the atrocities the American government committed against Asian American citizens.” There definitely needs to be an evolution of how history is taught.
Good point you bring up about constantly learning everyday and not being stagnant. I think this is really important in all disciplines if we really want our students to succeed. Moreover, implementing new strategies and activities for a physical education teacher is key to a long successful career. I believe if we have content integration we can influence our students in a positive way because we are showing them that physical education isn’t just about movement, it can relate to real world situations and activities that are happening before our eyes.
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.
I really enjoyed reading your post. I am glad you brought up the spread of misinformation in regards to science and that combating that begins with critical thinking in classrooms. the spread of misinformation adds fuel to the fire in most areas including science, racism and many of the other “ism”s. Teaching students to think critically about information may very well be the beginning of creating an inclusive environment, where young people are allowed and encouraged to share their own views and are taught to examine their positions and biases. I also enjoyed reading about your ideas about redistributing the power dynamic within the classroom setting and creating a platform for the students to share their cultural funds of knowledge. Everyone has their own experience and being able to share those experiences in school is so important in creating a positive community. The science classroom is such a great place to start with critical pedagogy and it is encouraging to hear such an open and honest point of view from your post!
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.
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.
Hey there Antonio! I also didn’t learn much about the Asian American influences in American History, and only really touched on them when briefly covering the internment camps during World War II. It looks like we might have learned some of the same things, even though our high school history classes were probably almost a decade apart! This lack in our curriculum needs to be addressed, but as a Mathematics educator there isn’t much I can do on that front.
I like the idea of you including Asian American influences in your material. It’d be worth it, I think, to investigate music that uses elements from both. I know there’s that band Baby Metal that fuses Japanese pop aesthetics and heavy metal music; maybe there are a few examples of similar cross-cultural fusions involving Latin-American and Spanish influences fused with traditional Asian materials.
I am in the same boat as you- I did not hear the topic of Asian Americans until well out of high school, even more, I didn’t know their history until taking an Art History class at CSULB. I took this Art History class during one of my last semesters as an undergrad I was 22. When covid hit everyone hard in March, I stopped watching the news due to all the confusion and scarcity we were all feeling. It was only after I did this, I was really disconnected from all the hate and discrimination people were under. I had no idea Stop Asian Hate was uniting and standing against racism. This was a part of my own decision of shutting the world out, for my lack of knowledge at this time, but now talking in my 435 class (U S Secondary Schls Intercl Edu) on how there has been and still is a lack of representation in our school systems. I was robbed of my history education, I did not have an inclusive humanity history lesson taught to me.
I like your approach toward incorporating Asian American in your content area. Furthermore, it can also be applied to other race too so you don’t have to focus on one single issue. I would like to do the same by creating an environment where students can feel safe and respect one another despite the differences. You are right that teachers have so much influence on the students. We are the second adults students spend most time with after all. We have the responsibility to guide students to be a proper adult and acknowledge racism in the society.
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.
I like that you are thinking about ways to further educate your students about Asian American studies by first educating yourself so that you can bring it to the classroom. Building a community with students outside of your subject area is a great way to be involved and support your students. It was horrifying to see the video about classmates saying inappropriate and disgusting generalizations about a community. I agree that we should be advocators for our students and create safe places for them.
Yes, I agree with you that it is our responsibility as educators to provide a safe space for students. I think it is important to make sure that things do not get out of hand. Like the example in the video you mentioned. That was so disrespectful of others in the class and we need to make sure that students are respectful towards each other. The pandemic did bring out more hate and racism that was stewing in people but I also believe the political climate of the time also made it more acceptable to be hateful towards others. When leaders are making silly remarks some will repeat it. I think it would be nice if curriculums could be re-evaluated so that they can include history of multiple perspectives in better detail.
I had a very similar experience when it came to my education on the Asian American experience. I remember that our class had arguments with our teacher because we did not want them to move on from internment camps so quickly. We kept asking if we could learn more (which you would think would excite the teacher). Our teacher’s only argument for why we had to move on was because it was not a part of the United States history and we could spend too much time on things that weren’t a part of the US. For us, we were confused on why it wasn’t a part of our history but because we didn’t know much about it as a result of not being taught it, we couldn’t argue back. Now, I’m sure we all would try to set that teacher straight. It is so important for us as teachers to understand that our students’ history and background are what we need to teach and appreciate. We cannot hide it because it is not a part of the white American experience or because we don’t want to remember the awful side of American history.
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.
Excellent post! My experience learning about Asian American history in school was likewise limited, most discussing the contributions of Chinese Americans in constructing the railroads and the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Consequently, I think we should highlight the many contributions of Asian Americans which have led them to becoming the highest earning ethnic group in the United States today.
Likewise, I think it is a good idea to introduce students to the different approaches to academics seen in the Eastern Hemisphere, as it will broaden children’s horizons and perhaps provide them with valuable insights that they otherwise would not have had access to.
