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Washington State University
College of Education

January 2011

Doubly good news for cultural studies

Cedric, Sachiko and Paula Groves Price
Cedric, Sachiko and Paula

What do you do when you’re three and waiting for your mom to get an award? For one thing, you catch the eye of the closest person with a camera.  Pullman campus photographer Shelly Hanks snapped this shot of Sachiko Price at the recent MLK Celebration, where Paula Groves Price was honored with the Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award for faculty.

Paula coordinates the Department of Teaching and Learning’s Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education program.   Every summer she works alongside her husband Cedric Price, director of WSU’s physical education program, managing a week-long residential camp on the Pullman campus for Coeur d’Alene Tribe youth leaders.

For another picture from the ceremony, see our Facebook page.

More good news from cultural studies: The journal Education Review published a review written by graduate student Patricia Maarhuis.  It begins: “The Curriculum Studies Handbook (CSH), edited by Erik Malewski (2010), is a thick tome and proved challenging to review due to its complexity in both breadth and depth of topic.”

Patricia, who works in WSU Counseling Services, responded to congratulations by saying: “It’s a wonderful program and I’ve so appreciated working with Dr. (Pauline) Sameshima.  She has been very supportive (with high expectations!) throughout the writing and publishing process.”

An American teacher marvels at Japanese schools

Mari Stair in Japan with market vendor
Mari Stair goes shopping in Japan.

Mari Stair, who is finishing her doctoral degree in WSU’s language and literacy program, is teaching in Japan this year thanks to the Nishinomiya-WSU College of Education Partnership. Mari is so enjoying the experience that she has asked for, and received, approval to stay on a second year.  She shares her excitement in the following letter.

Working as an assistant language teacher in Nishinomiya, Japan, is an amazing experience!  The schools are filled with considerate students and energetic teachers.

There is a strong focus on physical fitness, teamwork, precision maneuvers — and it shows.  School sports days are impressive.  This year, a city-wide sports day event was reinstated after a three-year renovation of historic Koshien Stadium. It was mesmerizing to watch twenty junior high schools perform in unison.

Each junior high school also has a singing contest, an all-day event held in one of several beautiful civic performance halls. I was astounded by the contest I attended.  Each class had one or two student pianists for accompaniment, while student conductors kept the tempo for each classroom’s choir.  Between performances, one class asked me to listen while they rehearsed out in the hall. The sound of their voices brought tears to my eyes, it was so pretty.

Japanese students watch video about Martin Luther King
Shigemi Kida, lead English teacher at Hamakoshien Junior High School, integrates Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech into a lesson.

You must imagine what it would be like for American middle-school teachers if they each had to instruct their own students in PE and music in addition to regular content areas. That seems to be common here. Students wear school uniforms and everyone eats the same home-cooked school lunch together, which I think only adds to the level of harmony and attunement. This synchronicity obviously benefits physical and artistic performances, and may help overcome the challenge of teaching and learning in classrooms with 40 students.

Japanese English-language text books include information about the American civil rights movement. There are essays about our civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. The texts also cover important social issues from many other places around the world, as well as the spectrum of cultural diversity throughout Japan itself.

I am very grateful to get to work with this excellent city’s educational leaders.  Thank you WSU College of Education for the opportunity!

A new home for alumni news

Thanks to Washington State Magazine, our college has an updated format for sharing news about alumni.  Better yet, our grads  have a way of sharing their own news.

Screen shot of MyStory featureInstead of posting the life/career updates on a College of Education web page, we’re using the magazine’s online class notes feature called “My Story.”  This works like a blog.  News posts about promotions, honors, new jobs, retirements and the like show up in the main “My Story” section.  Posts that are flagged College of Education also will show up in the Education Alumni list, as seen in the screen shot above.

If you are an alum or want to share news about someone who is, drop us a note at, and we’ll post the information for you on MyStory.  Alumni can also create their own MyStory accounts and post their own news — in which case, we encourage them to check the box that indicates their affiliation with our college.