2017 Teachers Workshop Abstract
During July 26-27, 2017, the 1990 Institute welcomed some 70+ teachers and special guests to its “China’s Social Kaleidoscope.” Teachers Workshop at the San Mateo County Office of Education in Redwood City, California. With morning lectures given by renowned guest speakers from a variety of fields and afternoon break-out sessions designed to help teachers produce course-ready material, our annual workshops aim to provide teachers with the most current knowledge about China that can be used in their classrooms.
Workshop moderator Clayton Dube, executive director of the US-China Institute at University of Southern California, opened the first day with an in depth review of China’s “One Belt, One Road Initiative.” He explained its goals of fostering inclusiveness, connectivity, innovation in building a China-centric economy, as well as and its ties to repressive events in China’s history and consequently the dream of national rejuvenation.
Dr. Qingwen Dong, professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at University of the Pacific, introduced WeChat, China’s now ubiquitous “super-app” that combines the functions of Facebook, Skype, Amazon, Uber, Yelp, Paypal, and more, and its impacts on the Chinese society.
Matt Sheehan, former journalist with The Huffington Post, recounted the stages of the China-Silicon Valley relationship with the new paradigm: “While trans-Pacific flows of people, money and ideas have never been greater, technology companies and the internet itself remains starkly divided by national boundaries.”
The last session for day 1 was the Sinica Podcast hosted by Kaiser Kuo, who interviewed and debated with Dr. Susan Shirk, research professor and chair of the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego, and Dr. Stanley Rosen, political science professor at University of Southern California. The panel covered a broad range of US-China topics, from early relationships between Trump and Beijing, to China’s use of soft power, to Chinese leadership politics during the Trump administration.
Starting on Day 2, Dr. Yong Cai, associate professor at University of South Carolina, described China’s demographic history in terms of fertility, mortality, migration, and demographic momentum to reveal the causes and implications of China’s low fertility rate.
Next, Eric Fish, author of China’s Millennials: The Want Generation, described how changes such as increased GDP, greater internet penetration, and decreased government presence in daily life have shaped the way this generation reacts to the social, economic, and political pressures of today.
Lenora Chu, author of Little Soldiers: An American Boy, A Chinese School and the Global Race to Achieve, offered an on-the-ground view of the Chinese education system, drawing from her experiences as a Chinese-American mother and journalist in China. Through this analysis of the Chinese education system, Mrs. Chu identified both the shortcomings and commendable features of Chinese education.
Dr. Frank Chong, superintendent of Santa Rosa Junior College and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, then discussed trends in student demographics, college readiness, technology, and growth of for-profits colleges in America.
At the Workshop’s conclusion, teachers were asked to develop a proposal for a lesson that can be taught during the coming school year, and that utilizes lectures from this or our earlier workshops.
Materials used at the Workshop can be found at the following pages: