Workshop Details

Proposed Sessions for the series of Spotlight on China Workshops

Birmingham, Huntsville and Thomasville, Alabama

March 2015


Opening session:  8:15 am – 8:30 am

First Session: 8:40 am – 9:30 am

Second Session: 9:35 am – 10:25 am

Break: 10:25 – 10:35 am

Third Session: 10:40 am – 11:30 am

Fourth Session: 11:35 am - 12:25 pm

Lunch: 12:30 – 1:05 pm   “Taste of China”

Fifth Session: 1:10 pm – 2:00 pm

Sixth Session: 2:05 pm - 2:55 pm 

Closing Session: 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm


Advisory and Scholar Committee

Don Wood, Ph.D. Asian Art History, Birmingham Museum of Art, Curator

Iris Xu, Ph.D.  – Confucius Institute, Troy University in Troy (TU)

Rui Feng, Ph.D. – Culture and Language, Troy University at Montgomery (TUM)

Yahui Anita-Huang, Ph.D. Linguistics, Birmingham Southern College (BSC)

Deborah Levine – MS, Cultural Anthropology, Diversity Consultant, Chattanooga, TN

Sung (Paul) Cha – Ph.D., Korean History, Samford University (SU)

Harrison Miller, Ph.D., Professor of History, University of South Alabama (USA)

Lee-jan Jan, Ph.D. - Retired professor, University of West Georgia (UWG)


Proposed Presentations and Presenters

Workshop Sessions by Subject Area


Subject Area:             History and Culture of China

The Confucian ‘Analects” (Lunyu) as a Foundational Text for understanding the Overall Orientation of the Confucian Tradition – A broadly conceived historical approach to the reading of the ‘Analects; will be discussed in its literary, philosophical implications, but rooted in a historical context. The critical point of topic is to avoid typical stereotypes of China, Chinese and Chinese history.

 Presenter:  Matthew Levey, Ph.D., Professor of History, Birmingham Southern College

Audience:  Upper Middle and High School


Culture and Protocol - What do I do when I greet someone from China?  Bow, shake hands or just say “Hi”? What is important and what is not?  How do I make a good impression on the person I am meeting?  Also the issues Chinese students face when coming into the schools in Alabama and how to find success for those students will be discussed.

Presenter:  K.C. Pang, MBA, Project Manager, Golden Dragon Plant West Alabama, former Instructor, International Business, UAB School of Business

Audience:  All grades, General Public


Foot binding and Beauty in China -   For many Westerners who travelled to China in the nineteenth century, foot binding epitomized the backwards and barbaric nature of Chinese society and culture. Even today, this day foot-binding still remains a mystery to many. In this workshop, we’ll discuss the historical origins of foot binding and the place of women in China. We will also compare foot binding to beauty habits commonly practiced in the West—from the usage of corsets to plastic surgery. One of the goals of the workshop is to consider both the uniqueness of the Chinese historical experience and points of contact with the West. 

Presenter: Sung (Paul) Cha, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of History, Samford University

Audience: Upper middle or high school students


Eight Cuisines of China – Taste of China

The eight district regional cuisines of China offer different ingredients which range from sweeter braising and stewing to fresh, salty and crispy to mellow using freshwater fish, seafood and bamboo shoots. 

Presenters:  Local Chinese chefs

Audience:  All attendees


Subject Area:             Geography

Interactive Geography and Culture Activities for the Classroom – Get Ready to Create!   Picture students creatively studying China (various disciplines and cultures) through an Awards Show format – Best Philosopher, Best Politician, Best Poet… etc., bringing the country to life.  From research of the selected personality or event, students would create the categories, list candidate’s accomplishments and the explanations surrounding the selection of entries and winners.   Engaging the students to develop the script, assigning students to play the role of the winner, can turn in to a time of fun for student s and their families.

Presenter:  Max Rykov, BS, Creative Writer, Teacher, Producer education game shows, Actor

Audience: Upper Elementary – High School


Subject Area:                Activities for the Classroom on China

How to integrate into pre-collegiate classroom the material on great China-related websites and books of China-related resources – Participants will see how to infuse their classroom with great primary and secondary sources and allow their student to see a variety of aspects of Chinese history in a sophisticated and not simplistic way.

Presenter: Matthew Levey, Ph.D., Professor of History, Birmingham Southern College

Audience: Upper middle to high school


Here’s China!  Activities and Lesson Plans - Want to incorporate international cultural units into your classroom but can’t find the time to put the activities together?   Hear Dr. Finn and the student’s share how they designed activities about China and what is needed to implement them in the classroom.  

Presenter:  David Finn, Ed.D., Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Special Education Samford University.

Audience: Elementary


Subject Area:             Creative Movement and Integrated Curriculum

 An excellent way to understand the culture and people of a country is through the Arts. 

Curriculum component that teachers can replicate in their classrooms with students to create movement to teach poise, listening, response, but bringing China in because of the spotlight.


