23 October 2009

Teaching, Week 9, Part I: Korean Culture Quiz (Year 3, Day 59)

I've decided to break this week's "Teaching" entry into three parts, and you can view Part 2 and Part 3 at those links. Needless to say, it was a very productive, or at the very least interesting, week.

Between last week and this week, I adapted a lesson plan from "Garrett Gone Korean". The idea was brilliant: give the students a quiz on American culture and then explain the questions they missed. I gave the top scorers in each class a package of ramyeon (라면). During the next lesson, each student had to come up with a multiple choice question to ask me about Korean culture. I told the class that for every time I guessed the answer incorrectly, they would receive a point. Of course, for every correct answer I would receive a point. If the class received more points than I did, I would buy them all choco pies. I did have one caveat: they couldn't make a question that even Koreans wouldn't know. So, whereas "What is the most common form of kimchi?" would be fine, asking "Who invented kimchi?" would be right out.

A surprising number of the answers I knew cold, things like When was the Joseon dynasty established? (1392) and Who is the only Korean to have received a Nobel Peace Prize? (Fm. Pres. Kim Dae-jung). Others I could guess based on certain clues. For instance, my Korean teacher's family name is Park (박) and she's always bragging about how she's related to the first king of the old Shilla Kingdom (the first Korean country to unite what is modern North and South Korea). One of the questions a student asked was, "Who was the first king of the Shilla Kingdom?" and only one of the multiple choice answers had Park in the name, so I guessed that one pretty easily. Other times, my capabilities with guessing were far less subtle. Students often made the mistake of laughing at incorrect answers, so I would just guess the one that they didn't laugh at and almost invariably be right. When I pointed out why I was getting all of those correct, instead of clamming up, the students decided they would laugh hysterically at every answer.

Anyway, I highly recommend the lesson both for your students to learn about your culture and for you to learn about theirs.

In other news, I taught my kids the Electric Slide. One of them told me he was practicing it outside of class the next day. To do list: Be a cultural ambassador. Check!

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