The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Teaching K-Culture: The Traditional in the Modern in K-Pop Music Videos

Yunsuk Chae, Middle Georgia State University (United States)


K-pop has enjoyed worldwide popularity in the last decade and, in the more recent years, has received prestigious awards and recognitions in the United States. At the same time, the interest in diverse areas of Korean culture and in learning the Korean Language has been growing fast. According to a report by the Modern Language Association of America, from 2009 to 2016, the enrollment rate in Korean classes in US institutions of higher education increased at a faster rate than any other languages. As I taught a fully online class titled Humanities 4471, Comparative Cultures, I incorporated Korean culture represented through the popular media. No textbook was used for this class, but instead, the Internet and streaming services such as YouTube and Netflix were utilized as pedagogical resources. In this paper, I will focus on teaching the traditional in the modern, as depicted in some of the K-Pop music videos and other videos related to K-Pop. Among others, “2018 Melon Music Award” and “Idol” by BTS were selected based on their integration of traditional Korean aesthetics, especially hanbok, music, and dances such as Buchaechum (a fan dance) and Sangmochum (a farmer’s dance) which requires difficult acrobatic skills. Before viewing each video, students were provided an introduction and detailed guidelines to help them identify and understand the traditional Korean art forms blended in it. For assessment, students were given a multiple-choice test. It was interesting to see that the average class grade was higher on this task than on the others. In addition, several students were inspired to write a research paper on K-Pop and incorporated some of the music videos in their work. Being products of a modern popular genre and offering abundant imagery, the music videos played an indispensable role and made teaching and learning about the Korean traditional aesthetics a vivid and rewarding experience.

Keywords: the traditional in the modern in K-pop music videos, teaching K-culture, K-pop, BTS.


  • BTS & Big Hit Labels. “BTS (방탄소년단) 'IDOL' Official MV.” YouTube, uploaded by Big Hit Labels. 24 Aug. 2018, BTS (방탄소년단) 'IDOL' Official MV - YouTube.
  • BTS & Melon Music Awards. “[FULL HD] BTS MMA 2018 - FULL PERFORMANCE (MELON MUSIC AWARDS).” YouTube, uploaded by beloved galaxy. 23 Dec. 2018, [FULL HD] BTS MMA 2018 - FULL PERFORMANCE (MELON MUSIC AWARDS) - YouTube.
  • Josh and Ollie. “BRITISH PRIEST Reacts to "IDOL" by BTS.” YouTube, uploaded by Jolly. 3 Sept. 2018, .
  • Looney, Dennis and Natalia Lusin. “Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Summer 2016 and Fall 2016: Preliminary Report.” The Modern Language Association, 2018,

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