Claudia Kean, Geography teacher at Silver Hills Middle School in Westminster, Colorado, recently returned from an 18-day study tour in Japan. Kean joined 16 other educators from across the nation in the study program, which is conducted by the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) at the University of Colorado.
The group traveled to Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Nara, Kyoto, Yokohama and Tokyo. Kean also had a home stay with a family in Kamakura City. During the program, the group focused on understanding Japan’s past and present through its encounters with peoples of East Asia, Europe, and the United States. They toured historical sites, visited with teachers and students at a middle school and universities, and learned from academic specialists. As a member of the study tour program, Claudia will pursue an independent study project to develop curriculum for her classroom.
Claudia was selected for the Japan study tour at the University of Colorado based on previous study of Japan and a commitment to enhancing instruction about Japan in her school building. In the fall, she will participate in a two-day follow-up workshop and will share her experience with students, other teachers, and the community throughout the coming academic year.
The 2010 Japan study tour was made possible through a generous grant from the Freeman Foundation, which has dedicated its efforts to improving the quality of teaching about Asia in the nation’s schools, with support from the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia at the University of Colorado.
Claudia hopes to facilitate creation of real connections between her middle school students and students in Japan, in an effort to deepen understanding in both nations of the complexity and depth of the two societies. She found her experience enlightening and moving, and hopes to return to Japan in the near future.