“Professors Are Those Who Plant Seeds”

2020-07-06 Academic

Professors Hyon Park of the Department of Sports Medicine and Byung Min Kang of the Department of Accounting and Taxation selected for this year’s Kyung Hee Fellowship in Education

Kyung Hee Fellowship began with the aim of improving the quality of education by awarding educational excellence and sharing the best practices with our members. We met with Professor Hyon Park, one of the winners of the 2019 Kyung Hee Fellowship in Education, to gain a closer look into his educational philosophy and unique teaching methods.

Encouraging creative application of knowledge
Professor Park’s interest in teaching methods was sparked by the students of the College of Physical Education. “Students of the College of Physical Education have diverse academic background and capabilities. Some are elite student athletes, while others could be prospective medical students who decided to focus on sports medicine. That is why I grappled with how to teach such a pool of diverse students,” said Professor Park.

After a while, he decided to introduce Project Based Learning (PBL), through which students take the initiative in problem solving. Professor Park threw himself into learning about the PBL method. “I got a lot of help from the Center for Teaching and Learning. This helped me fine tune my teaching methods and even give tips to my colleagues,” said Professor Park.

He is a strong believer in students taking what they learn from teachers and making it into their own so that they would be able to take advantage of their newly acquired knowledge in practical application. In addition, Professor Park strives to create an active research environment for teams and individuals based on the latest and relevant research topics to stoke interest in students and encourage them to fully participate in class.

“I will help students reach for the stars”
Professor Park refused to use old video lectures that he had already made and decided to build an entirely new series of lectures for this semester’s online class in order to emphasize to his students that communication in class is a two-way street. In an effort to make the best out of online classes, Professor Park says that he “uploads video lectures and learning materials during the weekend and shares the files on Monday morning. This allows students to take the lesson at their time of choosing, and study and upload the assignments by Friday night. Saturdays are dedicated to grading and giving feedback and Sundays are for uploading the next video lecture,” adding that his “weekends are now like weekdays, but the students have exceeded expectations.”

A professor is, according to Professor Park, someone who plants quality seeds. But, watering and protecting those seeds would not necessarily guarantee that they will become beautiful flowers. He said, “A professor is someone who maintains humility while fulfilling their role in accordance with their own philosophies and educational goals. Professors should never judge a book by its cover. I have seen numerous students who I once thought were not cut out for studying, but ended up blossoming and making incredible achievements. Students change and their potential cannot be foretold. I have learned a lot from this process.”

Professor Park’s message to his students is that “Students’ dreams become less ambitious as graduation looms near. You should never give up on your dreams in your mid-20s when you have the next century to look forward to.” In this vein, he hopes to become “someone who encourages students to reach for the stars.”

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