University of Pittsburgh



Shattering Myths:

Teaching About the Diversity of East Asia in the K-12 Classroom 

A free in-person seminar for K-12 Educators  


Funded by the Freeman Foundation and presented by the Asian Studies Center, University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh and the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia 



“All Asia is [NOT] One.” East Asia is a culturally diverse and historically rich region. This seminar will enhance your classroom’s curriculum by providing content and resources for teaching about cultural diversity through the window of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The seminar is designed for all K-12 educators and will provide you with a foundational East Asia survey, with emphasis on the theme of cultural diversity. Sessions include presentations by scholars and master teachers, hands-on activities, and discussions of resources and teaching strategies, including tools for online learning. 





All classes are held in 4130 Posvar Hall at University of Pittsburgh Oakland campus.

Parking stickers will be provided for free parking. 


Seminar Location: Room 4130 Wesley Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh Main Campus, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.

Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m. (Dinner provided) 

Dates and Class Session Topics:

  • Monday, September 9, 2024 - What is East Asia?
  • Monday, September 16 - Chinese Thought Systems and the Chinese Writing System
  • Monday, September 30 - Buddhism for the Unenlightened and Dynasty Smackdown
  • Monday, October 14 - The Shinto faith & The Art of Kamishibai
  • Monday, October 28 - Religious Diversity on the Silk Roads & the Joy of Tangrams
  • Monday, November 4 - An Introduction to the Japanese Language and Women Authors in the Japan
  • Monday, November 18 - Cracking the Samurai Code
  • Monday, December 2 - The Korean Language and Korean Popular Culture
  • Monday, December 16 - East Asian Foodways
  • Monday, January 6, 2025 - Vietnam: Shattering Stereotypes Past and Present and the Chinese Diaspora


An additional Follow-up Session(s) (6 hours total) required in the Spring of 2025. Possible dates are Monday, February 3 and 24, 2025 





Benefits for Participants 


Each participant who completes the course and course requirements will receive: 


  • $230 worth of teaching materials for your classroom, including the course textbook, additional materials such as a set of tangrams and a calligraphy set, and a $100 mini-grant for purchase of approved materials for your classroom. (The purpose of the mini-grant is to get teaching materials into “brick and mortar” schools. Due to the increasing variety of our seminar participants, not all participants may be able to receive a mini-grant. Please consult with us about this early in the course.) 
  • $300 stipend at the completion of all requirements including attendance at the follow up classes.
  • Certificate of Completion: Participants who complete all requirements and attend all sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion for 36 hours of PD as well as ACT 48 (number of hours to be decided but would not be less than 36 hours).   
  • NCTA alumni are eligible to apply for NCTA GEEO study tours to East Asia and are also eligible for small grants such as the Marie Wanek Fund, travel subsidies for conferences, and other benefits that we offer from time to time; NCTA alumni are also often given priority preference in competitive applications for summer institutes, Fulbright-Hayes study tours to East Asia and other programs. Our office also writes letters of recommendations for alumni who apply to competitive study tours and summer institutes. All alumni will receive a weekly NCTA email newsletter with information about free professional development programs and teaching resources. 



Seminar Requirements  

  • Expressed commitment to integrating East Asia into your curriculum. 
  • In addition, to complete the seminar and receive the benefits, you must fulfill the following requirements: Attend and participate in all sessions (36 contact hours, with 30 hours in the fall/winter and 6 hours in the spring)  Complete all assignments and requirements, including designing a lesson plan that incorporates East Asian material into your curriculum, writing a “reflection paper” and completing a mini-grant form for your teaching materials. (A full list of assignments will be posted on our website.)


  • Each participant is expected to come to class prepared to participate in class discussions. Each week there will be a short writing assignment, or some other short assignment based on the readings for that class.  




