Part of what we are doing while we are in Korea is visiting Korean agricultural high schools, where we will not only get to observe teaching and learning in the high school, but also have the opportunity to design and deliver a lesson to Korean agriculture students! All of the current ag educators from the US have been paired up with current Penn State students, as well as a current Seoul National University (SNU) student to design and deliver an ag-related lesson of their choice.
I have been paired up with Rachel from Penn State, and TaeHeon Song of SNU. Over the past few days we have been working together to create our lesson and materials. Having TaeHeon along with us has been invaluable since he is able to provide us with a Korean perspective as well as be able to converse with us in English! It continually amazes me how proficient in English most people we have met seem to be. I am extremely grateful for the dual signage and the hospitality that all Koreans have shown us since we have arrived!
Dual language signage in the SNU CALS Building.
Some of the topics that our teams have chosen to present lessons on topics such as animal byproducts, asexual propagation of plants, animal disease control, and global ag technologies. Rachel, TaeHeon and myself have chosen to present a lesson on sustainability of food production. Our interest based approach is through kimchi. Kimchi is a fermented food very popular in Korea, so popular that it is eaten at pretty much every meal, including breakfast. It is usually made of cabbage and a red pepper powder (gochu garu). We want our students to think about eating seasonally and more locally as a way to be more sustainable. We are going to have our students make a list of the ingredients in one type of kimchi (there are literally hundreds of types) that we have them sample, and then try to identify the location of where that ingredient was grown or harvested. Similar lessons have been presented to American students but using the cheeseburger or pizza as an example instead of kimchi.
While working on creating our materials for our lesson today, we had the opportunity to work in the computer lab at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). This proved extremely challenging as all of the text on the screen was in Hangeul (Korean characters). The keyboard was in both Hangeul and English, and we were fortunately able to change the characters being typed on the screen from Hangeul to English. I created a handout for our Korean students in English, and then TaeHeon went back and typed subtitles in Korean to make it easier for our students to understand.
Normally, making a handout only takes me about 10-15 minutes to put together, but the combination of the language barrier and a computer that didn't want to cooperate with me, made for a very long and frustrating session. However, we were successful. I am very much looking forward to working with Rachel and TaeHeon to present our lesson!
Check back next week to see how our lesson went with our Korean students!