Traditional and Contemporary Korean Culture

Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Lelan Stanford Junior University Board of Trustees
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Curriculum Unit
Average: 5 (3 votes)


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Review of Traditional & Contemporary Korean Culture SPICE Unit

Field of Interest/Specialty: Social Studies
Posted On: 01/13/2020

Matthew Kizior
9th & 11th Grade
Career Readiness
City Charter High School
The curriculum unit Traditional and Contemporary Korean Culture is very useful for teachers in how it not only communicates and models information, but in the breadth and depth of what the unit covers to make sure that both the educator and student have a well-rounded picture of Korea by the time they are finished with the curriculum. A Stanford SPICE unit, the unit is broken down into seven different lessons that spend time on important sociological and philosophical aspects of traditional Korean culture and how they have ultimately impacted the Korea of the present day. The unit does a fantastic job of highlighting the important historical and literary facets of Korea that are the backbone of its traditional culture, while also providing the necessary context and explanation of particular events to give the teachers at least a taste of what they are dealing with content-wise. These elucidations and examples are balanced nicely by providing questions students could possibly respond to, examples of analyses assignments, and vocabulary definitions peppered throughout.This thoroughly balanced approach not only helps to make sure teachers are prepared to teach the content, but gives teachers the necessary tools to craft multiple facets of a lesson to last forty-five minutes to an hour.
This curriculum does go above and beyond in another area though, and that is how it prepares teachers standard-wise to appropriately respond and educate their students. Whereas most curricula or lessons teachers find or make themselves may have to be cross-referenced to make sure all the materials are aligned with national or state standards, this Korean Culture SPICE unit goes out of the way to suggest different ideas and tiers of engagement for particular students based off of their grade-level and comprehension level. In this way, it makes sure to benefit different communities of students across the K-12 spectrum. Lesson procedures and projects are also very nicely explained and modeled so a teacher does not have to once again cross-reference materials and look elsewhere without any guidance for how to authentically make some of these lessons their own/fit their classroom culture.
As any teacher who has a plethora of content to teach understands, time is of the essence every single day, from the first to the last hour. Between planning and grading, preparing and addressing certain aspects, as well as attending to the needs of students, there can be too much that takes our attention away from crafting a curriculum or suite of lessons that perfectly responds to the needs of the classroom. The Traditional and Contemporary Korean Culture curriculum unit was crafted with these aspects of the educational profession in mind, providing educators the content, context, and tools necessary to make sure lessons run smoothly and both teachers and students are able to display a greater understanding of Korean culture that is to their academic and intellectual benefit.

Traditional and Contemporary Korean Culture Review

Field of Interest/Specialty: History
Posted On: 01/13/2020

Nevenka DePasquale
Academic Support Teacher
Oakland Catholic High School
This magnificent unit created by Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education provides teachers with a resources of lesson plans, PowerPoints, slides, primary sources, statistics, maps and a variety of activities. It is divided in a variety of topics such as: geography, history, art, architecture, pop-culture, food education and family life.
Ideally, it would be perfect for a World Cultures class where the teacher has an opportunity to spend a decent amount of time to immerse students into depths of Korea from its beginnings to today. Differentiated instruction and assessments that are offered in this unit provide a variety of activities, project, lectures, movies and writing assignments to reach every student and keep them engaged while learning about Korea.
Most teachers might not have time to dedicate such a big section to learning about Korea unless there would be a chance to have a half-semester class taught on the country. However, the way this unit is designed any history, current events, English, art or even science teacher could find a wealth of materials and incorporate them in their lesson. I plan to use certain parts of this unit to share with my Asian Cultures club so we can closely analyze Korean history and culture. I addition, I plan to purchase and study this unit as it offers ideas, resources, and serves as a template that can be applied to teaching of other East Asian Cultures.

Beyond Social Studies and Language Arts: A Broad Look at Korean Culture

Field of Interest/Specialty: Art & Social Studies
Posted On: 06/03/2018

The Traditional and Contemporary Korean Culture SPICE unit developed in 2014 is an outstanding resource for teaching middle school and high school students more about one of today’s most newsworthy regions of the world. Through a variety of engaging activities, from the visual examinations of artwork and role playing to primary source comparisons and statistical analysis, students will learn how and why Korean culture is both “anchored in its past . . . . and a result of adaptation to changing times.”
Divided into seven lessons (history, religion, family, arts, popular culture, education, and foods) of two to four class periods in length, this resource is the perfect interdisciplinary tool for teachers to facilitate a hands-on investigation of Korea past and present. In its typical SPICE unit fashion, any one of the segments could be plucked out and used to enhance current lessons on topics from filial piety to Buddhism. Segments of several lessons overlap, such as the Gallery Walk activity on Buddhist painting suggested as part of the unit’s lessons on Korean art. While this lesson activity does focus on painting, the supplementary information provided does a nice job of describing how other arts developed over time as well (and as a middle school & high school art teacher, this is important to me!)
The difference between this SPICE unit and some of the others I have used in the past is that this unit includes a great deal of material beyond the typical Social Studies and Language Arts lessons. These unique activities involve topics such as global foods which can be integrated into almost any health curriculum, investigations on the impact of popular culture which can be used in a high school business/marketing class, and several detailed handouts that include a variety of statistics on Korean society which would be very useful in a creative review in preparation for any standardized math exam. While I often find myself at interdisciplinary team meetings offering suggestions on how we as teachers can collaborate, this SPICE unit gives me the material to help facilitate that collaboration.
In addition to the lesson handouts which include a variety of primary sources, reading summaries, charts, graphs, and assignments with answer keys, this curriculum guide also includes a number of visually rich PowerPoint presentations (with accompanying narrations) on its CD. It appears that throughout the development of this unit, the writers kept in mind the needs of both the teachers and students; the discussion-based questions promote self-reflection while relating to our students’ lives, and the succinct assignments include a variety of independent, partner, and group activities that can easily be differentiated to meet the needs of diverse learners.