One of the things I love doing most while teaching in Korea is teaching students about western culture. In our western-centric minds, we tend to let our egos get in the way and often assume that hey, everyone must know about our culture. However, that's obviously not the case and I love introducing the students to the world beyond Korea. Yes, I guess my inner social studies teacher is still lurking around after all.
Anyway, today I kicked off the camp with America...basically because I knew it would be the easiest to plan and I wanted to transition into the camp madness somewhat easily. I started the class by breaking students into groups and giving them a bunch of questions about America to see what they already knew. I also gave them a map of America and asked them to label any of the states they knew. This turned into a fun competition and the results were definitely intriguing.
Here, my friends, is the United States according to Korean high school students:
|Boston is next to Texas...who knew?|
|Note: Harvard and Yale are states. Mississippi is also a northern state.|
And to be fair, of course the majority of Americans probably can't label the whole map of America, and I certainly didn't expect all of my students to be able to. Not to mention, I'm sure the majority of Americans can't place Korea on a map. Geography seems to be a universal skill that is lacking.
Oh, and I should mention things just kept getting more entertaining when we went over the answers to the survey I gave them. To end this post I'll give you a little excerpt from that part of class.
Me: Does anyone know what America's national bird is?
Just another day in Korea.