However, I was wondering what your thoughts might be on the emerging cold war that seems to be occurring between the US and China and the effect that it will have on our students. Specifically, I am worried that it will result in an inflammation of ant-Asian angst/hatred, such as is already being seen within the country at large? How could we combat these feelings in the classroom and show our students that Asian-Americans are just as American as White, Black, Latino, Native, Indian, and Arabic Americans? This a question that I struggle with often, as I am not sure how to dispel such vitriolic hatred. On the one hand, I would like to silence such hate as soon as it emerges, but on the other hand I wish to engage with such students to show them the errors of their thinking and remove such feelings from their mind, rather than allowing them to fester in silence.
-Dan A, FSU
Connecting with students by presenting research papers seems like a good idea because getting your students perspective on issues, ideas, and interpretations can make for a good class discussion and really fires up your students’ learning. Also, it allows the student autonomy because they are stating what they are thinking and what they believe in. In my physical education discipline I want to connect with students as well. I believe integrating content into physical education from different subject areas is one way to broaden my students minds. Moreover, as an educator it’s important to build a positive community around faculty, students and others. Being an advisor to Asian-American students is a step in the right direction, well done Patrick. I believe everyone needs mentors, and just someone they can look up to for guidance.
I never heard of the movie “Golden Dreams” and promptly looked up the synopsis. I am just as surprised that Disney would show this historical film in their attraction. I like that you mentioned creating a space in your classroom for students with mixed ethnicities or anyone that grew up in the community to feel safe in your classroom and that you would address hate crimes and offer a listening ear if students need it. I like that you’ll challenge the model myth minority as it is used to divide black indigenous people of color instead of standing in solidarity with one another.
Hello everyone. My name is Spencer Matthews and I am a graduate student at Framingham State University. I am studying for my M.Ed. with a Concentration in Secondary Education. I plan on teaching English at the middle school level. I am in the final academic year of my studies. My student teaching practicum begins next semester.
Reflecting on my own experiences in the U.S. K-12 school system, there was definitely a lack of focus on Asian American experiences. My history classes touched upon a few major events, but generally the content was Eurocentric. I don’t recall any books in my English classes that were written by or about Asian Americans. I have an obligation as a teacher to rectify the lack of Asian American representation in my future curriculum.
How can I do this? First, I need to explore more diverse literature. But I need to also recognize the diversity among Asian Americans. I can’t just have my students read one book about Chinese, Indonesian, or Sri Lankan Americans and say that it encompasses the experiences of all Asian Americans. There are so many differences within each sub-group of the Asian American community. Respect to those differences needs to be made by the teacher. We can accomplish this by teaching our students more about the cultural and historical contexts that influence the stories within the literature we select. Without that context, our students cannot comprehend the conflicts that Asian Americans face in the present day and throughout our country’s history.
What else can educators do? It is important that educators stand in solidarity against hate. If we overhear hate speech or stereotypes, then we need to address it right away. All of our students need to feel safe in our classrooms. I was appalled listening to the second student in the New York Times video, around the 1:10 mark, recall how a classmate openly attacked Chinese Americans. The teacher should have immediately explained why it was wrong to make those remarks. If comments like that are persistent, then teachers need to devote time to dismantling those hateful beliefs. A teacher’s inaction is an endorsement of the rhetoric, so appropriate actions must be taken in order for students to trust that teachers stand for social justice.
Yes I love your point that we need to remember the diversity of among Asian Americans… maybe one strategy that a teacher could implement is to find a poem/short story collection of authors that encompasses a wide variety of authors with different ethnicities. Then, as a class, the teacher and students can read the collection and students can branch off and focus on a specific author/story/poem that draws to their interests. This allows them an opportunity to explore something that actually interests them, either because it relates to their own cultural/ethnic background/identity, or simply because they want to learn more about it. Either way, it gives students exposure and options to choose from.
I agree with you that “it is important that educators stand in solidarity against hate.” Not only is it important, I think standing together in solidarity as a community of educators is essential to create an equitable and healthy classroom space where hate has no place amongst the dialogue or ideas shared in that space. As more and more educators stand up and interrupt hateful speech and stereotypes in their classrooms we will help to foster a new generation of students to learn that diversity and differences are what make us a stronger society. I hope that all of us sharing and discussing in this space will be part of the next generation of educators in the classroom striving to enact needed change for the good in our classrooms. Thank you so much for sharing!
I agree with your statement about teaching more about the diversity within the Asian community. There are many races that have contributed to the world than the ones we often read about. I remember that when I was a child, I believed that the Asian community was made up of just China and Japan. As I got older I became friends who were from the Philippines and Vietnam. Teaching students about the diversity within the Asian community through readings helps expose and expand their knowledge. There will be students of different backgrounds who might be proud to learn about their culture that doesn’t get much attention. As teachers, we should address any talk that deems to put down anyone. We have a responsibility to all our students to show them that we care and support them.
Hello Mr. Matthews!
