Asia literacy

Globalization has moved the power base of the world economy, with Asia becoming increasingly central. The importance of Asian literacy is now recognized by world governments and influencing western public policy. Children will need cultural awareness and knowledge of Asia to compete in the future economy.

Knowledge of Asia can be integrated into most curriculums and teaching contexts. However, the first step is teacher education. In my opinion, travel is essential but what is also required is engagement with Asia. The culture iceberg metaphor is a useful illustration to explain engagement that goes beyond superficial understanding.


Image from the Asia Education Foundation

So where do teachers start increasing their knowledge of Asia beyond travel? How about learning an Asian language? I’ve started learning Bahasa Malay and have discovered sociocultural insights through linguistic structures and vocabulary. Language facilitates communication and engagement so it’s a good place to begin.

There are some excellent ideas for incorporating Asian content into curriculums on the Asia Education Foundation website.

Interesting resources are also available from

The Asia Society

Asia House

Asia Education Teachers’ Association

Asia New Zealand Foundation

Asia for Educators

Screen Asia

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