Teacher Programs

The View from Ground Zero: Teaching the Bomb through Literature


The View from Ground Zero: Teaching the Bomb through Literature

A NCTA Workshop for K-12 Educators

February 21, 2023

 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time


Teaching U.S. History, World History, Literature or even Elementary? 
Join us for a workshop that explores the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki through the lens of literature. The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki remains the only time that nuclear weapons have been used on a civilian population. Even though it occurred over 75 years ago, the trauma of the bombing persists in the bodies of survivors, the politics of the U.S.-Japan relationship, and the literature of postwar Japan.  
Scholars Shawn Bender and Alex Bates will provide you with an overview of the decision-making process that led to the dropping of the bomb, initial responses to the bombing in the U.S. and Japan, and the political dimensions of memorializing the bomb in the U.S. and Japan, including censorship of the Enola Gay exhibition at the Smithsonian. The workshop moves next to two personal narratives of the bombing from the perspective of people on the ground. These include versions of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, for elementary to high school students, Barefoot Gen, a graphic novel, the award-winning story of Sachiko, a Nagasaki survivor, for middle and high school students, and Hara Tamiki’s first-person account “Summer Flowers,” which is most appropriate for high school students.  PDF versions of these short stories (and any other readings) will be emailed to those who register for this program.
All participants will receive a set of books after the program for classroom use as well as a certificate of completion. Pennsylvania teachers will receive Act 48 hours for this program.
Open to all US K-12 Educators, Priority Give to educators in: Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia 

If you have any questions, please contact Shawn Bender at benders@dickinson.edu


Learn more about our presenters 



Alex Bates, Associate Professor of Japanese Language and Literature, Dickinson College 

Professor Bates is a specialist in modern Japanese literature and film. In addition to survey courses in these areas, he has taught courses in Japanese youth culture, war in fiction and film, ecocriticism, East Asian film, and cinematic adaptations of Japanese literature. Professor Bates's book on representations of the 1923 earthquake that destroyed Tokyo was published by the University of Michigan, Center for Japanese Studies Press in 2015. His research in this area has continued into other natural disasters in modern Japanese culture, including Japan's 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster. Other research interests include ecocriticism, urban modernism, and early post-war Japanese literature and film. 



Shawn Bender, Associate Professor East Asian Studies and Anthropology/Archaeology, Dickinson College 

Professor Bender earned his doctorate in cultural anthropology at the University of California, San Diego in 2003. At Dickinson he teaches courses on contemporary Japanese society, popular culture, music, demographic change, health and aging, and technology. Since the late 1990s, Prof. Bender has conducted ethnographic fieldwork with taiko drumming groups in Japan. This scholarship is the basis of his book entitled Taiko Boom: Japanese Drumming in Place and Motion (2012, UC Press). He has also examined the introduction of traditional musical instruments in primary and secondary school curricula in Japan. More recently, his research has focused on the connections among discourses of demographic crisis, changes in elder care, and the development of robotics in Japan and Europe. This work has taken him both to Japan and to Denmark (where some Japanese robotics technologies have found a home). Prof. Bender is also affiliated with the department of Anthropology at Dickinson and the Health Studies Certificate Program. He has received numerous research grants from such institutions as the Japan Foundation and the Japanese Ministry of Education. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies and in Social Science Japan Journal. 




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About Teacher Programs

NCTA provides content rich professional development programs for K-12 educators and pre-service teachers in all fields. This includes face-to-face college level seminars, online courses, workshops, book groups, webinars, and among other opportunities. Below are current offerings both locally and nationwide:

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Memories of Trauma: The Carnegie International Exhibition and Social and Emotional Learning for K-12 Educators


Memories of Trauma:

The Carnegie International Exhibition and Social and Emotional Learning for K-12 Educators


March 9, 2023

5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

In-person at Carnegie Museum of Art

Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Join Pitt’s National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA) and Global Studies Center at the Carnegie International art exhibition on March 9, 2023 from 5:00-9:00 p.m. for an innovative workshop for K-12 educators in which we will learn how artists from around the world process trauma through their art. This in-person evening program includes; admission to the exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art; dinner and an overview of the Carnegie International exhibition; a docent guided tour of six selected installations from the exhibition; and a round table discussion with area educators on art and social-emotional learning in the classroom. The program is free and will include Act 48 hours for area educators. Registration is limited.  



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China and Japan in Wartime, 1936-1945: War Experiences Through Literature


China and Japan in Wartime, 1936-1945: War Experiences Through Literature

An Asynchronous Special Topics Course

February 5-April 4, 2023


This free asynchronous seven-week special topics course for K-12 educators will consider a sampling of short stories and poetry written during and in the aftermath of WWII by Chinese and Japanese writers capturing experiences and memories of war in each country. The course consists of three two-week modules: war on the battlefield, war on the home front, and women’s experiences of WWII. All selections are in English translation and most appropriate for high school use; middle and high school educators welcome to apply, however. The course will take place asynchronously via the Proboards discussion board platform.  


Participants will be given access to all of the course materials and will also receive a complimentary copy of Modern Chinese History by David Kenley and Japan and Imperialism, 1853-1945 by James L. Huffman. 


Pennsylvania teachers, upon completion of this course, will be awarded Act 48 hours.  For teachers in other states, we can provide you with a certificate of completion and/or a letter from the instructors. Those who complete the course will also receive extra teaching materials. 


Course Instructors: Cindy McNulty and Lynn Parisi




Registration Deadline is January 27, 2023 or until course fills.





Learn more about our Special Topics Course Instructors


Cindy McNulty is an alum of Pittsburgh's first NCTA seminar in 2000 and since then, she has been an active participant, presenter, and online instructor. Her 44 years of high school teaching experience was in both History and Literature, ranging from World History, Global Studies, and Human Geography to World Literature and AP Language and Composition. 


Lynn Parisi is currently the director of the Program for Teaching East Asia and NCTA national coordinating site at the University of Colorado. In this role, Lynn develops secondary instructional materials and leads professional development courses for K-12 teachers, specializing in Japan studies. Prior to her work at the University of Colorado, Lynn was a high school social studies teacher.




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Folding it into the Curriculum: Origami and STEAM in the K-12 Classroom Workshop for Educators

Folding it into the Curriculum: Origami and STEAM in the K-12 Classroom Workshop for Educators

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Streaming Videos: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Origami Workshop: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Eastern Time 

Online via Zoom

Come learn about the modern applications of origami, a journey that takes us across the globe and to the stars and back! In this workshop, we will explore the “art of the fold” as developed by rocket scientists in the production of NASA’s Starshade; mathematicians in assessing three-dimensional space; and future engineers in constructing homemade origami robots. While folding math and science into the curriculum, we will also consider the history of paper-making in China, traditions of crane folding in Japan, and uses of functional origami in modern design! From the history of this art form to modern day research applications, we will learn how paper folding illuminates new and exciting directions in the classroom/ in cross-curricular teaching. While supplies last, origami sets will be sent to workshop participants.





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