|The benefits of adopting folktales in teaching a foreign language are abundant. When I used authentic folktale picture books in class in the past, I saw that the level of engagement and interest on the part of the students increased noticeably. For the final oral presentation, some chose to create conversations based on the folktales we had studied, and others incorporated memorable expressions or phrases learned from the stories into their work. In the end-of-the-term evaluations, many students commented on how much they enjoyed the folktales and suggested we use more of them. I looked for materials to incorporate in the courses I was teaching, but soon found it to be challenging to find instructional materials that use folktale on the market, let alone ones to adapt appropriately to different language levels in our program. With the benefits and need in mind, I authored the textbook titled “Korean Through Folktales” to use in the courses of different levels with the support from PDXOpen, an open access textbook program at Portland State University. |
Korean Through Folktales consists of four chapters, and each chapter centers on a famous Korean folktale. Through the selected folktales, the book aims to have students gain not only linguistic skills and also cultural knowledge and insights into traditional and cultural values. Using folktales in the curriculum will provide an engaging way to expose students to a slice of the target culture that native Koreans are naturally exposed to at an early age. The lessons and values that famous folktales teach are embedded in and permeate various aspects of the target culture. Traces of folktales and allusions to them are also evident in cultural products that many students enjoy, such as TV dramas, movies, and music. Thus, knowledge of these folktales will help students make cultural connections, as well as enrich their experience of learning the language.
This book can be used by any teacher as a supplement to an existing curriculum. Each chapter begins with Key Themes of the essential plot of the folktale and Warm-up activities with links to relevant videos and images. Then the folktale is presented in three versions for beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels that are tailored and modified to fit the appropriate level. The following sections “Key Words and Expressions” and “Key Patterns and Forms” provide study materials to use before and while reading the story. The textbook also offers a variety of exercises and activities to reinforce their acquired linguistic skills and apply the learned materials to speaking, listening, reading, and writing. An online application called Quizlet is heavily utilized for self-check quizzes, collaborative work, group games, flash cards, listening and speaking activities, and many other engaging activities. Each exercise and activity target a specific level, and the contents are presented in order of difficulty so that students can work on level-appropriate materials. At the same time, it also provides learning opportunities for students in all three levels that individual learners can pick any sections for review or to challenges themselves.
I hope this textbook can be shared with any teacher or student who finds folktale stories an engaging venue for learning the Korean language and culture.