Training through service – The Daily Reflector


Photo by Cliff Hollis/ECU News ServicesECU art education student Brittany Brisson, left, works with Hun Lim, center, and Sophia Song at the Greenville Korean Language School, held at Immanuel Baptist Church. Brisson and other aspiring art teachers can gain experience by observing art classes taught there by professor Borim Song.

Photo by Cliff Hollis/ECU News ServicesECU art education student Brittany Brisson, left, works with Hun Lim, center, and Sophia Song at the Greenville Korean Language School, held at Immanuel Baptist Church. Brisson and other aspiring art teachers can gain experience by observing art classes taught there by professor Borim Song.

ECU notes

Saturday, November 2, 2013


The art of teaching takes patience, diligence and the ability to multi-task.

Working with a group of 25 children ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade – on a Saturday – takes even more of those talents.

East Carolina University art education professor Dr. Borim Song is helping aspiring teachers hone those skills through a service-learning experience that connects ECU art education students with children at the Greenville Korean Language School.

Song requires students in her ART 2123 class to observe art lessons for the Korean-American children at the school, held at Immanuel Baptist Church in Greenville. Song said she would like for all of the art education students to eventually teach the class.


“Being in the setting where everybody else is speaking a different language, that is a very educational experience,” Song said. She said her ECU students should be able to take this experience and apply it to their future careers as teachers.


The collaboration began about a year ago when Greenville Korean School principal Jan-Di Kim contacted Song about starting a visual art program for the students. Kim said through the bi-weekly art classes, the children are open to learning and interacting with each other.


“All students love art and they can communicate with that,” Kim said. “They can share their opinions, and they can open their minds and get close to each other.”


Song said she thought this opportunity would be a great service-learning experience for her ECU students. She contacted Dennis McCunney, director of ECU’s Volunteer and Service-Learning Center, who worked to make the planned partnership official. Students in the course must observe at least two classes to fulfill the service-learning component.


Students like Brittany Brisson, who has completed Song’s course, can return as co-teachers to gain more teaching experience. Although Brisson plans to teach at the high school level, she enjoys working with the children at the school. She said she appreciates the opportunity to teach, rather than watch someone else teach.


“It changes your perception of art elementary education,” said Brisson. “It gave me confidence to teach younger kids.”


Song said it is difficult for art education students to get quality, hands-on teaching experience before their required senior-year classroom internships. The service-learning experience provides the ECU students a chance to grow as individuals and as future educators, she said.


This semester, the program will focus on connecting Korean culture and language and North Carolina traditions through visual arts. Korean art from the 17th and 18th centuries will be compared with the Black Mountain College art movement in North Carolina from the mid-20th century. The comparison should enable the students to make connections between the two cultures, Song explained.


The cross-cultural element allows the children to begin to develop a sense of self, Song said. The children are “not only learning Korean culture or American culture, but also thinking about who they are,” what kinds of people they are and what kinds of interests they have, she said.


The project was supported by a grant from the National Art Education Foundation.

Wieland awarded literature fellowship

Set in the 1930s and ‘40s in France, ECU English professor Dr. Liza Wieland’s novel in progress requires more research than her previous works.


Thanks to a 2013-2014 North Carolina Arts Council fellowship in literature, Wieland will travel abroad to pore over history archives that will enhance the novel’s historical accuracy. Wieland is one of only five recipients among 131 applicants to receive the $10,000 award in the prose category of the fellowship program.


“I was thrilled,” Wieland said of finding out she had received the fellowship. “The details (in the book) have to be right, requiring visits to archives in both the United States and abroad. The fellowship will support this travel.”


Earning the fellowship is not only a boon to her craft but also a nod to the council’s confidence in Wieland’s work.


“We’re really happy to recognize the quality of Liza’s work, and hope that the grant will make a meaningful impact on her ability to keep writing,” said David Potorti, literature and theater director for the North Carolina Arts Council. “She’s a great representative of the literary talent in our state, and our goal is to continue supporting her and others who carry on that tradition.”


Wieland is the author of seven books: three collections of short fiction, “Quickening” (2011), “You Can Sleep While I Drive” (1999) and “Discovering America,” (1994); three novels, “A Watch of Nightingales” (2009), “Bombshell” (2001) and “The Names of the Lost” (1992); as well as a volume of poems, “Near Alcatraz” (2005). She has won two Pushcart Prizes, the Michigan Literary Fiction Prize, a Bridport Prize in the United Kingdom and fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. She has previously been awarded a fellowship from the arts council.


She expects to complete her current novel by the end of the fellowship period next year.


Also the fiction editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, Wieland will continue to teach during the fellowship. She draws motivation from both colleagues and students.


“The work of my colleagues in English… their classroom presence and their research and creative output is an inspiration,” she said. “Students, too, are an inspiration, fuel for my writing. I never know when a student comment in class will solve a problem in my work, provide insight into a character, lead me to a new story, help me refine my sense of what a story is and does.


“Actually, I do know when,” she said. “It happens at least once a week.”


As a fellow, Wieland also will have the opportunity to attend a workshop with Creative Capital Foundation, an artist-centered grant-making organization in New York that shares a strategic planning curriculum with artists around the country.


The North Carolina Arts Council fellowships, given since 1980, are competitive and nationally recognized. In addition to prose, awards are granted in categories including choreography; visual, craft and film/video; songwriting and composition.

Upcoming Event

  • Monday: Voyages of Discovery Lecture – Jarvis Lecture on Christianity and Culture, 7 p.m., Wright Auditorium. Dr. Jose Casanova, professor of sociology and head of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University, will discuss “Transformations in American Civil Religion and American Christianity.” Free and open to the public. Contact Dr. John Tucker, or 252-328-1028.

via The Daily Reflector.