I really liked your viewpoint regarding diversity on Asian Americans. Often, we tend to limit ourselves to one viewpoint of Asian American history rather than the several of the perspectives that are present (Chinese, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.) Social Science and English are good environment for students to know more communities out there. It’s also good to hear that it’s important for educators to stand in solidarity against hate. Like you, I was taken back to hear those remarks from her classmates and not hearing her teacher trying to tackle the situation. I would like to think it was handle but it is important for us to recognize such as prejudice and hate and address it for the sake of all the students.
Thank you for your perspective. Because I study with aspiring high school social science educators, it is not often that I can get the perspective of someone hoping to teach middle school, much less in a subject other than social science. I appreciate how you are aware that the Asian American community is not a monolith and, say, the experiences of Korean Americans will not entirely match with those of Cambodian Americans.
I also agree that “inaction is an endorsement” of racism, and we should all be active in preventing that in our communities. It is indeed important that our students can trust that we stand for social justice and against beliefs that would make them feel unsafe in our classrooms.
Thank you for your comments on this issue. I am from California State University, Long Beach in the teaching credential program to obtain my credentials in Physical Education. I like how you mentioned that educators should address the issues (hate speeches or stereotypes) right away. I’ve experienced teachers either let it just happen or they would contribute to the commentary. As educators, our students will spend the majority of their lifespan in schools. Why not teach them how to respect others and try to understand someone else’s point of view. They do not necessarily have to agree with the other students, but rather listen and create social awareness skills. These skills will help students not only in the schools, but also in the “real” world. As culture is constantly changing, we (teachers) need to constantly be learning about our students. I believe that we are lifelong learners and we should instill this with our students. Give them the opportunity to learn.
I totally agree that many students are not exposed to as many cultures as possible during their k-12 education. When I was in middle school I took one course on World Civilizations which focused on ancient societies. In high school there were 1-2 “world civ.” required courses, but the higher level honors and AP courses only surrounded euro-centric history. For instance, AP European History and AP US History were the two most popular history AP courses in my school, which leaves out the rich cultural history of the entire rest of the world for deep analysis and studying. I think this is an unfortunate trend that exists in so many schools across America. This is a content and curriculum issue, which, sometimes, teachers cannot change. However, in the cases that teachers can impact such as in an English class, students can be assigned novels and texts that adhere to the curriculum as well as teach students about cultures other than their own.
Representation and inclusivity in the classroom are incredibly important to start early in a student’s educational experience. These factors teach students to be accepting, respectful, curious and kind all throughout their years in school, so that students are not surprised by these things in a new classroom.
I really appreciate that you recognize we can’t only give our students one text that wraps up multiple cultures into one concrete experience. And, the way we can supply our students with all sorts of literature is by doing it for ourselves first. By no means should we be giving our students something to read having not read it ourselves first. We really have to learn and expand our knowledge because we only start off with our own experiences and our ultimate goal is to learn and support our students and their experiences.
Hello everyone. My name is Travis and I am graduate student at Framingham State University in the M.ED. program, secondary education, with a subject area of English. I am currently in my fourth semester of the program, while starting my pre-practicum by shadowing a high school English teacher once a week at Framingham High School. I am looking to start my practicum next year, and find a teaching job for the 2022-23 school year.
Regarding Asian American history, I can’t recall anything too specific that I learned during my time in K-12. Outside of some general history, (though I will give credit, we did learn about the forced removal of Asian Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor) we didn’t divulge too deep into anything specific, nor read any books authored by Asian Americans.
As a future high school English teacher, one of the easiest ways to make a difference is by doing some research, collaborating with other teachers in my department, and coming up with a plan to incorporate some literature from Asian American authors to give students a chance to broaden their curriculum from the standard white author, Eurocentric curriculum we have grown accustomed to teaching (though this doesn’t mean we should forgo teaching it either.. I am talking about you William Shakespeare). In addition, I think while it would be beneficial to give students some information about the Asian American experience that goes beyond the books we read, I think it would be even better if the students can go off on their own to do research (incorporating a book where they use the book, along 1-2 resources they hand-pick to use in their paper).
As someone who works shadows at Framingham High School, it is easy to notice the demographic population of the school (predominantly Brazilian and Latin American). Thus, it would be wise to try to incorporate some literature into the curriculum that the students can relate to on a more personal level (ironically, the teacher I am shadowing was part of group that restructured the English curriculum so that instead of being predominantly dead, white authors, it would include more Latin American authors). This is one step, but another one is to try to incorporate a mix of surveys and classroom discussions on these kind of topics to give everyone a safe platform where they can voice their thoughts.
I too believe it is important to move away from a Eurocentric curriculum as you state. I am intrigued by your idea of having students do research to broaden their perspectives. Along with incorporating diverse authorial voices in the classroom, encouraging students to also incorporate diverse authorial voices via their supporting research is a great way to have different perspectives explored in the classroom. I think that as we collaborate and share strategies and ideas with other educators, we can find effective ways to create a more diverse and representative curriculum in our ELA and other content area classrooms. It was encouraging to read in your post that the educator you are currently shadowing was able to do so with respect to including more Latin American authors. Change is certainly possible, as you shared this example with us, and I hope that all of us in this forum will contribute to further change as we discuss ideas and when we get to implement those ideas in our own classrooms. Thank you so much for sharing!
