Our Centre has the great privilege of having a team day four times each year. This is a chance for our whole team, some based in far-flung corners of the country, to meet together and do some in-depth PLD. For Term 1 2020, we had a focus on culture and also on Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy. Culturally sustaining pedagogy requires us to explicitly act to sustain the languages and cultures of communities within our schools, so that we celebrate and acknowledge the richness that students bring to our schools and classrooms. Embedding this into our own practice, and raising the consciousness of teachers around the country, is our goal for this year, and there will be workshops available on this during the year.
As part of this day, we were guests at a traditional Korean tea ceremony. Members of the Yemyung-Won (Korean Traditional Tea Etiquette Academy Institution) set up an entire room for us which made us feel as if we had travelled across the oceans to Korea. Some of our team were attired in 한복 han-bok (Korean traditional dress) and were the special guests for the first part of the ceremony. Under the expert guidance of tea master, Mila Kim Oh and also Director, Yemyung-Won, delicious tea was made and poured for us in a ceremony called 다례 da-rye. This 1500-year old tradition with its many precise steps, helped us to see how the making of tea can be a way to find relaxation and harmony, as it is intended to do.
Served alongside the tea was a range of Korean sweets, all very different and unusual, and once we had finished our tea we had the chance to try to make some of these called 다식 da-sik as well. We used beautiful wooden presses to make small, colourful cakes with intricate patterns on the top out of mung bean flour paste.
For our whole team, the chance to see and experience a Korean tea ceremony was real food for thought. Many of us knew and had experienced Japanese or Chinese tea ceremonies and were able to compare the three different ways that this can be done. For our non-Asian language colleagues, this was a chance to immerse themselves in a part of the world that they were not so familiar with and gain some real understanding in the process.
Hours of work had gone into the preparation of this wonderful experience for us, and we were humbled by the kindness and warmth of all those involved in making it possible for us as a team to have this opportunity.
Belinda Sydenham (Pedagogy Lead and Professional Expert)
Members of the Yemyung-Won (Korean Traditional Tea Etiquette Academy Institution) and Centre for Languages Team