Asian Studies teachers from across the country who recently met at Columbia University were the first to hear of a unique website created by four UTC faculty members. Dr. Lucien Ellington, Co-Director of the Asia Program at UTC, explained the components of a new Japan teaching module, an online public service tool to assist future teachers, current teachers, students in high school and freshmen and sophomores in survey courses in college.
“There is not another one like it in the country,” said Ellington. “The website is unique in that it is designed to provide educators and students in survey courses with basic information about critical Japan-related topics.”
The project has included a faculty summer seminar on Japan and a study tour of Japan led by Ellington.
Visit http://www.utc.edu/Research/AsiaProgram/teaching/ to see the Japan teaching module.
This peer-reviewed website provides the reader with components from UTC faculty Dr. Craig R. Laing, Associate Professor, Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography, who covered Japanese Cultural Landscapes; Alice L.Tym, Instructor, Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography who discussed Centripetal Forces in Japan; Ellington, who addressed Japan in World History and Dr. Sandra Watson, Associate Professor in the Teacher Preparation Academy, who explored Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Atomic Bombings and Resultant Biological Effects of Radiation.
The website was under development for nearly a year. Michael J. Wade served as technical consultant and module designer. Peggy Pollock of the Asia Program also provided technical assistance.
“The module has married content and pedagogy,” Ellington said. “You must have both to effectively teach.”
Ellington said teachers can use the entire module or elements of the module in the classroom, or assign reading as homework. He said all the material in the module could be taught in two weeks or less.
Watson’s interest in Hiroshima and Nagasaki prompted her to contribute to the project. “I think it is a great graphical collection of the enormity of the bombings. There are no other sites that present so many images and facts in one place. It will be powerful to whomever it reaches,” said Watson.
Laing provided numerous images in his component to illustrate the way the Japanese use every inch of land, including rice fields in the back yard of urban dwellings.
“One of the topics that I stress in my cultural geography course at UTC is cultural landscapes, defined as the visual result of the interaction between society and the environment. Since many of our students have not traveled much outside the United States, I like to show them how other parts of the world look, and maybe they will become interested in travelling as a result. Japan’s cultural landscapes are so different than ours that it is a great comparison. I want students to learn to ‘read’ and analyze landscapes more than just seeing some place and saying ‘oh, that’s a nice, interesting, or pretty place.’ Also, maybe they will begin to look at their own cultural landscape differently,” Laing said.
Alice Tym, instructor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography, enjoyed working on the project. “Teachers need good, concise material,” Tym said.
Japan has the second largest economy in the world, an influence felt at many levels in the United States. Japan is the tenth largest country in the world, and there are many business and cultural relationships with the United States, all good reasons for Americans to know more about Japan, according to Ellington.
The Lupton Renaissance Fund of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga provided financial support to develop the material on the website.
The module has been dedicated to the memory of UTC Art Professor Stephen LeWinter, a member of the team who was unable to finish a planned art component due to his untimely death.