Thanks to the generous support by the Berkeley Language Center, I participated in the 20th American Association of Teachers of Korean (AATK) Annual Workshop and Conference, which was held in Monterey, CA, June 25-27, 2015.
As the largest conference for the teaching of Korean in the U.S., the AATK plays a significant role in Korean education in the States and beyond. The conference this year was particularly meaningful as it was the 20th anniversary of the AATK. About 200 people, including many former presidents of the organization, gathered in beautiful Monterey to celebrate the big event. The event was also especially meaningful for us as it was the first time that all the lecturers in the Korean language program at Berkeley could participate.
On the first day, Dr. Rick Kern, the director of the BLC, gave us a plenary address, titled “Getting back to fundamentals: Building strong pedagogy on the social, individual, and material foundations of language learning.” It was a very insightful, useful, and, most of all, fun presentation! I learned a lot from his talk. On the second day, Dr. John Lie, the former director of the Center for Korean Studies, delivered another plenary address about “Language and diaspora: Korean diaspora’s linguistic disunity.”
At the professional development workshop, seven Korean lecturers at UC Berkeley led a session as a group, which was a huge success. The title was “Incorporating Project-Based Language Learning (PBLL) to College-Level KFL Curriculum.” After I explained the background of the project, PBLL examples at Berkeley were presented for lower level (Soojin Lee), upper level (Meehyei Lee), heritage track (Junghee Park), and non-heritage track (Seung-Eun Chang). Then, with the guidance of Minsook Kim and Jiyoung Kim, workshop participants did a hands-on activity to create a sample PBLL curriculum. It was good to share our PBLL experience with other instructors and, after the session, I received much feedback praising the Berkeley project and asking for the PowerPoint file.
In sum, it was great to participate in the conference, and I am grateful again to the BLC for making this trip possible.