Korean Lesson Plan Day 4: Teaching Racism

July 29, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

Yes I know you are reading this because I put the R word in the title. There is a word in Korean called “Wankta.” Basically it is one kid in class who is chosen by the group to get picked on, beat up and made fun of. I think 50 Cent changed the word to Wangsta for his rap video. Yet I digress. I wanted to teach the kids not to judge and to give everyone a chance. What did I do?


Scrap Booking: The Swap

1- Every student sits next to someone brand new.

2- Switch scrap books with that person and spend 15 minutes to draw, write or cut out newspaper articles about what they thought of the other person.

3- Give back the scrap book to its owner.

4- Shake the other person’s hand and introduce themselves.

5- Then they evaluated how true the other person’s perception was and spent the next 15 minutes talking and listening to their new friend.

I really wanted to get across the point of not judging other people and to give everyone a chance.

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5 responses to “Korean Lesson Plan Day 4: Teaching Racism

  1. Nick Reply

    That looks like a great idea. How did you think of doing something like that with these students? Is that a Noah Kagan original, or did you learn about it in a teaching manual somewhere?

    How did the scrapbooks come out? Was anyone overly malicious, or did everyone get along well once the whole thing was done?

    So I realize that I just asked 4 questions in 5 sentences. Excellent and interesting idea, though.

  2. noah kagan Reply


    This is a Noah Kagan original idea. My task for scrapbooking was to let the kids be creative. I am more interested in an objective. I guess I am always fascinated by people and how we judge others. I wanted to accomplish two things: meet a new person and show them about stereotyping.

    This idea came to me randomly. I will do a post on how I get all my ideas.

    The scrapbooks came out wonderfully. Some were very accurate guesses with reading, piano, sports and other things came out completely opposite. I think the majority of students got the idea of the task.

    I heard some bad things at past camps where kids were throwing hot water on a girl and also making her drink Kimchi juice. Really mean stuff. I thought this would teach my students a thing or two about judging people before they know them. Seemed to work well:)

  3. mapgirl Reply

    Kimchi juice is kind of good. Especially with ice cubes on a really hot day…

    Otherwise, hazing in Asia is horrible. It’s not just Korean kids. There’s all kinds of bullying in Japan and China too.

    Is it really racism or just cruelty since everyone is the same ethnicity over there?

    I would say that any small insular community doesn’t welcome outsiders very well, whether it’s a farm community in rural America, or a single-ethnicity neighborhood in urban areas, etc.

    Racism or just misunderstanding a cultural difference?

    Neat projects though. Sounds like you’re having a lot of fun with the kids. So do you teach the course in English or do you have a translator?

  4. noah Reply

    Kimchi juice sounds nasty;P

    There is tons of bullying going on in Korea. Last night after the awards ceremony they were playing a game where you count numbers and if you mess up you get slapped in the back by all the other people. One girl hit another girl so hard she started crying. yea we stopped the game after that

    i think its the confuscious ways of hierarchy and pressure to succeed which drive people to do these things. maybe other things…

    yea i felt very discriminated and not as welcomed as when i traveled through thailand. i think its just an insular community and they are use to the annoying/obnoxious american soldiers so they lump us together.

    This is the 1% camp and it is a requirement that the kids speak English. They had to write some essays and pass a test before they could get admitted.

  5. mapgirl Reply

    Ah… Hazing games. We used to hit till it hurt and people cried, but never ratting out to parents. NO WAY. It definitely toughens you up, you learn secrets and lies, you learn truth and fairness too. Restraint is important and your peers will teach you that as well, or they’re supposed to. It’s a harder way to learn in the school of hard knocks, but perhaps the lessons are better learnt. (I think the trick is also not to be the bottom all the time either. Effed up, isn’t it?)