I also was given a similar experience when it comes to Asian Americans. I learned briefly of what Japanese students went through during WWII and I always found it interesting and wanted to know more but we didn’t spend much time on the subject before moving on. In 9th grade is where I had the most exposure. We were reading a book about the contributions of one Chinese family who came to America to work on the construction of the rail road. I found the book very interesting but at the time I didn’t appreciate the knowledge it had. I like that you are thinking beyond just simply reading a text and discussing the information. Allowing the students to research a topic that they find interesting or from a book that they want to know more of will be highly beneficial to their personal knowledge.
I know that when I was in 11th grade we learned a little about the forced movements of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor but that was really it. But while I was in college I had to take a California History class and I did learn a little bit more on early Asian American immigration to California. I also think collaboration is what we all need to do and when I was in school it was interesting because when I was learning about the Puritans in History, I was reading The Crucible in English because they decided it was a good idea to have that overlap. I think when it comes incorporating other literature we also need to talk about our students own personal experience. All students have an experience they have lived in their life and if we are talking about something specific, a student may be able to relate to that. I have always been someone that wants students to talk about their experience and bring it to the classroom.
I think it is great that you want to include literature from Asian American authors and Latin American authors in your classroom. I feel like it is hard for students to relate to Shakespeare or Victorian Literature. I know I did when I was a 9th grader. As a woman I found I could relate to Jane Austen’s work because of Pride and Prejudice and liking Elizabeth Bennet’s character. However, it took me a while to understand what was happening. I think it is great to include literature from different backgrounds as it will show future generations that people of color can also make great contributions to literature, science, history, etc.
I think its always important to challenge the status quo and by being a part of a school system that looks to dismantle the Eurocentric curriculum, and moving towards a more catered curriculum based off of major ethnocentric groups who are alive and still producing works. I agree with you engaging our students with content that they can relate to on a deeply personal level is so important in leading them to engage more deeply with their own personal communities and introducing them to the positive changes associated with those kinds of works and activisms. I did appreciate that you did also tie in the necessity to keep studying classics like Shakespeare, as a member of the ELA content area myself, I find a lot of the classic works to be translatable to all backgrounds and want to encourage students to separate the artist from the art and be able to imprint their own lives or impressions on classic works like Shakespeare and see how it can translate into their own lives. Im not sure what you meant by it “being better if the students can go off on their own to do research” and how that relates to Asian American life. I appreciate the necessity to arm our students will the tools to engage in their own understanding and their own development, but I do think its important to model to them the inclusion of different ethnic identities; similarly to how you wrote about the distancing away of Eurocentric literature I think its important to also incorporate reading that target understanding of communities outside of the ones our students are directly correlated too. Thank you so much for sharing and good luck in your future ELA class.
I want to be a future Spanish teacher and just like you, I would also like to introduce my students to Asian/Asian American authors and influence my students to do their research and learn more about other authors, influencers, community helpers. Get students interested in more than what the curriculum wants them to know, interested at a point where they would like to investigate more. Great information Travis, thank you.
Like you, I believe it is important to incorporate other teachers into the mix to be more involved in spreading awareness in the classroom and the school community. I think not just teachers from our own fields but also getting others from other disciplines is important to spread the news far and wide. Giving the students a different perspective into literature is equally important to the former mentioned. While most of the literature I’ve experienced encountered in high school was wonderful, I think it would have been more interesting if we were introduced to different authors offering a different telling of a story. For myself, there wasn’t much novels or other fictions that I remember that I felt a personal connection to other than Catcher in the Rye. As a Latino, I do hope to see more literature from the culture which can be the first step in getting their attention.
Hello Everyone! I’m a Latino born and raised here in Southern California for all my life – and I’m a student of CSU Long Beach who is currently pursuing his teaching credential in social science, hoping to teach in the high school setting.
Going back to my time in secondary education, there wasn’t much discussion regarding Asian Americans. I don’t remember much from middle school other than the lessons on China such as the discovery of gunpowder, the Great Wall, learning the word dynasty, etc. – but that doesn’t cover Asian American history at all, but rather introduces the first half of Asian American history. I think it wasn’t until high school that Asian American history was more introduced from Chinese immigrants coming to the U.S. during the Gold Rush period to find work in the railroads to support family back home to Japanese Americans being sent to internment camps after the Pearl Harbor attack.
As a future history teacher, perspective is important. And luckily for me, history offers great opportunities to explore the perspective of Asian American history. From addressing the stereotypes that go along with the name to the possibly unknown figures of history such as Anna May Wong. Her story of becoming the first Asian-American actress in Hollywood history and American history inspired a whole generation of movie actors and actresses to pursue the big screen. Or perhaps the story of Larry Itliong, a Filipino-American who fought alongside Cesar Chavez in the farm labor movements in the 1960s. For students, it is important to know the entire history of the United States, not just certain periods of the United States. Making sure that our curriculum and lessons are well-rounded. Our activities must be created to adhere to the understanding of students who have prior knowledge regarding Asian American history and those who don’t.
