|The participants of the CIS Korean Language Teacher Training Program gathered together on Aug. 30 to celebrate the end of their past five-week study. Photo by Choi Kyu-min.
The Ewha Womans University Language Education Center held the 2017 Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Korean Language Teacher Training Program to strengthen the competence of Korean teachers in the CIS region and Russia.
Organized by the Overseas Koreans Foundation and annually hosted by Ewha since 2014, the five-week training session took place from July 26 to Aug. 30. The participants took Korean classes that fit for their individual level to improve their language skills. They learned a variety of teaching methods and had time to develop and utilize educational materials as well.
Due to its instructive and useful nature, the program has participants that come more than once to study. Ten Anastasia, who participated in the program for three years, is just one of the many.
“My first experience was the 2013 training program,” Ten said. “After becoming a Korean teacher and teaching Korean to Ukrainians, I wanted to improve my Korean skills even more. Also, I wanted to deliver more accurate information to my students, which led me to participate in the program again.”
The program does not limit itself to only educating language and teaching skills, but also aims to enhance the understanding of Korean history and traditions. As the generations are being replaced in the compatriot society, the program pursues to nurture the next generation of educators that will not only teach the language, but also the culture. Giving the participants a chance to reside in Korea for a long period of time, the teachers are able to experience modern Korean lifestyle. Also, visiting historical sites such as the Independence Hall, Demilitarized Zone, Jongmyo and Changdeok Palace, the participants had a chance to learn about their ancestral roots as Koreans which will help them teach Korean history to their students back home.
“Learning Korean, I also became interested in Korean culture, history and lifestyle,” Ten said. “One of the most memorable place I visited was Gyeongju. The scenery and historic sites were beautiful, and helped me to understand the long history of Korea.”
During the opening ceremony, Kim Iskra, a Korean teacher residing in Uzbekistan, also expressed her enthusiasm toward the program.
“I will take part in this program with a sense of responsibility to spread Korean culture and history to students in Uzbekistan,” Kim said.
As many teachers are enthusiastic in continuing to teach Korean abroad, the school also expressed gratitude towards them.
“We are proud of the teachers who try their best to teach Korean language and culture to students abroad,” said Lee Hai-young, the Ewha Language Center director.
With over 1900 Korean language schools in the CIS region, the teachers aim to introduce Korean to as many as possible.
“My ultimate goal is to both educate and bring hope to my students,” Ten said. “ANC Korean Language School, the school I teach at, is a school built by missionaries, just like Ewha. As Ewha helps us, I want to help young people in Ukraine learn Korean. I hope other Korean teachers can also experience happiness by spreading knowledge to their students.”