Mattie Breault, 5, peers out at parents during a DanceAbility dress rehearsal at Eastern Elementary School. DanceAbility is an international program adoped by ECU four years ago to teach dance to children with cognitive or physical disabilities. "One of the things we like to do is really provide an opportunity for each child to go beyond what might be expected of them," said Boni Boswell, program director from the College of Health and Human Performance's Department of Kinesiology. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

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ECU art education professor Borim Song
ECU professor trains aspiring teachers through service-learning

The art of teaching takes patience, diligence and the ability to multi-task.

Working with a group of 25 children ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade—on a Saturday—takes even more of those talents.

ECU art education professor Borim Song is helping aspiring teachers hone those skills through a service-learning experience that connects ECU art education students with children at the Greenville Korean Language School.
Students Irene Nam and Kathleen Lim

Song requires students in her ART 2123 class to join her for observation and co-teaching art lessons for the Korean-American children at the school, held at Immanuel Baptist Church in Greenville. Song said she would like for all of the art education students to eventually teach the class.

“Being in the setting where everybody else is speaking a different language, that is a very educational experience,” Song said. She said her ECU students should be able to take this experience and apply it to their future careers as teachers.

The collaboration began a little more than one year ago, when Greenville Korean Language School principal Jan-Di Kim contacted Song about starting a visual art program. Kim said through the biweekly art classes, the children are open to learning and interacting with each other.

“All students love art and they can communicate with that,” Kim said. “They can share their opinions, and they can open their minds and get close to each other.”

Song said she thought this opportunity would be a great service-learning experience for her students. She contacted Dennis McCunney, director of ECU’s Volunteer and Service-Learning Center, who worked to make the planned partnership official. Students in the course can fulfill the service-learning component by observing at least two classes.

Students like Brittany Brisson, who has completed Song’s course, can return as co-teachers to gain more experience. She said she appreciates the opportunity to teach, rather than watch someone else teach.

“It changes your perception of art elementary education,” said Brisson. “It gave me confidence to teach younger kids.”

During spring semester the program focused on connecting Korean culture and language with North Carolina traditions through visual arts. The Korean art from the 17th and 18th centuries will be compared with the Black Mountain College art movement in North Carolina from the mid-20th century. A focus on two artists from the Black Mountain College arts movement and two from Korean art history should enable the students to make connections between the two cultures, Song explained.

Song said her goal for the children is to “have the opportunity to really understand and rediscover themselves through art and by looking into their culture and other cultures.”

The project is supported by a grant from the National Art Education Foundation.

Jamitress Bowden
East Carolina University
East Fifth Street | Greenville, NC 27858-4353 USA
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