To date, I have taught twelve university-level courses, nine of them as the sole instructor. I’ve taught at a small liberal arts college, an Ivy, and a Big Ten school.
As a consequence, I have begun to accumulate materials and need somewhere to put them. In future, I’m planning to create a wiki for lesson plans in Chinese history. For now, here are some things I’ve made:
Classroom Activities and Lesson Plans
East Asian Text Diagramming Exercise: this concept mapping exercise was a finalist for an ABL Connect competition in creative classroom teaching. Really, it seems like the simplest thing to me: have students puzzle through something that seems complicated and dense by working out the ideas on paper.
Syllabi (or Syllabuses) and Evaluations
As Adjunct Professor
I have had the good fortune of teaching Chinese history surveys to very capable young people. According to student feedback, I’m not bad at it, either. The key is to create a community of learners building knowledge together, and while that sounds trite, I actually think it’s true. Students in America usually walk into a Chinese history class with no idea what to expect, and they immediate find themselves up against something deeply unfamiliar. That can be alienating. This is why I focus on working directly with primary materials through close analysis and speaking out loud about the material. Ideally, when a student leaves my classroom, that student has become more “fluent in China,” or at least communicative — a confident participant in a dialogue about the past (and present) of an exciting and complex country.
As Teaching Fellow or Assistant
I have been an assistant instructor at Indiana University and at Harvard.
EAS 97ab: Sophomore Tutorial in East Asian Studies: this is the most wonderful hodgepodge of a course — a new professor comes in every week to talk to East Asian Studies undergrads about art history, gender studies, political economy, archaeology — just about every methodology represented among the East Asia scholars at Harvard. In my role at Head TF, I was responsible not only for running a discussion section, but also for coordinating the course activities. Evaluation
SW12: China!: an intro-level Yao-to-Mao survey of all of Chinese history and GenEd course at Harvard. I was involved in planning lessons and grading assignments. This was a very valuable experience — without it and the Sophomore Tutorial, I’m not sure I would have known how to construct the surveys I went on to teach at Conn and Lesley.
E103: The Great Wall of China: the history of Sino-Steppe relations for first-year undergrads! For this course at Indiana, I had the fortune of working under a very capable senior teaching assistant, with Dr. Christopher Atwood as a course head. It is very challenging to make the Orkhon Inscriptions interesting to teenagers, but we managed. Evaluation
I’m now teaching Elementary Uyghur A-B for the third time at Harvard. I’ll miss it. I think that I’ve worked out a reasonable way to teach in one year most of the grammar that students need to know to: 1. communicate their ideas and opinions, 2. navigate everyday situations, and 3. move on to study in Central Asia or in an upper-level course. The syllabus has changed little over the past five years.