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Eating the Scorpion

Directed by Robert Richter, 2004, 56 minutes.

Study Areas: Asia Studies, China Studies, Education in American Society, History of China, International Education, Teaching Social Studies, Women in Education

Eating the Scorpion follows a group of North Carolina teachers on a study tour to China. After completing an intensive seminar on East Asia, these teachers have the opportunity to see, hear, smell and taste the most populous country in the world with their own eyes, ears, noses, and tongues—hence the title, eating the scorpion. Although some of the teachers had been in the classroom for more than 20 years and thought that they were fairly well-versed in the topic of China, by their own admission they realize very early in the study tour that they really knew very little. From the Forbidden city in Beijing to the Muslim Quarter in Xi'an, the canals in Suzhou, and the building frenzy in Shanghai, the teachers discover that, like eating the scorpion, there's nothing like experiencing something first hand to shatter your preconceptions about what something tastes like—or looks like, or feels like.

The scenes of the teachers discovering China are interspersed with shots of them bringing China back to the classroom and to life for their students. Photos and realia intrigue the students and allow them to “feel?China , but it is the teachers' enthusiasm which really grabs the students.

This DVD would be ideal in preparing teachers for a own study tour to China, to attract teachers to a training program about China, or for general professional development events about China or the benefits of study tours. It would also be helpful in garnering support from administrators for study tour experiences or for implementing China in the curriculum.

Anne Prescott is Associate Director of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois, where her duties include leading the annual NCTAseminar for teachers in Champaign. She has led study trips for teachers in Japan, Korea and China. She holds a PhD in ethnomusicology, specializing in the music of Japan.

How to Purchase: Eating the Scorpion is available on DVD and VHS (NTSC) from Richter Videos. Pricing: $99 for colleges and universities and $39 for high schools, community organizations and libraries. For home video pricing, contact Richter Videos.

Last Updated March 8, 2008

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