Upriver at Qingming:
An Excellent Adventure
By Heather Clydesdale
A loose and fun American film from the late 1980s causes pangs of longing in the hearts of teachers. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
tells the story of two slacker students on the brink of failing social studies when a time machine whisks them off to meet Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon. They discover that history is riveting, relevant and, in their words, “Awesome, Dude!”
If all students had a time machine, they would undoubtedly have the same revelation. Fortunately, three educators of Chinese language have commandeered such a device, and are inviting others to share the ride. For instance, Dali Tan
, president of CLASS and a former member of the Advanced Placement (AP®) Chinese Language and Culture Development Committee, explains how she uses the Song dynasty masterpiece Qīngmíng Shànghé Tú
《清明上河图》(“Along the River at Qingming Festival”) to connect her students to Chinese history, culture, and language while building 21st-century skills. “I am frequently surprised,” remarks Tan, speaking in Chinese. “My students think that history is extremely rich.” Read on!