College of Education Leads Effort to Achieve State of Illinois’ TEAACH Act Goals
by Ashley Lawrence / Jun 24, 2022
Free professional development geared for Illinois K-12 educators now available online.
The State of Illinois made history last year when it became the first in the nation to mandate the teaching of Asian American history in K-12 public schools. To support the implementation of the TEAACH (Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History) Act (HB 0736), the College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is leveraging its faculty members’ expertise and extensive knowledge of this subject matter to launch a first-of-its-kind professional development series as a go-to resource for Illinois teachers and librarians in learning and teaching about Asian American history.
“We should care about the TEAACH Act for the same reasons we care about American history and understanding how different segments of our society have developed over time,” said James D. Anderson, education historian and dean of the College of Education at Illinois.
“What is relevant about learning the history of the marginalized, minoritized segments of U.S. society is not only discovering the contributions they have made to the building of America, but the ways in which these segments helped define America,” said Anderson. “If we exclude them, or rule them out, we also rule out the possibility of understanding the society in which we live today.”
The TEAACH Illinois online professional development series is asynchronous, self-paced, and includes three modules that each address specific aspects of Asian American experiences. The series’ approach considers the racialized experiences of minority groups in the U.S., particularly the historical and structural inequities and problematic stereotypes of Asian Americans as “model minorities” and “forever foreigners”.
Module one is an introduction to the racialization of Asian Americans; module two covers Asian American history; and module three addresses contemporary issues facing Asian American communities. Notably, the series is designed to not just provide lesson plan content and resources but to also cultivate educators’ insights and reflections on their own identities, unconscious biases, and approaches to teaching Asian American history. Teachers can access the TEAACH Illinois training free of charge and earn professional development hours upon module completion.
Additionally, University of Illinois researchers will collect data from participants’ completed course assignments to better understand teacher and librarian experiences and identities in teaching Asian American history. Educators must give their consent to participate in the study, which is voluntary and will not affect learning assessments, access to materials, or earning of professional development hours. All data and feedback gathered through the study will be anonymized and used to improve future iterations of the training modules.
More information about TEAACH Illinois professional development series content, research study information (including consent form), and registration can be found at the TEAACH Illinois website.