It’s important for us to be aware of the struggles that our students go through in the classroom and outside of the classroom. I understand that some students will not be comfortable sharing that part of their lives with us right away, but we can start building rapport with them by talking to other teachers and checking with the students’ parents on how they are. In the classroom, I also don’t want to just introduce Asian-American topics to the class but be able to have engaging in formal and respectful discussions in the classroom in regards to racial issues, justice/injustice, social environment, and other topics related to the social climate that exists with Asian American history and other topics in relation.
I know that one thing that us teachers should realize is that it’s not just us helping students bring awareness. Parents are involved in their child’s growth, as well as the communities that they are involved in. Going out to the community events and participating with them is a good way to bond with the Asian American community and address any biases that I myself might have. While I think it’s simple to just say that we don’t have any, it is important to know that we might have them and try to grow. I understand that this will take much work and require going above and beyond to know more than we currently have in our knowledge of Asian American history.
Hi there! Thank you for your contribution. I enjoyed reading about your mentioning of Anna May Wong. I barely knew about this wonderful person through a show in my adult years. One could only wish that they knew about icons earlier in their education. I also want to pinpoint that the U.S. education system is flawed and has purposefully left out accomplished people of Asian/Asian-American heritage. I believe that the current generation continues to work diligently towards bringing awareness of accomplishments and struggles of people of color. I would like to add that I think that it was very thoughtful of you to admit that some students will not be comfortable sharing about themselves. I know that from personal experience, it takes patience and time to know a person wholeheartedly. As a future social science teacher, I applaud for you wanting to attend community events and reaching out to families. That certainly will mean the world to your students and their families!
Hello, I enjoyed reading your thoughtful response. As a future history teacher, you raise some extremely critical points; far too often American history is taught from just one perspective, and I really appreciate that you mentioned our history being more inclusive and being taught from multiple perspectives.
I also like your idea that we as teachers should engage and participate in community events with the Asian American community. As teachers, we are a part of our students’ community, and simply showing up to events in the community, whether cultural or not, can help to build relationships.
Hello everyone, I’m Edsel Campana, I am currently a credential student at Long Beach State, I got my undergrad in Fitness and now want to teach middle school physical education. As of today, this is my 1st semester in the credential program, and by spring 2023, I hope to teach and be one step closer to achieving my dream job.
When I was in my history class in high school, the teacher vaguely went over Asian American History. I remember when I was into horse racing, I was watching a program about the history of the race track and apparently, during world war 2, there wasn’t racing for a period of time here in Los Angeles because they were using that space to imprison Japanese people. Many Japanese people came from all over the country and had to endure fear, hate and injustice because of the government. Granted the attacks of pearl harbor occurred, but to target one specific race was not a good choice.
As a future educator it’s important to challenge the negative narrative that has been laid onto Asian Americans. My discipline is physical education (PE) and as a teacher, if something pops up in social media, news, etc, that seems offensive or bothers myself or my students, I believe it’s my duty to address and express how I feel because I know my student’s are feeling it too and I want to be there for them. Teaching Asian American studies in PE can be challenging but not impossible. I believe content integration works best. For instance, I can do fitness stations with posters of exercises to complete, and on each station there can be a little story/information about Asian Americans culture. Lastly, when I’m doing closure I can do a check for understanding to make sure everyone was reading the task cards and not just doing the fitness stations. I think it works because It’s my way of teaching, assessing and being physically active in my physical education class. Also, collaborating with other teachers seems like a good idea because they may have other suggestions and lesson plans you can use in your classroom. I know when I do my student teaching, networking and seeing how other teachers integrate content into their lesson plan will be beneficial for my own growth.
As a teacher, we have to support our students and colleagues, this can be done by just being sympathetic and understanding. I remember during Covid 19, my friend from Toronto who is half Chinese, experienced hate crimes in his own Country of Canada. He told me people would mock and mumble words as they passed him. And I remember him mentioning it’s because of America, specifically Trump who insisted the Covid-19 is the “Chinese virus.” Similarly, there are other hate crimes such as the one in the article Reckoning with Anti Asian Violence, here the 2020 Atlanta spa shooting are recognized and talked about. As an educator and human being, checking up on my students/colleagues who may be Asian American is the first step, showing empathy and compassion is the 2nd step. If I’m ever in a situation where my students and colleagues need me, I will be there for them.
The first thing that comes to mind is awareness. I believe using social media, big posters to display at school, content integration and a constant update on school curriculum are some ways to get students, faculty and parents engaged. Secondly, I can be an advocate by promoting, attending, and creating lesson plans to include people that are Asian American and of all cultures. Dedicating the time and effort will pay off because I can see my students grow and challenge injustice when it’s presented to them.
