A WORLD OF LEARNING
When she enrolled in the Child Development program at Hennepin Technical College, Anna Larson had no idea she would use that knowledge in classrooms halfway around the world, but that’s exactly what happened when she traveled to South Korea to teach.
“I’m a Korean adoptee, so I was interested in getting back to my roots,” says Larson, who graduated from HTC with an A.S. in Child Development in 2011. So when she was at a Korean church in the Twin Cities and saw an advertisement for intercultural teaching opportunities, she decided that was an experience she needed to explore. Along with her training in child development, Larson had been a writing tutor at HTC in Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Park, so she accepted a position as a teacher for students ranging from preschool age through adults.
“My training at HTC was a big advantage,” Larson says as she reflects on spending 19 months as a teacher in a small town in Korea. She noted that not all the people who travel to Korea to teach have a background in education. Luckily for those working with Larson, they could rely on her skills and ideas about what to do.
“I shared my lesson plans on Facebook,” explains Larson. “I was using my teaching portfolio from HTC.” Thanks to her child development training, Larson had learned the importance of adapting lessons to meet students’ needs. Coming from America, she found the Korean educational system very different from what she had experienced. In particular, she was surprised by her students’ reactions to open or creative play, such as drawing pictures or playing with PlayDoh. “Korean students score very high on tests in math or subjects where they can memorize, but abstract thinking or being creative is a different concept for them,” she observed.
When Larson was teaching older students, she taught not just English but also American culture and idioms, including the meaning of phrases such as “let’s get on this” or “two shakes of a lamb’s tale.” Larson says people in Korea were eager to be her friend, and culturally, she says, “The food was a ‘Wow!’”
Now Larson is back at HTC, enrolled in classes that will prepare her for training as a registered nurse, which she believes is a good combination with her background in child development. She’s considering work in pediatric health care, and she’s also open to another teaching adventure. For Anna Larson, training at HTC truly prepared her for a world of learning.
Last updated by jhanson : 2016-08-01 11:16:42