BCA’s Telenovelas and Korean Dramas Project: Perceiving Culture Through Media

Stella Seong

The list of projects BCA has to offer to students is diverse and filled with substance. Among them, the Telenovelas and Korean Dramas project, pursuits a study of culture in Latin America and Korea. Taught by Spanish teacher Mrs. Ponce, this particular project offers a keen perspective on the many nuances in different countries through an analysis on some of the most basic forms of media: telenovelas in Latin America and dramas in Korea. The Academy Chronicle reached out to Mrs. Ponce to yield some insight on the foundation of this project. 


AC: What are telenovelas and Korean dramas?

MP: Telenovelas are a type of soap opera or series produced in Latin America. Korean dramas or K-dramas are also television series produced in South Korea. However, both telenovelas and K-dramas vary significantly from American soap operas in different ways, including their style of telling a story and their length.


AC: What inspired this project to come to life?

MP: As a Salvadorean, I grew up watching telenovelas. It was part of my evening routine to sit down with my mom and sisters and watch Venezuelan and Mexican telenovelas. However, when I started working as a teacher in Paramus High School, I got introduced to K-dramas by one of my teacher friends. I started watching them 20+ years ago and I’ve been a fan since then. 


AC: What is an overview of the scope and sequence of this project?
MP: First our project defines and discusses culture. Then we share knowledge of Latin American and Korean culture. After each telenovela and K-drama, students discuss how cultural norms, tastes and expectations are reflected in the shows. Some of the topics include class, gender roles, customs, and generational conflicts. Students also put together skits after watching telenovelas and K-dramas. As a final project, students put together their own telenovela or K-drama. 


Further, a 9th grader in ACAHA who signed up for this project was interviewed. When asked why they chose this project they said, “I chose this project mostly for the reason that it sounded really fun. My friends doing it was also a bonus, but I don’t watch many K-dramas or telenovelas on my own, so this project would expose me and maybe interest me in it a lot more.” Further, when asked why they chose this project for the next trimester they stated, “I want to learn more about the different cultural norms between the two [countries], along with any class, gender, or generational conflicts that could be present in them, intentional or not.”

The Telenovelas and Korean Dramas project offers an opportunity to investigate the rich histories and cultures of Latin America and South Korea. Through using a platform that many, such as Mrs. Ponce, love and enjoy, dynamics that cannot be seen on a surface level are dug up. It seems that this project will offer a learning experience full of depth, while using interactive and entertaining methods such as watching shows, having class discussions, and creating skits. Trimester 2 at BCA seems like it will start on the right track with engaging projects such as this!