I absolutely agree that it is very important to check up on our students and our peers when major events that impact them occur or when we when know something has happened in their life, as well as generally. It’s important to show them support, respect, and care all of the time. I think doing so will allow students to feel comfortable in your class and I hope to do the same for mine. It’s very important to me that my class be a safe and engaging place for my students to be. A lot of the time, due to the pressures of academia it can seem like only grades matter but their feelings, thoughts, and opinions are important too.
I also agree that awareness is very important for two reasons. One) people can’t work towards creating change in their community if they are aware of the problems in it and two) people can’t find support and resources if they aren’t aware they exist. Therefore it’s important to know what resources are available to share with anyone who needs them as well as know and understand social issues to be able to advocate for change.
Hi everyone. My name is Jasmine and I am a post-baccalaureate student aspiring to earn two Single Subject credentials; one in English and the other in art, from California State University Long Beach (CSULB). This is my second semester in the Single Subject Credential Program for English at CSULB and I plan to conduct my student teaching during the 2022 Fall semester.
I can’t recall learning about Asian-American history during my k-12 educational experience, except about the U.S. Japanese internment camps during WW2. Almost any knowledge I have about Asian-American experiences has come from friends, neighbors and colleagues who are a part of the community and have shared some of their personal experiences with me. Ironically, I have more knowledge about Chinese history, Japanese culture, and Pacific Islander (Aotearoa, Rapa Nui, Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Native Australian) visual and linguistic cultural practices than I do about Asian-American history.
As a future English teacher, there are a lot of ways I would like to craft my curriculum to allow my students to learn in a multi-cultural way. Presenting thematic text sets which incorporate various perspectives and showcasing contemporary and classic text that are authored by individuals from different backgrounds (races, gender, sexual orientation, religion etc.) is one of my ideas. I’m also considering having students write memoirs or present their funds of knowledge or a specific cultural practice to the class as another way to learn more about each-others culture and unique life experience and perspective. I can utilize these projects to get to know my students cultural experiences and inform me which texts I want particular classes to read as an entire class. I also plan to have a multicultural classroom library so that students can read from a variety of authors with various perspectives.
Additionally, I think it is equally important to help all of my students practice social-emotional learning practices, particularly self-awareness, social-awareness and interpersonal skills. I’m not certain about the source of hatred nor what can drive people to commit violence against others but I think trying to instill a sense of empathy or work towards perspective-taking might help mitigate part of the problem.
Hi Jasmine! Lovely to meet you on this virtual space. I love your vibrant outlook for an English classroom, it sounds inviting and culturally responsive. I appreciate the memoir idea for an assignment because not only does it build community, it shows you care to know who your students are. Their stories will matter and impact others- I think students need this more than ever. In a way, the work you will put into your classroom will be therapeutic for many. Social emotional learning activities are a plus! At first, I realized that I was not used to this kind of approach, but I embraced it as a way to heal myself. Great discussion post, Jasmine!
I am also in the Single Subject credentials for English. I believe that including many different authors from many different backgrounds is so important to let your students know that their history, their voices, and their cultures matter. I really like the idea of creating projects that support multicultural learning and allow for students to discuss their cultures in the classroom.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of people just want to blame other people when things in their life change or something bad happens which leads to them hating or being violent towards another group. Additionally, a lot of times the people who behave in this manner tend to pass it down to their children. I think that implementing multiculturalism in the classroom can help combat the spread of that hate and violence and hopefully help bring people together.
After reading the above resources, I was reminded how little we learn about different cultures throughout our educations in k-12. What we do learn is usually, one) large tragedies and two) a very narrow/whitewashed version of events. In regards to Asian Americans history specifically, I do recall learning about The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and about the Japanese internment camps in my k-12 history classes but I genuniely can’t recall learning about any major Asain America historical figures and very little about historical figures from Asia. I did learn more about Asian American history in college but it is unfortunate how it took taking specific classes such as ethnic studies in college to learn about this important historical Asian American figures.
I’m in the teaching credentials program for English and I intend to get my credentials in History as well. I plan to make sure my materials for both subjects to be diverse. Futhermore, I want to make sure these materials are not just diverse in terms of using works from athors of color, disabled authors, lgbt authors, etc as well as including stories/history from various cultures and communities but also making sure those materials are diverse in topics. For example, as I stated ealier, much of what I learned in my history classes was regarding tragedies that happened to margazined communities. I believe it is important to acknowledge that those events – it’s just as important to incorporate postive exaples of historical figures from all cultures.
For example, in History classes I would make sure to include information about Tye Leung Schulze who was a civil rights activitist in Chinatown durning the 1880’s and Bhagat Singh Thind who was an immigrant from Indian whose naturalization was an important part of removing racial barriers to United States citizenship. For Englsih classes, I would include works from Asian American authors such as short stories like “My Dear You” by Rachel Khong and “Sweetheart Sorrow” by David Hoon Kim as well as poetry like “American Syntax” by Ching-In Chen and “What For” by Garrett Hongo. I think these are important to include because my Asian American students deserve to experince learning about thier cultures and prominent memebers of thier communities in thier classes as well as deserve to hear those prominent memebers voices as well through thier work.
