Three English teachers from Korea, members of Trinity University’s National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), visited MacArthur last Friday, Feb. 3, to learn about the extracurriculars offered at American high schools.
“[They came here in hopes of gaining] real world experiences in the U.S. to take back to their students,” Ms. Marisol Laselva, a Speech teacher and NCTA Scholar said.”The Korean school system is different. They don’t get choices for what they study, those are chosen for them. They are in one classroom all day— it is their teachers that change rooms. Their senior year, they are in one classroom from 7am-11pm to study for their entrance exams… They don’t have time for the Fine Arts, though, sometimes, being so stringent makes them stagnant,” she said.
The teachers were “fascinated” by the Varsity Orchestra after watching them play their pieces for the Solo and Ensemble competition on Feb. 28.
“They were very appreciative to see that this program exists,” Mr. Andrew Davis, Assistant Orchestra Director said. “They were curious to know if they owned their instruments or if they just rented them. Music education is not very typical in Korea, so they didn’t know how this worked,” he said.
As for the NCTA, Ms. Laselva is accompanied by Mrs. Roberta Saldana (Spanish teacher), Ms. Janelle Richard (U.S. History and Economics), and Mr. James Vaughn (World History).
“We initially took some classes, and became certified. Eventually, I applied for a grant to spend a month in China and Japan, to really see, and smell, and taste the culture,” said Ms. Laselva, mirroring the desires of the teachers.