China in Transition: Economic Development, Migration, and Education

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Stanford University
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Curriculum Unit
Average: 4 (2 votes)


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A Timestamp of China's Rapid Growth

Field of Interest/Specialty: Social Studies
Posted On: 01/12/2020

China in Transition: Economic Development, Migration, and Education is a wonderful resource from Stanford University that covers the unprecedented growth of Modern China. The book comes with a CD containing all of the charts graphs and readings within the unit.
The unit takes a traditional timeline view of the recent changes in China's economy, migration patterns, and urban growth. Ideally, the information would best suit a high school level economics or world history class. This unit would fit as study in Chinese economics in an economics class. A world history class would struggle to use the unit as a whole, but a wise teacher would use several of the resources within its pages to supplement a lesson. It is simply too focused to fit any curriculum today outside of an Asian Studies class in high school. Do not let that deter you though! The information found in its pages are valuable and are easily applied to other lessons outside of the format given within the book/CD.
Additionally, there is only one other review written here, which was in 2013, only one year after the book was published. The 2010's have seen the meteoric rise of the Chinese economy and world influence. This book is simply a snapshot of what had happened until 2012. Like China's rise, the past 10 years have seen exponential growth from China. Again, I urge the reader to use this book to support other material in their lessons. The data and charts found within it provide a great visual for learners as well as some of the questions to develop further understanding.
I would highly recommend this book to educators looking to highlight the growth from China in the past half century, but it is not the only resource an educator should be using as the world and China especially continues to change and grow.

Curriculum Unit Review: China in Transition

Field of Interest/Specialty: World History
Posted On: 05/23/2013

Christy Knable
Grade 6 World History
Sewickley Academy
China in Transition: Economic Development, Migration, and Education
SPICE Stanford University
China in Transition: Economic Development, Migration, and Education, a curriculum unit on modern China by Stanford University’s SPICE group, is an excellent resource for teaching the new (and ever changing) global trends in technology, industrial development, environmental protection, and health related fields seen in China over the past forty years. This curriculum unit would be ideal in an Economics or World History course for grades 9-12. In its entirety, the unit recommends a total of fourteen 50-minute class periods for completion. The unit packet includes a CD-ROM of handouts, PowerPoint files & presentations, unit images, Excel spreadsheets, and a few other resources to use for various projects.
The unit focuses on introducing students to the challenges of an exponentially developing economy through a study of poverty, migration, urbanization, inequality, and education. The unit starts by taking a look China’s geography and introducing basic economic principles. Depending on the age group and their previous exposure to China, this set of three lessons could be trimmed down into one or two shorter lessons if needed. When working with a group of students without a prior study of economics, it would be worth spending four class time to lay the ground work for the rest of the unit. The discussion of the role of education in development is also introduced in this section.
The unit continues with a focus on poverty in China; what poverty was before industrial development following World War II and what poverty looks like in China today. There is a neat activity with case studies of poverty in China where students have to make a recommendation of how to change the circumstances of the provided individual or their family. This is a small activity that could be expanded upon if desired. Moving on from a discussion of poverty, internal migration is studied, looking at migrant trends from rural regions of China to the packed urban centers of industry. This section poses some challenging questions on the role of tradition in a society striving for innovation. High school students could truly latch onto this as they work to develop their own unique identity, separate from or as part of their heritage.
Overall I feel this is an excellent resource for a high school Economics or World History teacher. The challenge would be to complete this rich unit in any sort of limited time frame. The recommended fourteen class periods could easily turn into twenty classes. One missing piece of the unit is a philosophical discussion of human progress. Are economic development, technological innovation, and educational advances always a desirable and necessary thing, even at the cost of tradition and, at times, safety? I would plan on supplementing part of the unit with a lesson or two to engage in this discussion.