Natasha’s Story and the story of other “adoptees”

See the FULL SCREEN version and more TED videos on our TED Talk feed page. Living as an EFL teacher rogue, roustabout, expat and “outsider” — one often gets to see the world in special ways. It is a tremendous opportunity to grow as an individual and to really see humanity for what it is. See not just the diversity but the ever expanding endpoint of that process — how much we are all so similar.
Living in a foreign culture allows one to come across stories like the one above, Natasha’s story (which is also the photographer Rick Smolan’s story and also now your story!). It hits on so many levels but mostly it hit me where I am human — why we don’t care for some others and why we do care ……. But this story also bothered me and this blog post I found later, really deals with those issues and clarified things for me. I was bothered because it seemed too good to be true, also like Natasha was manipulated and I kept asking myself, “who has any right (other than a Korean family member) to adopt that child?).

Natasha was a raised by her grandmother in a remote village in S. Korea. She had an American G.I father. She looked very Causcasian, different. Her story is wonderful and starts when she is hunted down by a young, eclectic photographer who wants to shoot her story and those of other abandoned Asian/American children. But it is so much more than just this….please watch!

This semester in class, I’ve been teaching Korean teachers to use Korea as a subject through which to teach English. Please see our Korea folder for some materials. But using the student’s culture is a super way to get them focusing on production and it really enhances language acquisition.

But part of my lesson has to do with “What makes a person Korean?” . So many answers arise – passport/language/Mongolian butt (a small spot they are born with but which disappears)/food/attitude etc…… Then I show them this video of Joh, who has returned “home” to Korea to find his biological parents. I ask my teachers – is Joh Korean? Lots of lively debate, heated debate even ensues. At first I had my qualms about this sort of lesson but I really think it good for us to take teaching to this very personal level, this illuminating and self growing level.

Natasha’s story has made me realize I can do more while here in Korea (or anywhere for that matter). What about your own part of the world? How are the children? What is happening to the orphans there? If you have info. or comments about Natasha’s story, please share….but most of all, watch this story. Unforgettable!

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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