• Teachers in Day 2 with Professor Nina Macaraig (top left)

  • Wouter Schouten, Oost-Indische Voyagie Tom III, 376. 1676, WikiMedia Commons, cropped/Public Domain

The 2021 Sites of Encounter K-12 teacher workshop showcases these two major trade centers as prominent drivers of global integration and cultural diffusion.

In June 17-18, 2021, over 40 K-12 teachers across California gathered for the virtual Sites of Encounter in World History workshop focused on Malacca and Istanbul/Constantinople during the 15th to 17th centuries. This workshop was funded by U.S. Department of Education Title VI grants at UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) and UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES) and is part of a teacher training initiative focused on exploring different civilizations and empires around the world throughout history.

This 2021 workshop was organized in collaboration with UCLA History-Geography Project (UCLAHGP) and UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project (UCBHSSP), both serving as K-12 teacher outreach programs under the California Subject Matter Project authorized by the state statue. Since the adoption of the CA History-Social Science (HSS) Framework for K-12 education in 2016, HGP and HSSP have been working closely with public schoolteachers within the state to design new resources to reenvision K-12 history teaching using more culturally-responsive, inquiry-based approaches.

Therefore, the goal of the Sites of Encounter workshop series is to provide pedagogical training to K-12 educators to increase their capacity to integrate new area studies content into their classroom instruction to better align with the HSS Framework. The 2021 workshop was organized as a two-day webinar in an effort to support professional development for teachers despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Throughout the workshop, teachers received course maps and unit guides created by UCLAHGP and UCBHSSP and were trained on how to apply those planning tools to reassess their curriculum and address in-classroom needs. They were able to interact with different technologies for classroom presentation such as Padlet and Jamboard and participate in discussions on the practicalities of implementing the HSS Framework to share strategies for application. 

Faculty experts gave lectures to provide a historical overview about the two sites. The first day featured Professor Leonard Andaya (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa) who centered the importance of spices like cloves, nutmeg and mace from Southeast Asia and the role of Melaka (Malaysian spelling of Malacca) in world trade networks during the early modern period. Through studying Melaka's geographic, cultural, and economic transformations during an era of increasing global convergence, educators can draw comparisons with other port cities present and past in function, people, culture, infrastructure, and nature, Andaya explained.

Andaya also looked at the impact of human expansion and exploration beyond European voyages to dissect the Africa-Asia connection and the lasting implications of colonialism in those regions. Hosting traders, merchants, and travelers from East Africa, Middle East, Europe, India and China, Melaka was a cosmopolitan, hybrid port city, serving as a site for religious and cultural exchange and experimentation in the age of global commerce.

Workshop facilitators introduced a yearlong course map for 7th grade history newly developed in 2020 by a team of collaborators through UCBHSSP. The course map provides a detailed outline on how to restructure a year of study for 7th grade to emphasize the theme of interconnection. It calls for instruction grounded in the conceptual idea of "global interconnectedness between 350 and 1750 CE when communities of people moved from being interconnected regionally and within hemispheres to interconnection on a global scale."

Teachers can utilize the course map to build lessons that cultivate student understanding of interconnection across scales - personal, community, regional, hemispheric and global. By the end of the school year, students can critically analyze the ongoing impacts of this turn to global interconnection in informing the world we live in today.

The following day, Professor Nina Macaraig (Koç University) presented on Ottoman political and architectural history. She urged educators to explore places like communal baths as "mini" sites of encounter and bring in examples from other cultures like Japanese onsen to make connections for their students and examine notions of ritual cleansing, community building, socialization and healing. "What is the relevance today? Why talk about the hamam (communal bath)?" she asked. "Baths is a near universal phenomenon. You have a shared experience that hopefully students would be able to relate to as well!"

Macaraig also emphasized the legacy of the Ottoman Empire on inter-ethnic relations in the U.S. today. She pushed teachers to draw lessons about diversity from the multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, multi-lingual history of Istanbul/Constantinople to make the content culturally relevant for their students.

Facilitators from UCLAHGP then guided participants through an exercise on how to execute the C3 Inquiry Design Model (IDM). The purpose of IDM is to shape student learning through inquiry-based instruction rather than over-prescription. UCLAHGP shared their adapted IDM template that uses inquiry questions, formative tasks and sources to give students the skills to explore compelling historical questions, investigate and support their arguments, make conclusions and recognize connections to their current lived experiences. 

At the end, participants were invited to create lesson plans utilizing the area studies content and pedagogical tools from the 2021 workshop. After review, lesson plans will be posted to the Sites of Encounter resource page established by CSEAS and CNES to make resources from the workshop series readily accessible online.

As federally designated National Resource Centers under the Title VI grant, CSEAS and CNES are committed to providing training programs for educators and developing curriculum materials for the teaching of world regions.


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Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2021