For my first post, I would like to comment on this article about education in Korea. I was attracted to teaching in Korea primarily because of the high global rankings in education. I agree that there are many things to be admired about SK education. Some of the students really amaze me. I think that the government has done a pretty good job at bridging the gap in quality of education between instruction in rural vs metropolitin schools. Much of the large gap is due to after-school privateinstruction, not due to the quality of teachers, resources, technology, or support.
With that said, after more than three years in Korea, I would say that the largest difference between South Korea and my part of the USA is two fold: 1) The average SK student performs much better on tests and has many more facts memorized than the average student from my school. My tiny rural school has produced many students who have performed remarkably well (engineers, bank vice president, medical doctor, medical specialists, business leaders, top-sales stars, many successful farmers) out of the 100 students one year older, and younger than me.
2) The average student from my school still loves to learn both formally and informally. It was a culture shock for me when so many South Koreans were surprised at how much I enjoyed reading for fun and watching documentaries.
I would love to create a hybrid of my school and the Korean educucation system. I have significant respect for both. Young Koreans have great pride in the concept of 'hallyu'. Hallyu is the increased awareness and appreciation South Korean dramas and pop music by other countries. I agree with this article that some of the best practices in the education system have the promise of being the most influencial and positive aspect of the potential spread of Korean culture through Southeast Asia and beyond.
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