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									                                         Blanche M. Milligan- 2006 Keizai Koho Fellow

For Interdisciplinary course in American or World Studies

Grades: 10-12
Time: 7 class periods of 45-50 minutes each

       Note to Teacher: Before you begin this lesson, contact the National
       Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japan Studies and request a free CD of lessons and
       information packets on Japan at japan@indiana.edu. One Japan Digest that will
       give you and your students important background is called “Learning from the
       Japanese Economy.” This background reading may help students understand
       trends in modern Japanese corporations that focus on the issues in this lesson
       centered on Corporate Social Responsibility. Understanding that world economies
       are not stagnant and must change with the times is an important factor.

Essential Question: What is CSR and how should it affect my habits as a

Description of lesson:
To explore the worldwide movement toward Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and
how it concerns average citizens. The essential question will be investigated from a
global perspective. Students will discover how CSR is defined by individual companies,
by global foundations, and by individuals. Students will be asked to compare social
values between the U.S. and Japan as an example of global citizenship and be prepared to
apply these comparisons to other global partners.


Through critical readings, research and discussions, students will be challenged to
analyze the issues of CSR from different global perspectives and apply their knowledge
of historical data to current situations.

Day 1- Activator: Using literature to make connections to history and contemporary

Have students read the poem Shirt by Robert Pinsky. This poem can be found at The
Internet Poetry Archive: www.ibiblio.org/ipa/poems/pinsky/shirt.php Teachers may
elect to use the computer to have students listen to Robert Pinsky read his poem from this
        (Note: R. Pinsky is noted for his careful enunciation of words when reading aloud
        so listeners are not confused by the exact words he is using if they do not have the
        text to refer to. Students can find this annoying if they do not know it is

Discuss reactions to the poem and use it to open a conversation about CSR.
Using the poem as a starting point, ask students to first read or listen to the entire poem
and respond to the following:

        What they think the poem is about
        What emotions the poem elicits
        How does the poet make the shirt something he is personally interested in?
        What is the poet referring to in line 9 when he references “the code?”
        What historic information does the poet weave into the poem?
        What details help you see what happened in 1911?
        What is your reaction to the poet’s descriptions of the scene? Is he effective in
         creating a picture in your mind? Point to specific language that helps you see what
         he is describing.
        What other transitions does the poet make in the poem? What other groups of
         garment workers does he talk about?
        What specific words cause a reaction as you read? Why?
        In the last two stanzas, what does the poet do to return the reader to a personal
         connection to the shirt?
        What do you feel by the end of the poem?

Literary devices used in the poem.
If you have already taught the following, use this poem as a review to help students
identify how poets use these devices (and others of your choice) to deepen the emotional
effect of their words.

Allusion        Apostrophe       Caesura         Metaphor          Repetition      Simile

Day 2:

As a class, go over the individual responses to the list of questions about the poem. Hold
an open discussion of the poem for content and style. Keep a list of any questions
students may have as a result of reading the poem and post them so questions can be
answered through continuation of the lesson in following days.

Historic Research: Day 3

Following the activity using the poem, assign students to do research in the library or
computer lab for additional in-class work which can be continued as homework.

   1) Break students into groups and have each group assign cooperative learning roles
      within their groups. Have the recorder keep track of all progress as they move
      forward in the activity.
   2) Ask students to research the fire referenced in the poem. Have them decide
      how they will present information from their research. This can be a written
      report, a visual, a performance, a graphic novel (illustrated story), or other mode
      of their choice. The teacher should create a rubric of things he/she wants students
      to cover in this part of the assignment, based on other research projects they have
      done in class.
    3) The students’ presentations should include a reaction to what they have
       discovered and what they think this particular historic event reminds them of with
       regard to other historic events, recent news events, literature they have read, or
       films they have seen. They should address what actions might have been taken by
       individuals, companies, or the government as a result with regard to working
       conditions for employees. Are the things that happened in the Triangle Shirtwaist
       Factory Fire common in all developing countries during their transition from
       agriculture to manufacturing? Think of specific examples.

One website that might be useful to students in this research is
*They should click on the link for Rose Freedman, survivor.

Day 4- Presentations/Peer Reviews

The groups will present their research and keep a group record of information gathered.
Each group should evaluate the other groups on depth of research, clarity of presentation,
effectiveness of presentation to maintain interest of the audience.

