Teaching About Korea: Elementary and Secondary Activities
While old, there may be useful material on foods, folklore, poetry, etc.
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Korean Educational Development Institute
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Review: Teaching About Korea
My name is Michael Tobias. I am an English instructor at South Park High School and teach grades 9, 10, and 12. The following is a review of the curriculum guide entitled, Teaching About Korea: Elementary and Secondary Activities (1986).
The individual lessons within this guide span multiple grade levels, K-12 and, for the most part, the guide splits its time equally amongst these different levels. As a secondary-level educator, I do not believe that I have the necessary expertise to evaluate the lessons applicable to levels K-8. It is for this reason that I will only focus on the lessons which apply to the secondary level.
Teaching About Korea focuses on just under twenty different aspects of the Korean culture. Some of the topics addressed include: daily life, education, food, recreation, literature, history, belief systems, economic development, and writing systems. Each section includes detailed lesson plans, instructor guides, and supplemental materials.
The lesson plans provided are constructed in a clear, easy-to-follow format. Each lesson contains a formal introduction, objectives listing, estimation of grade level and teaching time, materials, and procedure. While the listed objectives for most of the lessons do not match present-day terminology, I noticed that the core intention behind those standards still falls into line with modern pedagogies. In other words, the objectives still prove themselves relevant even though the wording is somewhat dated. The procedural elements are exceptionally detailed and will be more than sufficient to guide a first-time instructor through the lesson. In many cases, the procedural component is what makes or breaks a lesson plan. Fortunately, Teaching About Korea excels in this respect, as each of the lessons is quite easy to follow. With but a few exceptions, most of the supplemental materials are of good quality and add to the lessons in some way – by either reinforcing the concepts presented within that lesson, or by promoting higher-level thinking beyond those concepts. Furthermore, most of the supplemental materials include a “key” for the instructor which provides an explanation for each answer. I firmly believe that most teachers would have little issue disseminating these materials to their students.
The greatest downfall to this guide is simply its publication date. The sections pertaining to the sociopolitical and socioeconomic aspects of the Korean culture are very likely to be outdated at this point. Still, some information within these seemingly obsolete sections can provide some benefit. Conversely, the sections which include historical record, such as the sections on history, literature, and belief systems are very much as relevant now as they were in the 1980’s. As an English instructor, I found the sections on Korean literature, proverbs, and poetry to be particularly applicable to the concepts presented within my classroom. The guide provides many legitimate examples of these forms of literature along with relevant follow-up questions for teacher and student alike. Perhaps the best part of these lessons is that the themes presented within the writing could serve as a gateway to discussing the Korean culture as a whole. In addition, the section on the Korean alphabet is presented in such a way that an instructor, at his or her discretion, can chose to discuss Korean writing systems in either a cursory fashion, or in high-detail – the materials will complement both approaches.
To conclude, Teaching About Korea: Elementary and Secondary Activities is a decent resource for an instructor who seeks to introduce aspects of the Korean culture into his or her educational repertoire. First-time teachers will quickly discover that the introductions within each section contain sufficient background information to grant the instructor with a working knowledge of the material to be taught. The plans included are easy-to-follow, detailed, and complimented by useful supplemental materials. The publication’s print date is somewhat of a negative, but with sufficient care and attention to detail, an instructor can still find many benefits to using this guide within his or her classroom.
Review: Teaching About Korea
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