By Patrick Bray
DLIFLC Public Affairs
MONTEREY, Calif. – Seung Baek, a team leader in the Korean School, is the Teacher of the Year for 2017 at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.
“To me this was a big surprise,” said Baek, who had forgotten that he was nominated after being named Teacher of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2017 at the Asian School II, which is the Korean School.
“Then a few weeks ago the chairperson came to my class and said lets go,” said Baek. He was then taken to Dr. Hiam Kanbar, the associate provost of undergraduate education, who told him of his achievement and congratulated him.
Baek was recognized for exceeding excellence based upon several criteria, but most notably for his creation of several authentic listening comprehension materials.
Baek noticed that his Foreign Area Officer students began to have more difficulty in listening from the beginning of the second semester, and two students approached him for additional instruction on processing listening comprehension materials.
Within 48 hours after the request, Baek designed several listening comprehension modules using resources that were readily available such as YouTube, Korean documentaries from South Korea’s Defense Media Agency, TV news articles, e-books, the Quizlet app, and subtitled all of the materials using video editing software.
“This really demonstrates his passion for teaching and we are so happy that we have him with our school,” said Dr. Marina Cobb, dean of Asian School II.
Baek said his passion for teaching comes from seeing students reach the “ah-ha moment.”
“I get a lot of joy from this whenever I hear their development and they can move on to the next level,” said Baek.
According to Baek’s nomination packet, colleagues who have observed his teaching have been inspired by his excellent lesson designs and one of his students commented that his lessons “allow us to think critically about how we would interact with another Korean speaker and engage with them on various topics.”
Baek tailored everything he could for his students, including homework, quizzes, and one-on-one activities.
Baek was also DLIFLC’s civilian nominee to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command annual Instructor of the Year Competition, which recognizes the quality and skill of instructors, facilitators and educators as enablers for TRADOC and the Army.
Baek came to the U.S. from South Korea in 2000 to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa for a master’s degree. After graduating he began working at DLIFLC.
DLIFLC provides resident instruction in 17 languages at the Presidio of Monterey, California, with the capacity to instruct another 65 languages in Washington, D.C. The Institute has graduated more than 220,000 linguists since 1941.
In addition, multiple language training detachments exists at sites in the U.S., Europe, Hawaii and Korea, spanning all the U.S. geographic combatant commands in support of the total force.
Posted Date: 13 April 2018