Sunday, October 21, 2007

Takaki ch 8- teaching through art

One of the methods of teaching that I do not typically use and am less comfortable with is artistic. Some students however are not only good at art, but find it a great outlet for expressing both their passions and their knowledge. Art can be both fun and expressive at the same time. From a work of student art the teacher can also, I believe, get a very good sense for s student’s comprehension of the issues based on how extensive and analytical the art work is. So in order to teach Takaki chapter 8 “Searching for Gold Mountain,” I will have the students draw a mural in teams of 3 in order to express what they have learned about Chinese immigrants in America in the second half of the 19th century. Below are some of the things that could prove valuable parts of a mural on Chinese life in America as discussed by Takaki:

  • their role as laborers
  • agricultural contributions and troubles (floods)
  • gold rush
  • mining/ miner taxes
  • building of the central pacific railroad
  • the dangerous nature of the work
  • formation of Chinese urban communities
  • anti-Chinese riots
  • angered white workers / unemployed
  • the Chinese Exclusion Act
  • Chinese fighting back against discrimination
  • The very small representation of Chinese women in America
  • Working as prostitutes
  • Building of Chinatowns
  • Underground associations
  • Chinese wives writing letters to their long removed husbands in America

Students will have the full period to work with the students in their group to decide which topics are most important and should be covered in their mural, how to visually represent, in a cohesive matter, the life and struggles of early Asian immigrants to the United States. Students will be practicing cooperative skills as well as learning artistically, and will not only benefit from their own projects but I think they will learn a whole lot from the work of their classmates as well!

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