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Posted on Sat, Jun 19, 2010 : 12:01 p.m.

U of M Center for Japanese Studies hosts cultural competence workshop for teachers

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

June 21-22, an interesting workshop for teachers entitled “Understanding your Students: A Workshop on Cultural Competence” will be sponsored by the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, in collaboration with the Centers for Chinese, Korean, and Latin American & Caribbean Studies and the Program on Intergroup Relations, and held at the University of Michigan. This workshop seeks to help teachers, school administrators, school counselors, and families celebrate diversity while seeking to better understand the international students that have become an increasing part of the classroom.

From an email from the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies:

Michigan is home to a diversity of families from around the world, some of whom are here temporarily and whose children are enrolled in American schools with little or no knowledge of English language and American culture. This workshop will introduce the various cultures of these children, the challenges faced by these students—challenges that are distinct from their American counterparts— recommendations for accommodating such students in a typical school classroom, and resources available within the community for teachers and their students. The first day will focus on the culture of the Japanese and the differences that can create misunderstanding. The second day will introduce other cultures, topics applicable to all immigrant and expatriate groups, and allow participants the opportunity to listen to international voices.

Presenters come from the Wayne State University Confucius Institute, The University of Michigan Japanese Family Health Program, The Japanese School of Detroit, The University of Michigan Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Ann Arbor Public Schools, The Ann Arbor Chinese Center of Michigan and Asian American Village and the University of Michigan Program on Intergroup Relations.

Note: Frances Wang will be one of the presenters.

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of Asian American Village, lead multicultural contributor for, and a contributor for New America Media's Ethnoblog. She is a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her Web site at, her blog at, and she can be reached at