Traditional and Contemporary Korean Culture
Grade Level: High School – Community College
Includes curriculum unit + CD-ROM
This unit explores Korean culture, i.e., the beliefs, customs, arts, and ways of life shared by—and often unique to—people living on the Korean peninsula. How did this culture develop? How has it changed over time? How has it stayed the same? By examining these essential questions, students will come to learn that a country’s culture is both anchored in its past—in historical events that have gained special meaning and in customary beliefs and practices that have lingered and survived—and a result of adaptation to changing times. Lesson topics include Korea’s history, land, and climate; religion in Korea; Korean family life; Korean art; Korean popular culture; Korean food; and education in Korea.
Lesson One sets the context for the rest of the unit by providing students with basic background information about Korea’s history.
Lesson Two introduces students to religions in Korea, focusing on the four major religions of Korea: Confucianism, Shamanism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
Lesson Three focuses on the role of family in Korean culture and explores the influence of Confucian thinking on Korean family values and dynamics.
Lesson Four explores the arts of Korea, spanning from the Three Kingdoms Period to modern day, and considers what the arts teach us about a society and culture.
Lesson Five focuses on Korean popular culture and explores the phenomenal success of K-pop and K-drama globally over the past several years.
Lesson Six introduces students to Korea’s system and culture of education by exploring this central question: Why and how does Korean culture place heavy emphasis on education?
Lesson Seven culminates the unit with a look at Korean cuisine and food culture.