Lesson 2: Teaching History of One Specific Place


Return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2016 | Chen Guo's Portfolio Page | Chen Guo's Mini-Course


Note.jpg Introductory Narratives

Teaching the history of one specific place is not an easy work for every teacher. Some students, who are interested in researching history in one specific location, complain that seldom of the textbooks have put historical events and their impacts on the development of that place in the chapters. In fact, most history textbooks are telling general history chronologically. It might be time-consuming for teachers to collect documents and images of people, culture, and historical features in a particular city or area and present these contents to students as well. The purpose of this lesson is to provide possible ways of teaching history of one specific place with the help of music and other cognitive tools, such as photographs, videos or slides. As the lyric of the song serves as a basic element which is commonly used for history instruction, discussion and activities designed and implemented in this lesson are based on analysis, comparison and extension of the lyrics of selected songs.

Note.jpg Songs Used in This Lesson

  • Shanghai 1943 (Chinese) [1] sing by Jay Chou
  • Evening Primrose(Chinese)[2] sing by Teresa Teng
  • Night Shanghai (Chinese) [3] sing by Xuan Zhou
  • Shanghai Beach (Chinese) [4] sing by Liyi Ye

Note.jpg Procedures/ Activities

  • Before playing the songs, raise several guiding questions for learners to consider while listening and watching the videos of the songs.
  • Play Shanghai 1943 for students, showing some photographs which depict peoples, buildings, and scenery of Shanghai in 1940s while playing the music.
  • After playing the song, project the lyric of this song in front of class and guide students to analyze some pieces of lyrics which can reflect historical features of Shanghai in 1930-1940s, and then provide them materials which depict the history of Shanghai during that period.
  • Play Evening Primrose and Night Shanghai, showing some photographs of what night Shanghai looked like in 1930/1940s while playing the music.
  • Project the lyrics of both songs in front of class and ask students to compare the differences and similarities between the descriptions of two songs.
  • Play the video of the opening theme of Shanghai Beach (TV Series with the same name).
  • Analyze the lyric of Shanghai Beach and help students to feel the inspirations and the struggles of the people then which are expressed by the song.
  • Organize students to work in groups to imagine and draw their pictures with old Shanghai elements after listening to the songs and watching the images.
  • Assign writing assignment whose topic focuses on the comparison of Shanghai's past and present.

Note.jpg Guiding Questions

  • What were the representative things mentioned in the lyric of Shanghai 1943?
  • What did the streets and the buildings in Shanghai look like in 1940s?
  • Why did the singer of Night Shanghai say "Night Shanghai is a city with lights turned on all nights"?
  • Can you use some words to describe life in shanghai at night in 1940s and today?
  • What is your feelings after listening to Shanghai Beach? What reasons do you think that make it classic?

Note.jpg Lyrics of the Songs

  • Shanghai 1943: [5]
  • Evening Primrose: [6]
  • Shanghai Night: [7]
  • Shanghai Beach: [8]

Note.jpg Related Information and Images

  • Big Events in 1943: [9]
  • Shanghai in 1940s: [10]
  • Wunong soft words: [11]
  • Couplet: [12]
  • Longtant: [13]
  • Shikumen: [14]
  • Wusong River: [15]
  • Shanghai International Settlement: [16]
  • The Bund in Shanghai: [17]
  • Night Scene at the Bund in Shanghai: [18]

Note.jpg References / Resources

Go back to: Lesson 1: Using Lyrics to Teach History

Continue on to: Lesson 3: Teaching History of One Specific Event or Period