Monday, May 27, 2013

The Food Unit for Korean Students

It seems like almost every textbook has a unit on food, and it's usually very Western-centric, with things like "appetizers, main dishes, side dishes and desserts."  In Korea, and in many other cultures around the world, there simply isn't this distinction.  Just for an example, how do you fit a BBQ Korean meal into this mold?  It's pretty hard, veering on impossible.

As a way to make this unit applicable, and add a little fun (what Korean doesn't like talking about food?!), I introduce the broad categories and then give my students this challenge:

You need to explain: Samgyeupsal (BBQ pork belly) + rice + banchan (side-dishes), and how to eat it to my parents who've never eaten Korean food.  They also don't speak a word of Korean, so you can't use things like "Ma-nul," or "Sang-Chu."  Can you fit anything into the categories of main dish, side-dish, etc?

I give the students about 6 or 7 minutes to work in partners to organize their thoughts, write down some notes and look up words on their cell-phones.  Then, I put them in groups of 4 and they have to explain it to the other team, who pretends to be my parents and are supposed to act confused if they hear a word in Korean.   Then, I ask for 2 or 3 groups to share their ideas with the class, and I play it up, acting confused if they don't explain something well.  "What's that...?"  "I don't understand..." "What are you talking about?"