All SPICE News Blogs August 30, 2022

2022 SPICE/NCTA East Asia Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers

Teachers from all regions of the United States and from China participated.
SPICE/NCTA East Asia Summer Institute participants
SPICE/NCTA East Asia Summer Institute participants

From July 25 through 28, 2022, 21 educators from across the United States and China gathered online for the 2022 East Asia Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers, a teacher professional development seminar offered by SPICE in partnership with the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia. NCTA is made possible by the Freeman Foundation. Over four days of rich content lectures, discussion, and experiential learning, institute participants deepened their background knowledge on Asia and the Asian American experience and began to rethink and revamp their curriculum plans for the 2022–23 school year.

This year’s participants were from many U.S. states, including Alabama, California, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Washington. For the first time, three teachers from China—from Jiangsu and Guangzhou provinces—also took part in the institute. The teachers represented a wide range of teaching subjects, from history, social studies, language arts, and literature, but all sought to strengthen their teaching through a clearer, more nuanced understanding of key episodes in the history of East Asia and the Asian American experience.

The geographic diversity represented by the teachers from every region of the United States added a uniqueness to this year’s institute discussions, and the Chinese teachers who participated contributed invaluable insights, having been educated in China and now teaching there.
Jonas Edman

The institute’s guest speakers also came from diverse backgrounds, being university professors, curriculum specialists, and school educators with expertise on a specific aspect of Asia or the Asian American experience and/or pedagogy. Interwoven between the captivating content lectures were classroom-focused lesson demonstrations and pedagogy-focused discussions facilitated by SPICE curriculum designers. “We make sure we balance subject-matter content with pedagogical discussions in all of our teacher professional development seminars,” noted Jonas Edman, who managed the middle school institute. “We want to help middle school teachers integrate the knowledge gained from the scholars directly into the classroom.” To that end, summer institute participants each received complimentary literature and SPICE curriculum units to help them bring Asia and the Asian American experience alive for their students. The institute’s key topics and speakers were:

July 25: The Silk Road
Clayton Dube, Director, USC U.S.-China Institute, University of Southern California, “Silk Road—Goods, Ideas, and People on the Move”
Rylan Sekiguchi, SPICE, “Along the Silk Road” curriculum demonstration

July 26: Religions and Philosophies of East Asia
John Kieschnick, the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Professor of Buddhist Studies, Stanford University, “Buddhism: Ancestor Worship, Karma, and Vegetarianism”
Jonas Edman, SPICE, “Religions and Philosophies of China” curriculum demonstration

July 27: Tokugawa Japan
Uldis Kruze, Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of San Francisco, “Edo Japan 1600–1868”
Karen Tiegel, The Nueva School, “Japanese Art in the Edo Period” curriculum demonstration

July 28: Asian Voices and Asian American Experiences
Takami Nieda, English Department, Seattle Central College, “The Color of the Sky is the Shape of the Heart in the Classroom”
Gary Mukai, SPICE, “Early Japanese American History”
Jonas Edman, SPICE, “Angel Island,” “Chinese American Voices,” “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” curriculum demonstrations


Edman commented, “Being in the Bay Area—and particularly at Stanford University—we have access to such incredible experts on subjects that are highlighted in most state curriculum middle school social studies standards.” Edman continued, “Our job is to connect those experts with teachers in a way that supports teacher needs. That was our goal for this summer institute. The geographic diversity represented by the teachers from every region of the United States added a uniqueness to this year’s institute discussions, and the Chinese teachers who participated contributed invaluable insights, having been educated in China and now teaching there.”


In addition to our middle school institute, SPICE also offers other teacher professional development opportunities like the East Asia Summer Institute for High School Teachers and East Asia Seminars for Teachers in Hawaii. To be notified of future application periods, join our email list or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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