The Understanding Korea Project Team of AKS visited the US to conduct textbook improvement activities from November 15 (Wed) to November 22 (Fri), 2017. The team also participated in the “97th NCSS AnnualConference” held in San Francisco from November 17(Fri) to November 19 (Sun).
The conference, which was participated in by approximately 4,000 social studies educators all over the US, featured various lectures and discussions; it was held for the purpose of information sharing among social studies educators through presentations and discussions on academic essays along with operation and promotional activities for educational texts and learning material exhibition booths and exhibits of published materials from major textbook publishers throughout the conference. The schedule for this conference included textbook seminar, discussion, workshop, and exhibition.
The Understanding Korea Project Team has been participating in this conference since 2015; it set up a separate promotional booth inside the exhibition hall as part of the conference’s events to promote the Understanding Korea Project and to perform networking activities through direct exchange with personnel from major publishers to expand, insert newly, or improve any content related to Korea in US textbooks. It also provided materials and videos related to Korea that social studies teachers can use directly in classes to enhance interest and understanding of Korea among participants of the event, creating an opportunity for education related to Korea to be conducted in local educational sites.
Meanwhile, the Understanding Korea Project Team invited textbook writers whom they have come in contact with at NCSS in 2015 to the 2016 Fellowship for Textbook Specialists from the US to participate in the conference that same year to maintain their relationship; they prepared a session in Korea with the same writers this year. Patrick Whelan (Teacher/Writer at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School) gave a presentation on “Issues on how we teach Korean history,” Jay Harmon (Teacher/Writer at Houston Christian High School) talked about “Fitting Korea into the world history classroom,” and Researcher Kim Da-hee of the Understanding Korea Project Team discussed “Resources for teaching Korean history” with “Korea in the context of 21st-century global history” as the theme. Approximately 40 US educators participated in this presentation and held various discussions regarding class plans and utilization of materials related to Korea.
The participation in this Annual NCSS Conference and presentations related to Korea along with various forms of information sharing with local social studies educators laid the foundation for discussing the positive future direction regarding the description of Korea in US textbooks in the future. In particular, this conference helped increase interest in expanding the descriptions related to Korea in US textbooks through direct contact with world history textbook writers in the US. The requested contents are expected to be reflected in the revised editions.
Aside from promoting and making presentations related to the Understanding Korea Project within the exhibition hall, the team also visited US publisher TCI on November 20 (Mon.) and met its CEO. They had a positive discussion with the CEO on the current state of contents related to Korea in TCI’s textbooks, which are currently undergoing revision. The team also visited the Santa Clara Unified School District to understand the educational policies, school management, and current status of students in the district.