DESK Week 7 – Anna Olekanma

Role Playing!!

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

From the large site of the National Museum of Korea

From the large site of the National Museum of Korea

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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.

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A golden crown from the Silla exhibit at the museum

A golden crown from the Silla exhibit at the museum

Professor Jin Young-Sun

Professor Jin Young-Sun

A painting from Professor Jin

A painting from Professor Jin

Gaining insight into Korean art history from Professor Jin

Gaining insight into Korean art history from Professor Jin

Checking out some exhibits at the National Museum of Korea

Checking out some exhibits at the National Museum of Korea

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DESK Week 6: Finding Direction – Jina Yun

In terms of teaching this week, we tried something new!

First, we mixed up the morning group by switching out the members from Team A and Team B.  We made sure to have a fluent Korean and a Chinese speaker in each group, in order to maintain the efficiency of the groups.  On Monday, four of us went in for the morning class with the Chinese speaking students as usual.  Some of us were initially worried that the students might be confused by the new group of teachers, but the students did not seem surprised at all and were just excited to see us again.  The new team of teachers worked well together to support each other in teaching the Chinese speaking students.  However, despite how well the teachers collaborated, the students seemed to be in an off mood.  The two sisters who usually stick together and look out for each other were fighting over a pencil to the point where one of them started crying.  I think it was shocking for most of us to see that kind of scene between the two sisters.  The first day when they arrived at 금강학교, they were both quite shy and innocent and seemed to just want to make new friends.  Back then, we would have never imagined them fighting each other.  This also shed light on how emotionally tolling their time at the school must be.  Being anywhere from 6-14, these students rarely get to see their parents, so it is no surprise to us by now that their moods are unstable and easily affected.  However, we tried our best to make sure that the two sisters made up and that there was peace in the class again.

Second, we tried a role playing lesson in class.  We noticed recently in class that some of the kids bully each other a lot.  The kids are not only still pretty violent with each other, but have a hard time saying please, thank you, and sorry to each other.  While we believed that academics is still important, we thought that learning appropriate mannerisms was a priority for these students, and thus tried to implement this role playing activity.  We started by presenting a scenario that the students commonly see and asking them what the appropriate response would be.  The first time we tried the role playing activity, it was not very successful because we tried to do it right after the students fought with each other.  The students were completely reluctant to play with each other and seemed quite upset at us for lecturing them for their behavior.  However, when we tried it a second time, they were more willing to to participate.  They seemed to find the activity amusing and some of the kids were enthusiastic to act out each scene.  In fact, some of them wanted to try to act out the scenario with some of us, further attesting to how close we have gotten to the students during our time there.  Even though the students might have simply participated because they found it amusing, we thought that this lesson was a good exposure to appropriate responses and behavior.

Having already taught at 금강학교 for 5 weeks, we now ask ourselves the question: what is our goal?  Before starting the program, we initially wanted to focus on getting to know the students on a deeper level and hearing their stories.  However, when we started talking, the school administrators had another direction in mind, and we ended up focusing more on academics with the students.  Now with two weeks in mind, what do we want the kids to get out of our time here?  What do we want to earn from our time here?  While not forgetting the importance of academics for these students, we still wanted to provide a setting for these students to express themselves. In order to do that, we decided to implement more art lessons such as drawing, crafts, and origami in order for the students to not only have a creative plug, but also for them to have a physical final product.  We hope that by the time of our leave, the students can have gained something from us, for we have already gained so much from them.