How do You Teach American Undergraduates about Estonia?

Joseph Michael Ellis (Wingate University)

How do you teach about a country few American undergraduates have heard of and even fewer can locate on a map?  That has been my challenge in this past year in my role as a political science professor at Wingate University.  As someone whose area of interest is the Baltics, I have made teaching this region a priority.  In the Spring 2012, I will be teaching a course on Estonian political and economic development – with an emphasis on the Singing Revolution – that will culminate with a group trip to Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu in May 2012.  This paper will investigate the methods used to teach Estonia to those who have little familiarity with the country.  One of the strategies used in this course is an interactive pedagogy whereby students not only will explore the political dimensions of the Singing Revolution but also participate in singing traditional Estonian folk music.  This is a collaborative effort between the disciplines of political science and the chorus department here at Wingate.  This conference will be a great opportunity for me to share my own techniques for teaching on Estonia, while also learning from the immense wealth of knowledge available at the conference and on the panel.

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