We have posted a Korean-language essay by Dr. Sun Gun Lee, the Director of the Korean Language Center of New York (which is affiliated with the Korean Culture Research, Inc.). He is also the Executive Director of the Korean Language Association, and the former President of the National Association for Korean Schools, Northeast Chapter. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Korean literature at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, and he received his Ph.D. in linguistics from Ankara University in Turkey in 1973.
After he came to the United States in 1975, Dr. Lee has worked tirelessly to teach the Korean language to U.S.-born Korean Americans and to non-Korean Americans. In particular, he has taught Korean language and customs to many Korean adoptees and U.S.-born Korean adults who have faced discrimination from fellow Koreans because of their lack of mother-tongue fluency. He has been able to do this with little monetary compensation for nearly forty years because of his strong love and affinity towards the Korean language. Among his many contributions to Korean language education, he has worked hard to promote the Korean language in American high schools and has participated in making Korean textbooks. In 2004, he also established the Korean Heritage School of Adoptees. As the name of the school suggests, it focuses on expanding Korean language and cultural education for young Korean adoptees. In this essay, Dr. Lee describes these experiences as a Korean language teacher in great detail.
Below is a short excerpt from Dr. Sun Gun Lee's essay:
"한국어반이 개설되고 3년 후, 두 학교로부터 한국어반이 성공적으로 운영되고 있다는 기쁜 소식을 전해 들었다. 첫 학기에 26명이었던 팰리사이드 파크 고등학교의 한국어반 수강생은 2년 후 115명으로 증가하였고, 릿지필드 메모리얼 고등학교의 한국어반 수강생은 첫 학기 36명에서 2년 후 80명으로 늘어났고 초등학교 4,5학년 전 학생 240명도 1주일에 한 시간씩 한국어 수업을 받고 있었다. 이는 기적과 같은 놀라운 발전이었다. 동포들의 도움으로 한국어정규과목채택 추진회가 후원금을 모금하고, 한국정부에서도 지원금을 보내준 결과, 우리 한인 2세들뿐만 아니라 미국 학생들도 한국어를 배울 수 있게 된 것이다."