1st Edition

Teaching Asian America in Elementary Classrooms

    192 Pages
    by Eye On Education

    Asian American voices and experiences are largely absent from elementary curricula.

    Asian Americans are an extraordinarily diverse group of people, yet are often viewed through stereotypical lenses: as Chinese or Japanese only, as recent immigrants who do not speak English, as exotic foreigners, or as a “model minority” who do well in school. This fundamental misperception of who Asian Americans are begins with young learners―often from what they learn, or do not learn, in school.

    This book sets out to amend the superficial treatment of Asian American histories in U.S. textbooks and curriculum by providing elementary teachers with a more nuanced, thematically driven account. In chapters focusing on the complexity of Asian American identity, major moments in Asian immigration, war and displacement, issues of citizenship, and Asian American activism, the authors include suggestions across content areas for guided class discussions, ideas for broader units, and recommendations for children’s literature as well as primary sources.

    Introduction. 1. Pedagogical Overview. 2. Identity and Stereotypes. 3. Im/Migration. 4. Citizenship. 5. War and Displacement. 6. Activism and Resistance. 7. Contention and Complexity


    Noreen Naseem Rodríguez is an Assistant Professor of Elementary Education and Educational Justice in the College of Education and Core Faculty in the Asian Pacific American Studies Program at Michigan State University. She studies the pedagogical practices of Asian American educators and how elementary educators teach so-called “difficult histories” through children’s literature and primary sources. Before becoming a teacher educator, she was a bilingual elementary teacher in Austin, Texas for nine years.

    Sohyun An is a Professor of Social Studies Education in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at Kennesaw State University. Her teaching and research centers on issues of race, war, migration, and imperialism within the context of social studies education. She is a founding member of Asian American Voices for Education, a grassroots collective in Georgia with a mission to advance K-12 Asian American studies and ethnic studies in public schools. Prior to migration to the US, she taught secondary social studies in South Korea.

    Esther June Kim is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Secondary Social Studies in the School of Education and an affiliate faculty in Asian Pacific Islander American Studies at William & Mary. Her research explores how different communities are represented in Social Studies curriculum, particularly racial and religious communities. Prior to her work in teacher education, she was a high school history and humanities teacher in South Korea and California. 

    "Teaching Asian America in Elementary Classrooms is a critically important book that I wish my son's teachers had read. If you teach Asian American children or want to understand Asian American education at the elementary level, you need this incredible book."

    —Wayne Au, Professor, UW Bothell School of Educational Studies and Rethinking Schools editor

    “This book is a vital tool in helping teachers tell the story of Asian America. It is the story of America itself, and it deserves to be shared with every student, at every age, all year round.”

    —Christina Soontornvat, three-time Newbery Honor recipient 

    "This book offers a place to enter when inquiring about Asian and Asian Americans with the full complexity of those categorical markers. With both examples and a humility on the part of the authors, readers are invited into an often invisiblized reality in the U.S. that have always been connected to Asian American organizing for rights over the past two centuries."

    —Leigh Patel, Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Education, and Central Chair Committee, Education for Liberation