We attribute much of our contemporary Korean education system – the theory-based, rote learning methods – to Confucian ideals. However, it is this same Confucius - teacher, philosopher, and politician - who emphasised the importance of practical learning as evinced in his quote, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
Among SNU’s ‘Advanced English’ courses, which are electives in the mandatory College English programme, Raymond SALCEDO (Lecturer, Faculty of Liberal Education) teaches drama as a means to improve students’ English communicative competence, as well as broaden their awareness and perspectives on controversial social issues in contemporary society. Students read a total of nine plays throughout Salcedo’s ‘Advanced English: Drama Workshop’ course - analysing, presenting, questioning and discussing numerous socio-cultural issues that arise.
The hands-on learning experience is enhanced when students are given an opportunity to self-direct and perform the plays they learned, and also engage in their fellow classmates’ performances at the end of the semester. Furthermore, students learn the foundations of script writing, and get to write their own play script as one of the major course assignments.
On November 14, the usual class session took on a different atmosphere when two actors, Kim SCHROEDER and Antonio BOMPART, performing one of the assigned plays of the course at the 2016 ‘Seoul Players 10 Minute Play Festival’, were invited for a question and answer session with the students.
The students asked questions on the actors’ interpretations of the play, as well as their rehearsal and characterisation processes. JUNG In Joo (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development) shared her thoughts on the interview session; “I could feel how passionate the actors were through their responses. I learned that they analyse and explore the play on a much greater and deeper level than I imagined.”
The session evolved into a platform of discussion, where the actors and the director – Professor Salcedo himself – shared their personal experiences in acting and producing plays, and also their passion for the arts and the significance it has in society.
WOO Jaeho (Department of Forest Sciences) shared his experience on the session overall. “I had an opportunity to learn so much from the actors – how they analyse and perceive the world in a play before they start rehearsing. This experience will change my perspective of watching plays.”
In a nation widely criticised for its problematic education system, it is important to promote education that transcends textbooks and rote theories to application in real life and the world around us.
Written by Hye Bin Lee, SNU English Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, email@example.com