I appreciate that through your craft as a teacher you intend to diversify the content and the voices that your students will be experiencing in your class. I also felt like the education I received in K-12 education was lacking in supporting Asian American voices. Additionally, I really appreciate that you will not stop at including Asian American voices in your class. It’s amazing that you want to make sure that your students learn more about the experiences of other marginalized and minoritized groups. Thank you for providing examples of materials that you would use for your History Class and English Class because this also provides a place for us to start our own searches for more information.
Hi, my name is Samantha and I am a Social Science Credential student attending California State University Long Beach. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in History with specializations in United States history and Asian history. I hope to student teach in fall of 2022. My goal is to be a history teacher for middle school, focusing on ethnic studies as my approach.
I remember only being the kind of student who sought historical information for herself. The first time I learned about Asian American history was through a memorable film played in Disney California Adventure known as Golden Dreams. I recall learning about Chinese laborers working on the railroad and Asian women arriving to the United States as “picture brides.” In particular, the scene with the Japanese picture bride made me feel awful because there was a heavy theme of racism. As this woman was walking down a busy street, ripe tomatoes and racist remarks were thrown at her. From such a young age, I was surprised that Disney dared to show this historical film. I identify as an Asian American along with being Mexican-American; therefore, Golden Dreams served as my initial media representation to Asian-American history.
My experience in K-12 schooling had merely given me an insight into Asian-American agency and struggles. For instance, I learned about Japanese internment camps in the fifth grade and this compelled me to visit the Manzanar site. I was not very informed about my Filipino heritage until learning about Larry Itliong and the Watsonville Riots in college. For this reason, as a future social science educator, I want to support my Asian-American students in learning about their histories. What is even more important to me is that I want to allow them to share their identities as “mini-lessons” to create community in the classroom. On the other hand, although I am only half Asian-American, I also want to create solidarity with students who are also mixed or have grown up with the community.
Social studies is a place for discussion and I want to invite all of my students to participate in topics that are critical to Asian-Americans. From the beginning of the school year, I also want to serve as an ally and resource for those affected by distressing events. I remember hearing about the anti-Asian violence during the pandemic, notably a local incident where a reckless driver struck and killed two 24-year old Asian women in Lakewood. If I heard my students discussing a similar tragedy in class, I would address it promptly and mention that I would be available to speak with students privately.
One way I see myself taking on more the role of an advocate is by promoting Asian-American events, creating lesson plans with accurate information, and challenging the model minority myth. I want to dedicate the time and effort to get to know more about other Asian-American cultures. In my future history class, I want to represent these folks and encourage a dialogue that celebrates Asian-American voices. Thank you for reading!
Hello Everyone! My name is Chelsea and I’m an undergrad student at Framingham State University studying English and Secondary Education. So, I am not a teacher yet, but have been observing and teaching lessons in a high school. I am student teaching next semester in the Spring of 2022.
During my own k-12 experience I had minimal opportunities to learn about Asian-American history and culture. What I did learn, however, mainly focused on ancient Asian history and left out more recent history from the mid-20th century to current events. The most recent thing I remember being taught was a lesson on Japanese Internment Camps and how cruel they really were. Although I am grateful to have been taught about these important historical events, I was not given any material regarding Asian voices in literature or diverse representation throughout my courses. It seems as though after the unit was over the class changed directions and returned to the white, American perspective of history.
I am not Asian American, so I cannot speak on how this impacted my Asian American classmates and peers. I can, however, speak on what I will do in my own classroom to promote diverse representation and expand the historical and current narrative. I will make small adjustments to my class that students may not immediately recognize as well as significant lessons and acknowledgements of Asian American and all other cultures of my students. This can start with inclusive artwork and classroom decorations that display Asian American excellence, supplying the classroom with books written by Asian American authors, and will extend to incorporating the rich culture and history of Asian Americans into lessons and texts that students will study, read, or write about. Similar to many of the previous posters here, I will strive to make every student in my classroom feel comfortable, respected and acknowledged. The classroom should be a place void of hatefulness, discomfort, racism, sexism, ableism, and limiting and hurtful factors.
Good Evening Chelsea,
Thank you for giving us a window into your experience with your K-12 education. I agree that there was a lot of recent history that was left out of our history books which I think is disappointing because when we understand recent history, we can often times find this information more relatable. I too did not receive content from Asian voices in literature that I consumed and I agree that this seems to funnel the perspective that we get and really limit our exposure. It’s exciting to see that there are so many prospective teachers that are open and excited about introducing diversity to the way that they teach their lessons. I think supplying resources for your students to explore other cultures on their own is very exciting because it allows students to take the initiative. I am grateful that there are teachers like you coming into the field.
I enjoy reading from your point of view of your k-12 education, and I agree that much of Asian American history has been left untold, especially recent history. It is a shame that once history books have touched on the plights of a minority, they immediately shift back to the majority, or white narrative. I love that you want to bring understanding into your classroom, adding in both minor adjustments and major lesson for your students. Inclusive education can be enacted in even the most minute ways such as your examples of classroom decorations that celebrate Asian culture, or book written by Asian American authors. I am glad you want to create an inclusive classroom that respects and celebrates diversity among students.
