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Cultural Identity; 2-period lesson based on Kim's Convenience
« on: December 31, 2019, 10:17:02 am »
Hey all, I just wanted to share a lesson that I did with my 3rd graders both years I've been at my school. It's based around S1E4 of the Canadian comedy Kim's Convenience. For those who might not be familiar, Kim's Convenience centres around a Korean Canadian family who runs a convenience store in Toronto. In this particular episode, the family's Korean cousin visits from Korea, resulting in some surface-level discourse about cultural identity and whatnot.

Being of Korean descent (half) and also from Toronto, I thought the episode would be a perfect point of discussion for discussion of Korean identity, which, as I learned, is something a lot of the kids haven't really considered as a lot of them have little to no personal experience with gyopos or being Korean anywhere but Korea. Also, since Korea is such a cultural monolith, most of them haven't even had to think about the effects of holding onto your roots in a place where your culture isn't the dominant one.

I know that this lesson might not work for every school or every teacher, and there will need to be modifications made, as it's a bit of a personal one for me (I noted where changes need to be made in the slides), but I think it can still be used as the basis for an interesting lesson if done correctly. I really enjoyed hearing what the students had to say, and I think a lot of them were also genuinely interested and that it made them think. Should also note that there is some sketchy language in the episode itself, which I will note later, so if you have a super conservative school (mine isn't), it might be a point of contention.

I did the lesson over the course of 2 weeks (2 class periods). Here's how it went:

Period 1 (1st page):
- Vocab.
- Asked them for examples of things that make up someone's identity, before revealing my own examples.
- Asked them to think of 3 words to describe their own identities
- Asked what they all wrote, had them raise their hands for common ones (eg. Korean, boy/girl, student, brother/sister, son/daughter, etc)
- Explained the discussion situation, told them they could speak in Korean but to please write an answer in English (my kids are generally on the lower-level side, maybe if yours are higher level you can force them to only speak English). I gave them dictionaries to help.
- Gave 5 minutes to write an answer for each question.
- After each question, I went around to each group and asked for their answers before moving onto the next.
This always took up the whole period. I sometimes didn't reach question 5, but oh well.

Period 2 (2nd page):
- Reviewed the meaning of "representation" and "stereotype," explained the state of Asian representation in Western media
- Quick overview of each of the characters in Kim's Convenience, just so they had some background knowledge going in
- Watched Kim's Convenience S1E4 on Netflix with Korean subs. There are two iffy parts language-wise. In the first scene, Umma calls Nayoung a "slut." This is translated as "bar girl" in the Korean subs IIRC, which I assume is maybe a euphemism for "sex worker," but I let it be and no one batted an eye. The second happens about two-thirds of the way into the episode(?) when Janet and Nayoung are at a restaurant with Janet's friends and Janet drops an F-bomb. It isn't translated into the subs, so I was just wary of when the offending line was coming up and muted the volume while she was saying it. Worked fine.
- At the conclusion of the episode, we watched a video called "How You See Me: ASIAN" on YouTube, which is linked in one of the slides. It very conveniently has Korean subs as well.
- Asked the last two discussion questions (the most common reaction to Nayoung is that she seems more Japanese to them. Nayoung's characterization is...interesting lol)
- Explained to them my reasoning for wanting to have this discussion with them, said that I hoped they would think about this lesson if they travel/live somewhere else someday.
The end!

Anyway. I know it's kind of the end of the year now, but hopefully someone someday finds it helpful~~

Re: Cultural Identity; 2-period lesson based on Kim's Convenience
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2019, 01:28:10 pm »
Thanks for this! I actually have taught this episode before, and your materials are really well done. Next time I teach this class, I'm going to be using this! Thank you again!

Re: Cultural Identity; 2-period lesson based on Kim's Convenience
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2019, 01:40:11 pm »
If you're watching nextflix on a computer, there are some chrome extensions that enable playing two subtitles simultaneously. For me, it came in handy because I normally have it set to Korean for my wife and couldn't understand Klingon on some Star Trek show.
The above extension is free, although sometimes it can take a few refreshes of a video for the second subtitle option to appear.
These other two aren't free, but have a free trial for the service. I've never used either of them, but they may work for you.
The latter says that it also enables the same for Amazon Prime and Youtube.