Learn more about Pitt's NCTA Seminar Instructors


Seminar Leaders


Dr. Brenda G. Jordan
Office: 412-648-7763 
Email: Send email

Dr. Brenda G. Jordan is a Japanese art historian specializing in Edo period (1603-1868) arts and culture, particularly paintings and woodblock prints. She is the co-author and editor of Copying the Master and Stealing His Secrets:  Talent and Training in Japanese Painting (2003), “Potentially Disruptive: Censorship and the Painter Kawanabe Kyōsai” in Hiroshi Nara, ed., Inexorable Modernity, Japan’s grappling with modernity in the arts (2007) and “The Trickster in Japanese Art.” Education About Asia, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring 2013), 26-31, among other publications. Her current book project is a Key Issues in Asian Studies series book, The Arts of Japan: Creativity and Innovation (Prehistory to the Present). Formerly Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, Florida State University, she joined the Asian Studies Center in 2001, and has been Director of the University of Pittsburgh coordinating site for the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA) since 2008. Pitt NCTA is one of seven national sites for the NCTA and oversees professional development programs, courses and curriculum development for an eleven state region.



Dr. Patrick Hughes
Office: 412-648-7737 
Email: Send email

Dr. Patrick Hughes is the Assistant Director of the University of Pittsburgh's National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA). He has lead and facilitated NCTA K-12 educator study tours to China, Tibet, Japan, and most recently Central Asia. Dr. Hughes holds a PhD in religious studies and has taught courses at the University of Pittsburgh and other local universities. He also teaches a first year programs course at Pitt, which focuses on Asian Studies.



Program Manager


Stephen Wludarski
Office: 412-648-7411 
Email: Send email

Stephen Wludarski is the Program Manager for the NCTA at the University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center. He holds a Master of Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) degree with concentrations in the digital humanities, digital scholarship and applied data-driven methods from the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information. Before joining the Asian Studies Center, he lived and worked in Kobe, Japan engaging in grassroots internationalization and English language education on the elementary and middle school levels. His area of study is pre-modern Japan and the utilization of digital humanities tools and online resources to enhance scholarship at all educational levels.





Seminar state: 

Lehigh University




East Asia Through the Lens of Visual and Material Culture 

An NCTA Foundational Seminar

A free online seminar for K-12 Educators  

Presented by Lehigh University and the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia at the University of Pittsburgh


Offered to all K-12 Educators in our 11 State Region of Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia


East Asia today represents a broad mosaic of ethnic, economic, geographic, and cultural diversity.  Even in our current period of rapid political and economic globalization, within which the region has played a major transformative role, East Asia retains its deep and rich cultural and artistic traditions and practices. This FREE foundational survey will include interactive lectures and activities focusing on the visual and artistic material cultures of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. K-12 educators will explore and integrate a wide range of strategies and resources supporting an enriched classroom learning environment. 

Application Deadline: January 15, 2024 or until the seminar fills 



Seminar Leader: Mary Rice

Seminar Location: Online via Zoom

Time: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) / 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Central Time)

Dates and Class Session Topics:

  • Thursday, January 18, 2024
  • Thursday, February 8, 2024
  • Thursday, February 15, 2024
  • Thursday, February 22, 2024
  • Thursday, February 29, 2024
  • Thursday, March 7, 2024
  • Thursday, March 14, 2024
  • Thursday, March 21, 2024
  • Thursday, March 28, 2024
  • Thursday, April 4, 2024 

An additional Follow-up Session(s) (6 hours total) required in May 2024 (date to be decided with class members’ input). 


Benefits for educators who complete all seminar requirements

  • $130 worth of materials for educators, including Charles Holcombe textbook
  • $100 mini-grant for additional teaching materials
  • $300 stipend (after completion of all assignments and seminar meetings)
  • 66 Professional Development hours (for PA teachers)
  • Certificate of Completion from NCTA
  • NCTA alumni have access to alumni newsletters with updates on free programs, online resources, recommended books and films, and opportunities for travel to East Asia.  


Seminar Requirements

  • Expressed commitment to integrating East Asia into your curriculum.
  • Attend and participate in all sessions, including the follow up classes (36 contact hours).
  • Complete all assignments and requirements, including designing a lesson plan that incorporates East Asian material into your curriculum, writing a “reflection paper” and completing a mini-grant form for your teaching materials. (A full list of assignments will be posted on our website.)
  • Each participant is expected to come to class prepared to participate in class discussions.


No prior background knowledge required. Please join us for this exciting opportunity to learn about East Asia! 


Application Deadline: January 15, 2024 or until the seminar fills 


If you have any questions, please contact Mary Rice at



Seminar state: 

University of Pennsylvania


Thank you for your interest in NCTA seminars at the University of Pennsylvania. Please check back later for full information about upcoming online and in person seminars near you.




Seminar state: