Korean entertainers take on teaching roles

March 20, 2014

 

Actor Kim Soo-hyun lectures on the psychological effects of physical contact in this photo from the TV drama “My Love From the Star.” For their hands-on experiences and practical knowledge, many entertainers are given opportunities to teach aspiring artists at colleges.

Actor Kim Soo-hyun lectures on the psychological effects of physical contact in this photo from the TV drama “My Love From the Star.” For their hands-on experiences and practical knowledge, many entertainers are given opportunities to teach aspiring artists at colleges.

By Park Si-soo

As Korea puts more emphasis on practical skills, stars that grace small and big screens will be gracing lecture halls.

Coincidentally, heartthrob actor Kim Soo-hyun’s character in the drama “My Love From the Star” was a professor.

Perhaps finding a lecturer who is as good as Kim in looks is a mission impossible, while there are lots of actors, musicians and comedians — though less attractive physically — who win the hearts of students with impressive lectures based on their hands-on experiences and empirical knowledge.

Lee Yoon-suk

Lee Yoon-suk

Most of them are temporary lecturers who are invited to classrooms when they are in demand and yanked off when it’s gone.

But it seems that things are changing. In other words, a growing number of entertainers push themselves through a long and rigorous official academic curriculum to win proper degrees and join the league of professors.

Lee Yoon-suk is the country’s first comedian completing a doctor’s degree. Earning the degree in mass communication in 2007 from Chung-Ang University in Seoul, he now serves as dean of Seoul Arts Occupational Training College’s comedy/emcee department.

“Students love Lee’s class very much because his way of teaching is practical and experience-based,” a school official said.

Bae Jong-ok

Bae Jong-ok

In 2010, five of his students passed the first round of an extremely competitive comedian recruiting contest hosted by the country’s biggest broadcaster KBS.

“It was a great achievement considering that the department’s history is short,” the official said.

The department has a star-studded guest professor lineup, which includes veteran comedian Kim Guk-jin and Ji Suk-jin, among others.

Bae Jong-ok is the country’s first actress picking up a doctorate. Earning the degree in mass communication from Chung-Ang in 2009, she currently teaches undergraduates at the school’s department of film studies.

Newcomers

Seol Gyeong-gu

Seol Gyeong-gu

There are several entertainers who joined the league of college faculties this year. Among them actress Ko Hyun-jung, actor Seol Gyeong-gu, Lee Bum-soo and Cho Jae-hyun. None of them holds a doctor’s degree, but they made it with their fame and recognition in their primary career.

Early this year, Ko, whose most recent works include the drama “Queen Seondeok” and “Daemul,” was named adjunct professor of Dongguk University’s theater department. She runs a class every Tuesday for junior and senior students.

Seol, whose most representative work was the film “Peppermint Candy,” was appointed adjunct professor at Hangyang University’s college of performing arts. Lee and Cho also took titles at a similar department at Shinan University and Kyungsung University, respectively.

“The number of students attending Ko’s class is about 20 percent more than others,” a Dongguk official said. “Students’ satisfaction level is also higher because all things she speaks to students about are her hands-on experiences. In this regard, she is better than other professors.”

Ko Hyun-jung

Ko Hyun-jung

Seol is taking advantage of his filed experiences to teach some 20 students “real acting,” Hangyang officials said.

“He hosted a kind of audition to select students of his class,” an official said. “Seol said he will depart from a textbook-based education to teach students in a way they can learn what ‘real acting’ is.”

Seol plans to invite his students to shooting sites for “My Dictator,” a historical film in which he portrays North Korea founder Kim Il-sung. Some of the actors appearing in the film and crew will host a special lecture for Seol’s students, the official said.

Entertainers who won professorships in recent years include actor Hong Suk-chun at Jeong Hwa Arts University, singer Lee Jung at Seoul Arts Occupational Training College, guitarist and singer/songwriter Kim Tae-won at Seoul Hoseo Occupational Training College, actor Park Sang-myun and Lee Won-jong at Korea Broadcasting Arts Agency.

Most star-studded school: SAC

Seoul Arts College (SAC) is widely known for its star-studded faculty lineup. Dozens of entertainers, TV or film directors, choreographers, makeup artists, fashion models are taking the podium of this school.

The school’s department of acting arts and applied music arts stand out for having top actors or musicians as instructors. So much so that rapper Psy once taught aspiring musicians at the applied music arts department.

Its incumbent professors include vocalist Kim Yeon-woo, BMK, ALI, Hwa Yo Bi, guitarist Kim Se-hwang, choreographer Lee Jae-wook and Jung Jin-suk.

The performing arts department has popular actor Ryu Seung-ryong, actress Lee In-hye, Hyun Young, comedian Pyo In-bong, Park Sung-ho, Park Joon-hyung and drama director Jang Tae-yoo in the professors’ list.

SAC runs an English website with a detailed introduction about its organization, curriculum and admission policy as part of efforts to attract foreign students.

“I will make SAC a globally renowned art college,” SAC Chairman Kim Min-seong said in an English message posted on the website. “I will write a new chapter in the history of art colleges.”

Among its students and graduates are many young adult stars — Choi Seung-hyun, better known as T.O.P, of popular K-pop boy band BIG BANG, Jang Woo-young of 2PM, Lee Ki-kwang of Beast, Fei of K-pop girl band miss A, Lim Jin-ah, better known as NANA, of After School, Ka Eun of Dal Shabet, Hee Chul of ZE:A, Jaehyo of Block-B, actor Lee Joon-gi, Park Hae-jin and comedian Park Hyo-jong.

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