Day 5- Creating a Company with CSR

    1) As a whole class activity, students should brainstorm what they think Corporate
       Social Responsibility is and keep a master list on the board or on big paper for use
       later. The teacher can have students look up definitions for this concept before
    2) Once a list is composed, students should then return to their groups to address the
       following questions:
           a) What are the most important responsibilities of a company?
           b) Who should the company officers be thinking about first: themselves, their
               customers, their workers, their stockholders (students should research the
               term “fiduciary responsibility”) and then put these in the order you think is
               right from top (highest concern) to bottom (lowest concern)
           c) Who do you think the managers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory were
               most concerned with? Why do you feel this way? Is there evidence in
               your historic research to show this? What could they have changed in their
               corporate attitudes to make this story have a different outcome?
           d) Do you think working conditions today are better than they were in 1911?
           e) If you consider the global market and global situations, do you get the
               same answer? Why or why not?
           f) Each group should make a list of the most important things they would
               like to see in every company profile.
           g) The whole class should compare lists and see what qualities are shared
               within the class and write them on one list. Is this list different from the
               one they created at the beginning of class on CSR? Discuss what qualities
               appear on this master list. Are there any things missing that a group
               would like to add? Why?
           h) Each group will now create a mythical company and decide its corporate
              policies based on what it feels CSR would be for their particular product
              or service. Examples of possible products could be: Food, Shelter, Fuel,
              Cars, Bicycles, Clothing, Software, Cleaning service.
           i) First, students will discuss what kind of company they want to create and
              make a list of important details they would need to know in order to form
              such a company: what are they going to make/do? Where? For whom?
              Will they need someone to make things for them? How would they choose
              where to get the items for their business? By the end of class, students
              should have an idea of how they want to proceed with their company
              design; including a supply chain of what they need to create their product.

Day 6- Procedure: Part I: Our Company

After students have a concept, a name for their company, and some ideas for what
they may need to make their company work, they should proceed to the following:

           On a piece of paper, make three columns. At the top of each column, write
           the following headings:

           1. General Responsibility
           2. Business Responsibility
           3. Social Standing Responsibility

     2. Have students look into existing companies for evidence of social responsibility.
         Begin with the corporate mission statement. Do these companies follow their
         missions? Assign one of the following international companies to each group:
         Ricoh, Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Panasonic, Toyota, and General
     3. Students should visit the homepages for these corporations to find the information
         they seek to fill out their sheets on the 3 R’s.
     4. When they have gathered the information via the internet on the company they
         have been assigned or chosen, they should write details on the sheet with the three
Once students have completed their lists, the teacher should ask students to report on
each category and have one student keep a master list on the board or on a large piece of
paper. Once each student has contributed at least one item to each column for the master
list, the class should discuss the following:
         1. What responsibilities seem to dominate in each category?
         2. What can companies do to protect their employees and still provide services to
             their customers at a good price? What is more important? Are the companies
             you researched meeting these standards?
         3. What kinds of things help a company have good social standing?
         4. According to the list, which companies seem to have the best CSR?
         5. Are pollution and the environment of importance to any of your companies?
             Should it be? Does it matter? Does discovering that a company is a “green”
             company make you want to support it?
Part II. Discussion of Discoveries

   1. Knowing what you know now about some of these companies, will you consider
      CSR as a criteria for places where you will spend your money? Would you
      consider CSR in your personal search for a job? What three things are the most
      important to you in selecting a company you want to work for?
   2. Have students look up the following on-line sites for additional information and
      discuss whether they think these kinds of initiatives make a difference:

   Part IV. Discussion of Progress in Society and How it Affects Workers

   What changes in society have made the biggest difference in the lives of workers?
   Consider laws, attitudes, wages, working conditions, etc. in this discussion.

   Continuation of assignment:

      Are there places in the world where working conditions are worse than in other
       areas of the world? Why? What can be done about it? Show evidence.

      Do you think different countries have different value systems that affect the way
       workers are treated? Give examples of what kinds of things might be considered.
       Discuss these things as a class.* *

      What qualities in corporate management do you think are particularly American?
       Are there other corporate management strategies you have discovered in your
       research? Have you come across any that you find interesting that you would
       want to consider as you continue to work on your own company development?

      Many companies in Japan are focusing more and more on environmental
       protection and recycling. Discuss why you think this is happening more in Japan
       than in the U.S. One corporate example from Japan’s Ricoh Group is the concept
       of the 3 P’s to achieve Ideal Social Balance. To keep things in balance we should
       consider: Planet, People, and Profits with regard to environmental, social, and
       economic activities. These factors can play a role in how we and our students
       respond to the challenge of creating and supporting corporations who share our
       own goals for social balance.
       The teacher might want to include the concept of Yin and Yang in a lesson about
       balance when talking about Asian corporations. Is this concept understood in the
       U.S.? Is it possible to incorporate it into American business planning?

      Do you think U.S. companies are doing enough to protect the environment? Are
       you aware of any corporate recycling? Give examples of how this could be done.

      Do you see a difference in attitudes in the last five, ten, or twenty years? Where
       do you think we will be in the next ten, twenty, or fifty years?
      If you compare regions of the world and their response to environmental, worker
       safety, and social responsibility concerns, what countries do you think will be the
       most advanced in this evolution toward more Corporate Responsibility and will
       the regions advance (or retreat) economically at the same rate because of it?

      Is there a significant relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility and
       Corporate Financial Success and does it matter?

      Have students continue to work on their own company development as a class
       project. Evaluate research skills, organizational skills, presentation skills, and
       application of ideas.

Final Assessment:
Students will write a persuasive essay taking a stand on CSR.

Explain why you think CSR is or is not important to the global society we live in and
how it affects where you will shop or work in the future. Include references to
information you discovered while researching the international companies with your

   ** There is a related lesson at www.askAsia.org
   Lesson Plan no.74 “Corporate Values” that could be done in connection to this lesson
   if you are studying international corporate citizenship in a globalization unit.

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