Goals: 1. reinforce learning by combining reading, lecture/discussion, and website research; 2. reinforce learning by making students talk about their answers with their peers in the class; 3. encourage active learning by having students answer the questions on their own and by discussing their responses with their peers and with the class; 4. encourage visual learning by using the website
Day 1 Homework: Give them a reading assignment on religions in Japan—use a textbook chapter or chapter(s) from books such as:
Earhart, H. Bryon. 2004. Japanese Religion: Unity and Diversity, 4th edn. Belmont: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Ellwood, R. 2008. Introducing Japanese Religion. New York: Routledge.
Kawano, S. 2005. Ritual Practice in Modern Japan: Ordering Place, People, and Action. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Reader, I. 1991. Religion in Contemporary Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Class 1: Give your usual lecture/discussion/lesson on religions of Japan. If you don’t have one and need ideas, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Day 2: Homework: Browse the website (jpnreligions.weebly.com) to answer the following questions. [Have your students use the website to answer the following questions. Choose the questions that best reflect or reinforce parts of the reading assignment from Day 1.]
1. Choose one of the religions from the “Religions” page and compare the information on the website with your reading assignment. List at least 2 examples of similar observations from the reading and from the website (where do you find overlap between the reading and the website?).
2. Read a few of the shrine and temple pages. Based on what you read and see, what are some of the main differences between Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, in general? Also, based on what your reading assignment about Shinto and Buddhism in Japan, what are some important similarities and differences of these two religions? For bonus, briefly explain how religious differences might affect architectural or ritual differences (use your assigned reading and the website information for the bonus).
3. Read about and watch the two “Household rituals” clips (under “Religions” heading). First, using your class notes or text, describe what a religious ritual is. Next, explain what about the household rituals at the butsudan (“ancestor altar”) and kamidana (“Shinto altar”) from the videos might be considered a “religious” ritual—based on the explanation of the rituals and what you observe in the video. Be specific in your explanation.
4. Putting it altogether: Thinking about the reading, the class lecture/discussion, and the website, in 3-5 sentences describe some of the more common aspects of religions or religiousness in Japan today. Be specific in your description.
Where should you look to find academic sources to learn even more? (Hint: See “Info”—“References”)
[Hint: If you assign the homework or discussion as a grade (e.g., Participation) you are more likely to generate good discussions.]
1. Have the students bring their homework to class. Tell them in advance that their participation/completion of the assignment is being graded.
2. In class, have the students get into groups of 2-3
3. Once they are groups, for 5-8 minutes have them share at least 3 of their responses to the homework questions
[4. Optional: After 5-8 minutes, have them group up with 2-3 different students and repeat 2-3]
5. After small group discussions, for about 3-5 minutes ask students to share responses with the entire class (tell them they can give their own responses or that of a classmates—to remain anonymous)
6. Next, ask the students to look at number 4 again and answer it again based on their discussions with their classmates (in their notes or on their homework assignment). Give them 5-8 minutes to think and write.
7. Depending on time, have them get back into a group and ask them to discuss their new responses and how they may have changed, OR ask for a few volunteers to give their responses.