Throughout our time at Kumgang school, we’ve noticed that our students, like any other kids their age, tend to play a little rough. So with only two weeks left here, Team A decided to try something new. While writing up our lesson plans for the last two weeks of class, we added a new activity called role playing. We designed our role playing to consist of different situations that the students come across in their daily lives. We would then describe the situations to the students and then ask them what they should do and what they should not do in that situation. After answering correctly, the teachers would then act out a short version of the situation with polite language and then after that we would allow the students to act out the scenes as well. For example, we used situations such as what to do when one student accidentally pushes/hits another student, how to say please and thank you, how to ask for help in certain situations etc. When we tried out role playing for the first time, it worked out better than we thought. The students were actively engaged and they understood that it was better to handle a situation politely rather than angrily. They definitely had the most fun acting out the situations and even asked for more scenes! However,as the teachers, we were worried that the children were just having fun with the acting and not actually incorporating them into their behavior. However, one day we happened to be doing role playing and while acting, a student accidentally hurt another student. Surprisingly, the student apologized and the injured student quietly accepting without retaliating, as they would have done before. After seeing the peaceful resolution of that real life situation and the change in the children’s behavior since we starting role playing, it feels especially good to know that as teachers we are able to leave small life lessons behind for the students. We also found a better way in getting the students to actually participate in class!
National Museum of Korea
For this Friday’s excursion, we had the opportunity to meet the very talented fresco painter Jin Young-Sun, who also taught two art classes at Duke last semester. After a brief introduction into different art styles found in Korea from ancient times to the present, we were able to explore the exhibits at the National Museum of Korea, which holds many of Korea’s national treasures. On a guided tour through the museum we were taken through the astounding art of the first ancient three kingdoms of the Korean Peninsula, then introduced to art from the neighboring regions in China and Southeast Asia, which included the magnificent 6th-century statue of the Pensive Bodhisattva and many other Buddha statues. Beside each section in the museum, there were tutorials placed nearby that showed the long processes that took to make each ceramic bowl, or Buddha statue, or painting, etc. So while walking through these wonderful exhibits of gold statues, delicate ceramics and calligraphy, we were able to learn to really appreciate the hard work and time that was put into each piece and every little intricate detail. Surprisingly we also learned that it was not Johannes Gutenberg who first created the movable metal type printing press! China invented the first movable type printing technology, while Korea then invented the first movable metal type printing technology and then Gutenberg invented the improved movable metal printing press in Europe nearly 80 years later. For Professor Jin, this is an important clarification that she is currently trying to spread. This trip was definitely as nice detour from the topic of unification and just more about the history of Korea through its art over time.