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Korean School of Eindhoven attends teachers' conference in Venice

May 21, 2023

Between May 19 and 21, teachers from the Korean School of Eindhoven attended a conference in Venice for Korean language educators. The theme of conference was "Building competence of Korean school teachers as identity education professionals."

It was a great opportunity to meet Korean teachers from all over Europe.

One Korean teacher from Eindhoven told us, "It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of Korean school teachers from all over Europe and to share experiences. I met teachers from places like Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Vienna! "

Korean School of Eindhoven

The Korean School Eindhoven (KSE) was founded in 2019 to provide Korean language and culture to children with a Korean background in the Eindhoven region. The organization is a charitable foundation (ANBI stichting) registered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea as a formal Korean language school.

KSE aims to provide high-quality education with practical learning experiences. KSE offers lessons also to non-native speakers of Korean, and the number of students enrolled at KSE increases every semester. Volunteers at KSE prepared several hundred Korean children's books for Eindhoven Library's International Children's Book Collection.

Professional activities

There are several misconceptions about heritage language education that educators of multilingual children are regularly confronted with. For instance, it is sometimes assumed that a high quality of education is not possible in a heritage language program, that the programs offered are just a free-time activity similar to a club or hobby group, or that children who speak a home language are often fluent in that language so there is no real need for lessons.

When we see that teachers from heritage language programs such as the Korean School of Eindhoven are engaging in professional development activities such as attending the recent teachers' conference in Italy, it is a sign that this is a valid form of education, even if it takes outside the mainstream classroom. A lot of thought, expertise, and training has been put into serving the needs of the overseas diaspora of Korean children.

Korean teachers from Scotland, Austria, and the Netherlands

The conference program

There were four lectures given at the conference for Korean teachers:

1. Bora An, a curator from Musem of Korean Palaces, talked about history education and activities.

2. Seung-keum Yu, a professor, gave expert advice about teaching Korean to foreign students.

3. Eun-ah Lee, a professor and a counsellor, gave a lecture about the psychology of oversea diaspora children and teenagers.

4. Seungkown Paik, an expert in writing & communications, lectured about how to write efficiently and how to teach writing to oversea diaspora children.

A time for reflection, connection, and . . . gelato

It is a sure sign of dedication to travel across Europe to attend a teacher training conference when many teachers at heritage language programs have day jobs in other fields. By coming together to share stories about their challenges and triumphs, these teachers help motivate and validate each other.

One teacher from Eindhoven reported: "I came home from the conference exhausted and inspired. And we had perfect weather!"

An event like this offers time for the teachers not only to reflect on their methods, but also to reward themselves -- with a bit of sun and Italian cuisine -- for the important work that they do contributing to the identity and language development of Korean-speaking children.

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