Hi everyone. My name is Marco Cardenas. I’ve just begun my single subject credential program for mathematics at California State University: Long Beach. The articles and blogs associated with this group dialogue discuss the necessity of representing the history of Asians and Asian Americans in the US. I agree with this call for stronger representation, as I recall little representation during my K-12 schooling. The only moments I can recall from US history classes where Asian people in America were represented were in two time periods. The first instance of Asian/Asian American representation I encountered was during the World War II era, in which my textbook documented many Asian and Asian American citizens on the west coast were treated poorly and/or placed in internment camps for a period of the war under suspicion that they were cooperating with Japan, a country that was then an enemy of the US. The other time I recall Asian/Asian American representation in my US history classes is when the transcontinental railroads were being built, and my textbooks documented a significant source of labor came from Chinese immigrants.
These are the only two instances in my US history classes I remember learning about Asian/Asian American experiences. There are two issues with this representation. The first issue is that the aspects about Asian/ Asian American experiences I (and many other students) first encounter are those of subjugation and trauma. While it is important to document the histories of migrant ethnicities in the US, it is just as important to document their progression and their breakthroughs as parts of our country’s collective history. The second Issue I have with the representation of Asian/Asian American experiences in my K-12 US history courses is that while Asian/Asian Americans were represented, they weren’t the focal point of those moments where they were represented. Asians and Asian Americans being forced into internment camps during WWII was treated less as a moment of recognizing unwarranted acts against a minority group, and as more of a noteworthy comment blended into a discussion about how the United States domestically responded to being at war with Japan and Germany. The same goes for the representation of Chinese immigrants at the time of the construction of transcontinental railroads, as the extent of their representation was simply that they were the driving force of labor during these constructions.
Admittedly I have slightly more about Asian/Asian American contributions in the US since my K-12 courses, though it’s not nearly enough for me to have a meaningful dialogue with anyone more knowledgeable on the subject. I find it troublesome that I, a university graduate, feel I cannot offer anything significant to these discussions due to my lack of exposure to Asian/ Asian American experiences. I imagine this is the case for many who sympathize with the struggles our Asian/ Asian American peers are enduring in these times. I, and others in the following generations, want to be a part of these conversations and we want to support our peers, and I believe the first step to being able to contribute to these conversations is by getting greater exposure to the lives and history of Asians/ Asian American experiences in the US, both inside and outside the classroom.
Good Evening Marco
Thank you for giving us a window into your experience with your K-12 education. I appreciate that you also mention how we should speak of the many positive influences of the variety of cultures we have in the United States. The collective group would be where we are today if it wasn’t for the contributions of many individuals and communities. I hope that as a whole we can begin to speak more about the positive influences that immigrant people have given to the nation, while also paying attention to the wrongs that have been committed. I also find it concerning that even as a university graduate, there is still much that I need to learn about other groups. I appreciate that you mention the need to support our peers and to engage in a conversation so that we can make progress.
Just like you, I too had learned the bare minimum about Asian/Asian Americans in my K-12 education. Most of the information, I’ve been taught only pertains to topics such as subjugation, trauma, and WW2. I believe if we truly want to get to know one another we should be taught more about one anothers’ culture/race/ethnicity accomplishments, goals, support to society. Show as well the good, that way we won’t be stereotyped or pointed out for the awful, if not known for good things as well. Thank you for sharing with us, truly gave me a different perspective.
My name is Tram and I go to CSULB for my single subject teaching credential. I am one student teaching program away from getting my credential (1 year). Throughout my schooling years, I didn’t get to learn much about Asian American history or I wasn’t good at history to remember it. I just knew in the U.S, slavery of African American was far more damaging than what some Asians might have experienced. I wanted to argue about the term “Asian American.” The post defined it as “an umbrella term that white-washes the diverse ethnic, linguistic, and religious origins of people meant to be included.” I feel that partial of this definition is true but is false in a different perspective. Using the term “white-washed” always seem to have a negative notations to things but I didn’t feel that way regarding Asian American. I feel that Asians who grew up in America tend to identify themselves as an Asian American. This only means that they might not practice their culture values as often or they have faced some struggles that made them avoid their own culture. However, I feel that Asian American isn’t “whitewashing” but merely adopting American cultures more.
As a future educator, I do feel that I have the responsibility of guiding my students to a moral mindset and valuing differences. I loved math because its beauty contains a universal answer. Math is almost the same in every language and no matter what the problem is, the answer will still be the same. As a math teacher, I would assume there won’t be much history lesson included. However, as we are approaching a more progressive society, there will be more exposure of racism and violence. I feel that my job as a teacher is to address these kind of issues when they come up. Thus, when events such as black lives matter and the shooting, I will immediately address it and teach my students about passion, empathy, and understanding. In my classroom setting, I expect to adopt culturally responsive strategies that pushes students to appreciate cultural differences