Discovery Project: Experiential Field Learning in Language Courses with Community Outreach

In this activity, students visited the East Asian Library on campus to practice formal speech with a Korean librarian and engage with collections.

Author: Minsook Kim, Lecturer in East Asian Languages and Cultures 
Course Number & Title: K1BX: Elementary Korean for Heritage Speakers
Grant Type: Berkeley Discover Departmental Innovation Award Program (Discovery Trailblazers)

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Activity Title Experiential Field Learning in Language Courses with Community Outreach
Delivery Format In-person

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Categories

(Review definitions for each category)

  • Capstone Courses and Projects
  • ePortfolios & Multimedia Storytelling
  • Learning Communities
  • Diversity/Global Learning
Learning Objectives
  • Engage in formal discourse within an authentic environment

  • Engage in inquiry-based learning through primary resource (raising intellectual curiosity by firsthand learning experience about their heritage in the library)

  • Disseminate their work to the wider Korean community (share the digital storytelling with Korean-speaking UCB friends and/or family members)

  • Build sense of belonging through shared experience in the field trip

Brief Summary of Activity The main goal of this project is to give students a real opportunity to practice formal speech, an essential part of the K1BX course. Since heritage learners often use informal language at home, it's crucial for them to practice formal speech in a real setting, not just during class presentations. To achieve this, I arranged a trip to an East Asian Library on campus, where students interacted with a Korean librarian using formal speech. The librarian presented various collections to the class and introduced them in Korean, after which the students asked prepared questions. As part of their final project, the students created a digital storytelling piece incorporating their trip experience, aiming to connect with the broader Korean-speaking community outside the classroom.
Activity Length  2 class hours + final project
Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Preparation 

Students prepare three questions to ask the librarian using formal speech. They should then share these questions in a small group. During this step, students can assist each other in correcting grammatical errors and also gain inspiration by sharing their inquiries. The instructor must coordinate with the librarian to arrange the field trip, ensuring that the activities and collections to be showcased are discussed.

Step 2: Experiencing

Students visit the East Asian library on campus and participate in a special class specifically arranged for them. This class will take place in a seminar room within the library and focus on a selected collection. Students will have the opportunity to ask the questions they prepared initially, and they will also have the chance to ask additional questions which organically arise after the librarian explains the collections.

Step 3: Sharing Inquiries and Findings 

During the following class, students share their inquiries and findings. This sharing will be done within small groups to ensure that every student has the opportunity to share before the entire class engages in sharing. 

Step 4: Creating a Digital Storytelling (Final Project)

As a final project, students will create a digital storytelling piece that incorporates their essays written throughout the semester, including their experiences from the field trip. This digital storytelling project will be shared within the classroom as a celebration of their learning at the end. 

Additionally, students are required to share their digital storytelling projects with their families and Korean American friends on campus who are not enrolled in Korean classes yet. This aims to foster a Korean community on campus and to encourage these individuals to consider taking a Korean class. Students report the reactions of their friends and family to the instructor. 

Innovative Teaching Reflection

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing presence of AI, educators are reevaluating the significance of in-person teaching. I believe that the true essence of my course lies in providing firsthand experience to promote inquiry-based learning, especially through primary sources.  My objective of this particular field trip is to encourage students to actively connect with their cultural legacy, transforming it from mere historical knowledge into a tangible and immersive experience. 

Impact & Feedback

I believe that field learning serves two crucial purposes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of AI. Students desire hands-on learning and a sense of community. To meet this need, language courses should consider integrating field learning activities to provide relevant language use and foster a sense of belonging through shared experience as a class. I also took my students to BAMPFA museum, which any language course could use as a primary resource. The museum's exhibitions can serve as content for language practice, and the museum’s convenient location allows for this activity to be completed within a one-hour class period without disrupting other classes.