Subject Area:             Physical Education

Benefits of Ping Pong Eye hand coordination and writing skills improve noticeably when executing the techniques of Ping Pong.   A sanctioned tournament was held in Birmingham on January 31, 2015.  Players and teams from 7 states attended.  A sport anyone can play for fun or can seriously approach the technique for competition.  

Presenter:  Joe Xie, Instructor and Coach, BumperNets, Birmingham

Audience:  All grades


The Power of Tai’ Chi – Tai’ Chi is the action of “meditation in motion” that is often described as a gentle and graceful physical exercise.  Ironically it was first developed as a method of self-defense, but is not used to simply release stress.  It is successfully performed through deep breathing, and constant fluid movements of the entire body.  The benefits of tai chi are numerous.  Being relative simple and low-impact, people of all ages can try it.  The benefits include increase in energy, stamina, balance and flexibility which can lead to improved quality of life.

Presenter:  Kangmei (Kathy) Ren, LUTCF, MS, Tai’ Chi Coach, Hoover YMCA  

Audience: All grade level teachers


Subject Area:          Dance and expression

Experience the Richness of Chinese Culture through a Curriculum Based Experience – Bringing the culture of China into the classroom by incorporating dance offers students the change to actively engage in learning.   The presenter choreographed the story of   “The Nightingale” as a ballet.  This story includes Chinese cultural movements that are highly treasured such as a Dragon Dance, Ribbon Dances, a court dance & the plight of the Nightingale as a metaphor.  Activities will be shared that allow replication in your classroom.  

Presenter: Melissa Turnage, BA, Adjunct Professor of Dance, Birmingham Southern College, Arts educator/dance/choreographer, published short story writer & journalist

Audience:  Elementary


 Subject Area:          Languages

Teaching Chinese Tones:  Theories and Methods -  This presentation will focus on teaching Chinese speech sounds, tones, and ways of sparking students interest in learning Chinese on their first day of class. Chinese tones are similar to intonations in English.  Speakers of both Chinese and English use the same organs to produce the sounds and how they are produced in order to help students acquire native-like pronunciation in Chinese.  Lesson plans will be shared.  Anyone is capable of learning Chinese.

Presenter:  Yahui Anita Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chinese and Linguistics, Birmingham Southern College

Audience:  Language teachers, ESL teachers


Cultures, East & West, Linguistically and Historically -   As more and more Chinese students come to attend local schools and universities, it is imperative that teachers understand the process, methods, thoughts and preparation of learning an additional language.  Findings of teaching English to Chinese students; Chinese, English, and Computers to students in Canada will be discussed.  The discussion will also focus on language teaching and learning, language learning inefficiency, and languages and culture comparisons. 

Presenter:   Flobert (Rui) Feng, Ph.D., College of Education, Troy University

Attendees:  Language, ESL teachers, Students of International Education


Subject Area:             Visual Art 

The Arts of China - This sessions will introduce the basic materials used in Chinese calligraphy and painting such as the different kinds of Chinese brushes and pare, ink and colors, and the seals used for different purposes. The evolution of the four styles of Chinese calligraphy will be explained as well as the unique and important connection between Chinese calligraphy and painting.  All techniques will be explained and demonstrated.

Presenter:  Lee-jan Jan, Ph.D., Retired Professor, University of West Georgia

Audience:  Art teachers, Students of art and General public


Subject Area:         Diversity

Managing a Diverse Classroom – Tested and proven methods of addressing cultural differences in the classroom.  Students learn how to recognize and celebrate the differences and draw from the strength of the difference experiences and cultures.

Presenter:  Iris (Hong) Xu, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Chinese Language & and Second Language Acquisition, and Director of Confucius Institute & Asian Studies at Troy University

Audience:  Language teachers, ESL teachers, All teachers


Cultural Diversity Through Stories – How to use stories to generate discussion, awareness, and exploration of cultural differences.  Demonstration will include the Bunny Bear’s Adventures in Diversity Land CD and accompanying discussion guide.

Presenter:  Deborah J. Levine, BS, Award-winning author, Editor: American Diversity Report, Adjunct Faculty and Research Coordinator, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Audience: Elementary


Global Mindset Through Stories – How to use stories to generate discussion, awareness, and exploration of cultural differences.  Demonstration will include the Inspire Your Inner Global Leader Handbook and its discussion guide.

Presenter:  Deborah J. Levine, BS, Award-winning author, Editor: American Diversity Report, Adjunct Faculty and Research Coordinator, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Audience: Middle School


Global Leadership Through Stories – How to combine cultural anthropology, storytelling and leadership training to develop communication, conflict management and decision making skills.  Demonstration will include the Matrix Model Management: Guide to Cross Cultural Wisdom and accompanying workbook.

Presenter:  Deborah J. Levine, BS, Award-winning author, Editor: American Diversity Report, Adjunct Faculty and Research Coordinator, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Audience:  Upper Middle and High School