Friday, June 20, 2014

Collaborative lesson planning!

In such little time this trip has proven to be an amazing experience. Not only are we experiencing a completely new culture, we have been able to spend time working on ourselves as educators.

We have groups that include a Penn State Student (myself), an experienced agricultural educator and a Seoul National University student. This has given all of us the opportunity to learn more about the Korean culture as well as develop awesome lesson plans! The lesson plans we have been working hard on will be presented to high school students at Suwon High School early next week. With the help of our experienced agriculture teacher, NeungSu and I will be presenting on animal diseases and the importance of animal identification.

My Teaching Team - Jess, NeungSu and Me

Creating these lesson plans presented a great opportunity for each of us as instructors. Every group briefly presented their lessons plans to all the other groups. Everyone gave pointers to each other to improve our lesson plans and ultimately maximize our impact on the Suwon High School students. This has given me (and I'm sure many others) some insight as to how we can revamp the way we teach and look at our lessons from a new perspective. 

Feedback Session

Everyone's lesson plans were great, complete with activities to get students to think critically and every lesson gives the students the opportunity to engage with an agricultural topic.

I think the biggest challenge will be the language barrier we have been experiencing in Seoul. From trying to communicate with waiters, to something as simple as directions on a paper towel dispenser (which I was unable to figure out how to work, embarrassingly enough!) We have been working through trying to effectively communicate daily. It's amazing how well some Koreans can speak English, but my 20 hours of Korean language class just won't cut it! I attempt to speak Korean and most Koreans just laugh, although they do assure me it's good. Luckily I have NeungSu to help me effectively communicate with the students at Suwon next week.

The fact that English is the second language of the students we will teaching is an important point to take this into consideration when planning our agriculture lesson. NeungSu and I have thought about a few different ways to hopefully conquer this language barrier. I am going to have to make sure I talk slowly and regularly check-in to make sure the students catch everything I say. When needed, NeungSu will jump in to interpret when needed in order to ensure clarity. This will be especially important for directions to our activity since we want to make sure everyone understands and has a great time. NeungSu typed up half of our presentation in Korean as well so everything they here from me will be followed with the Korean version so it's easier for them to absorb. We are so lucky to have the SNU students to help all of us out along the way!

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