Envisioning Southeast Asia


This lesson plan introduces students to ASEAN as a regional organization, looking mainly at the formation of ASEAN and the work of ASEAN in helping to create and shape a shared identity in Southeast Asia.

Subject History / Social Studies
Key idea Regional identity in Southeast Asia has been created out of diversities and commonalities by regional
organizations and through regional events, as well as through everyday activities such as popular sports,
art, and popular culture. This identity is continuously evolving and contributes toward the envisioning of
Southeast Asia as a region for the future.
Southeast Asia is a region rich in diversity and yet there are commonalities within the region. ASEAN is a
top-down approach to regional integration within Southeast Asia. It represents an effort within the region to work together towards common goals and aspirations and to overcome differences to create a shared future.
Key concepts
ASEAN Charter Communism
Communities Consensus Declaration
Interdependence Nations Non-aligned
Level Lower secondary / upper primary
No. of periods / lessons 1 – 3 periods (1 period is approximately 50 minutes)
Facilities needed A/V equipment and Internet access to play the video clips (or hard copy with similar content)
Sources and handouts for distribution
Post-it notes
Prerequisite knowledge Students should have some knowledge of their own country’s geographical location and history and preferably some rudimentary knowledge about ASEAN.

Learning objectives
By the end of the lesson, the students will be able to:

  1. Identify the members of ASEAN.
  2. Understand the reasons for ASEAN’s formation.
  3. Articulate the aims of ASEAN as a regional
  4. Explain how ASEAN fosters political,
    economic and cultural cooperation within
    Southeast Asia as a region.
  1. Practice source and map-reading skills
    through use of maps and primary
  2. Practice listening and note-taking skills
    through watching of video on formation of
  3. Engage in online research and collaborative
    group discussion.
  4. Practice writing and oral communication
  1. Appreciate the rationale behind the formation of ASEAN.
  2. Respect the efforts of ASEAN in regional integration.


Download the lesson plan for details on the talks and activities suggested below.

Period 1

1. Teacher talk

This lectures introduces the idea of shared histories. It highlights how ASEAN, as a regional organization, not only creates commonalities among its member
nations, it is also a way by which countries in Southeast Asia came together to envision and create a common vision and future for the region.

2. Hook: Word Splash

Students identify and discuss the meaning of the acronym ASEAN.

3. Map activity

Students names the Southeast Asia countries and identify ASEAN members.

4. Country expert activity

Students are divided in 10 groups, with each group researching and creating a poster on one of the ASEAN members.

5. Video on the foundation of ASEAN

Students watch a video on the foundation of ASEAN.

Suggested videos:

6. Discussion: The formation of ASEAN

In groups, students study a selection of sources. They reflect on the reasons and conditions that led to the formation of ASEAN and the model of regional cooperation that inspired it.

7. Summarize the lesson

The teacher recaps the main information on the founding history of ASEAN and links to its current situation.

Period 2

8. Teacher talk

The teacher introduces the scope of the lesson: the aims of ASEAN and its role in forming a shared identity in Southeast Asia.

9. Hook activity: Recap quiz

Students review the main points of the first lesson through a mini quiz.

10. Teacher talk

The teacher quickly recaps the foundation of ASEAN, focusing on the reasons why ASEAN was founded and the historical context of the time.

11. Group work: The aims of ASEAN

In small groups, students read and analyze the text of the Bangkok Declaration and identify the aims and purposes of ASEAN in 1967.

12. ASEAN today: What has changed?

In small groups, students analyze sources, including a timeline and excerpts from the ASEAN Charter, to reflect on the foundation of ASEAN.

13. Teacher talk

The teacher summarizes the key ideas from the lesson: the historical context, geography, aims and purposes of ASEAN and concludes that forging commonalities and regional community  is an ongoing work in progress.

14. Suggested home extension activities

  • Students imagine themselves a citizens of a united ASEAN and write a short reflection on how they feel that ASEAN had helped in regional integration, based on independent research.
  • Students work in groups and write a news report imagining the celebrations of ASEAN100, focusing on the possible future achievements of ASEAN on its 100th anniversary (e.g. did ASEAN achieve the goal of economic progress, social justice and peace?)
  • Students research and create a poster presentation on at least one of the three ASEAN Communities or any other aspect of ASEAN that would showcase the efforts made towards regional integration and creation of a regional identity (e.g. in the areas of sports, culture, heritage and education).
  • Students can work in groups to create an ASEAN blog containing updated news about developments in ASEAN.