Gimhwa High Summer Class 2014

28 July 2014
Notes from class

  • Romeo and Juliet: Juliet thinks Montague is just a name, but our class thinks names are important.
  • About our names: Generous, giving, kind.
  • Some names are pure Korean, other Korean names come from Chinese characters.
  • The Bible is written as 성경책 in Korean. (Because some English names come from the Bible)
  • "---- is my mother's name!" --> connecting/relating to what I said. Good learners do that!

Journal writing:

What do you think are the most unusual Korean and celebrity baby names? What are your mother and father's names? What do they mean?

29 July 2014:
Notes from class

Continued discussing names--ran out of time yesterday.
Parents' names and their meanings.
“My name is Min-ho.” / Learn together: 함께 배우자 / Let’s learn together: 우리 함께 배우자! (Chewie learns Korean, you learn English!) / Nostalgia: 향수, 그리움.
I used to…
People used to…

My family used to…

Journal writing

Write about a song that makes you think about the past. [It remind you of an earlier time]
Write about a song that you love. Will you still love it in 5 years? Include the artist and title of the song as well as key lyrics.

Songs for "Nostalgia" lesson:

The Kinks - "People Take Pictures of Each Other."
The Kinks - "Picture Book."
Bruce Springsteen - Glory Days

30 July

What do the songs make you think about?
What do you think of taking pictures?
Why are pictures so important?

What questions do you have?

How do people view the past and present? In Korea? What do people think of Korea's past?

Views of the past in Korea and the USA.
Korea’s past:
Amazing, mysterious, war
Korea’s present: “Pros and cons.” / Convenient. “The present is good.”
“Picture Book”: Old-style music. Booze = Alcohol. Boozing = Drinking (alcohol). “Birthday suit” is funny.

“People Take Pictures of Each Other”: “Funny,” “No more pictures” = tired of the past, “interesting rhythm,” “the melody is cute.”

31 July
Views of the past in Korea revisited
Korea’s past:
Amazing, mysterious, war
Pollution: Dangerous, warming, smog, dirty air and water, these days.
Reunification? “There will be a war and then Korea will reunite.”
“No, there will be no war. The presidents will talk.”
“The Kim family must go.”
Concerns over the South Korean and North Korean language.

By 2064 (Chewie’s prediction)? “Maybe.”

Our discussion about Korea went on for a long time, so we didn’t have as much time to listen to music. But that’s okay! It was interesting.

JH’s song: The Carpenters – Yesterday Once More.
“I asked my parents about a song about memory and mother told me about this song, which she listened to when she was in high school.”
Other students’ reactions: “Good melody, sweet voice.” “Heard it before, liked it!”

1 August
Talk of next week: Final classes, the guest interview with David, and questions to ask him.
Students' questions:

  • What kind of music do you like?
  • What's your favorite singer?
  • What do you think of old-time music?
  • What countries have you visited?
    • Which was your favorite?
I asked the students their own questions; we have a lively chat about countries we've visited or like to visit. I learned:
  • Chinese has four tones and Vietnamese has 12.
  • The students enjoy Japanese food and want to visit the country.
I was asked "which was your favorite country to visit," and I couldn't think of an answer. Korea came to mind first, but then again, three years of residency trumps a one-week visit. Every country had its merits, but I think overall, the best so far has been Japan. Saying so led to the above point about Japan and a couple questions about Japanese people and fashion.

Also, after having been delayed because of other conversations, we around to sharing music. One girl found a vintage live video of Paul McCartney performing his classic song "Yesterday." Another found a live clip of Adele singing "Someone Like You." The comments about each song were more general than I'd hoped, but that was okay. The idea was to say something about why we liked the songs we chose. And truthfully, sometimes the why means little more than "because it sounds good." Like the Rolling Stones sang, "It's only rock and roll, but I like it."

And, of course, the guest interview: The students known the EPIK teachers in their school well, but they rarely know the other teachers in the county. At least, in my experience. This is starting to change thanks to us partnering with each other for camps now. Still, to remedy this lack of knowledge as well as spark some conversation, I proposed David, one of the two elementary school teachers in Wasu, join the class for a day. As usual rules and procedures get relaxed for the summer session, neither of us needed to do any paperwork for the occasion. Both of my coteachers agreed having a guest teacher come visit for an interview and a chat would prove enjoyable.

Thanks to Thornbury's Teaching Unplugged for the idea!

Unused song from class:
Jimmy Cliff - Sitting in Limbo

4 August - The guest interview
...Went well. The class actually went over its allotted time, so interested were the students. They asked David some thoughtful questions, including the ones listed above. David expounded on every question and often gave several answers. The question of his favorite music, for example, spurred a short monologue about what he listened to in high school, as compared with what he listens to today. Along the way, I chimed in to either ask questions of my own or to further explain something for the students. 

One standout thing: None of what I call Standard Korean Questions came up, which are:
How old are you?
Are you single / Do you have a boyfriend / Are you married?
Can you use chopsticks?
Can you eat spicy food?/Isn't kimchi spicy?

I should explain: Age and marital status get asked to establish relationship norms: An older married person will command a bit more respect than a younger single person. Also, as I may or may not have noted before, Koreans tend to not wear wedding rings, so they ask to see who is and isn't married. As for the chopsticks and food questions, it's because Koreans tend to think that Westerners don't use chopsticks for eating and avoid spicy food. A lot of Koreans are surprised to learn that Westerners do, in fact, eat spicy foods.

I'd expected the students to fall back on at least one of these questions, but they didn't. Everything asked was specific, yet open-ended enough for a longer answer.

Altogether, a most enjoyable time.

***Please note that I said tend to above. I cannot speak for all Koreans and I certainly can't tag an entire nation with a set of behaviors. What I can note is what I've experienced.

5 August - Reviewing the interview and "No means no"

We reconvened and revisited some of the stuff we talking about when David was here.

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