Grade 10/11/12 Shaping the Modern World
Thomas Jefferson High School
Shaping the Modern World is a course that attempts to explain “Why our world is the way it is today?” In the last 100 years, the world has experienced dizzying technological progress, yet age-old scourges of war, famine, disease, and revolution which continue to shape the development of mankind. Paradoxically, the 20th century witnessed one of the most "progressive" yet “destructive” centuries in history.
Within this context, I chose to exam the Chinese Cultural Revolution curriculum unit as a part of a larger East Asia Unit.
The unit was published by SPICE or Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education. The program is a great resource for teachers since it helps to promote a deeper understanding of Chinese culture, history, and contemporary issues. There is a diverse set of lessons and curriculum tools to help bring China to life in K-12 classrooms. The supplemental materials include a wealth of primary sources, song lyrics, key terms, timelines, propaganda images, and graphic organizers. The unit provides more than enough sources that can be selected and facilitated by the classroom teacher to adapt to various different curricular standards and levels.
The unit will be incorporated into a larger unit created to provide students with a greater understanding of 20th Century China. The lessons include geography, religion, and reform versus revolution. The plan is to implement the curriculum unit into the Shaping the Modern World course next year. Students will read Red Scarf Girl and Son of the Revolution in conjunction with the resources provided in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The resources will be adapted to include student examination of the definition of revolution, key terms, selected primary documents, propaganda, and song lyrics. Additionally, one of the other lessons included in the unit is a comparative analysis of textbooks and their portrayal of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in China, Taiwan, and the United States. These types of lessons are insightful and help to provide students with a deeper understanding of the causes, events, and outcome of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the larger context of China in the 20th century.