"In South Korea teachers are known as "nation builders." Here in America, it's time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math." -
US President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address today
I am unfamiliar with the Korean root of this phrase "nation builders". Any insights?
I am the owner and author of the alienteachers blog mentioned here. Simon I take issue with a number of things you’ve said throughout this thread.
Firstly, your decision to label teachers who “have no long term to either education or the country” as 'leechers'. I wonder what gives you the right to label the majority of native English teachers’ in Korea as ‘leechers’? Perhaps you think that because you are studying for your doctorate in education you have this right? This is extremely offensive to a lot of hard working teachers. Sure, a lot of teachers come here to teach with no qualifications and no experience, but the majority do the job as well as they possibly can in what can be extremely difficult circumstances. At the end of the day they have been invited to Korea to teach with their employer knowing that they do not have any qualifications or experiences. In my eyes this makes them brave and out-going, not leeches. Of course there are some who are bad teachers, but this is the case everywhere in the world. You do not have to have a long term commitment to either Korea or education to try your best and do the best job you can. We all have to start somewhere. I find it interesting you chose to call out another poster here for supposedly being critical of Korean teachers, and claiming they should be supported not criticized, but you don’t offer the same branch to your fellow teachers.
Now onto my blog, no one claimed it was representative of the whole of Korea, it is a blog, not a piece of research for a doctorate. It is however an accurate account of exactly what I was told by my students’ and an accurate account of how life is for many teenagers in the South Korean education system. Or can you show otherwise? Your dismissal of it for not being representative is offensive to some young people who are obviously going through a terrible moment in their lives and are struggling to cope.
Now I would like to take issue with your comment “nor a good reflection of the many excellent features of Korean education.” I am intrigued by what exactly these features are?
My personal view is that the Korean education system is failing the young people of this country immensely. Now I can only comment on the way English language is taught as this is the area where my expertise lies and that I have day to day contact with. The scope of English language teaching extends to only reading and grammar based skills. These skills may well be useful for when the students’ enter the university system, but past that they are failing the students’. This is supported by research that showed over 70% of business claim the the education system is failing to equip young people with the skills needed for modern business (I really wish I could find the link for this, I just spent about an hour going through my browser history but to no avail). Coupled with the fact that more than half of Koreans’ are (unsurprisingly) unhappy at school (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/12/07/20111207005...), that many are in situations such as those described in my blog due to the failings of the Korean public school education system, resulting in 1 in 4 deaths amongst young people being due to suicide (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/08/13/20110813003...). So I ask, out of genuine interest, what are these excellent features of the Korean education system?
To answer your last question, I'd like to refer you to the public comments and sources I've posted earlier in this thread and below. If you wish to continue this discussion, I'd be happy to do so; however I don't want to get into a public argument over it, so please message me privately.
Alex - Thanks for the comments. I agree with a lot of what you say.
However, with two children in Korean elementary school, I find myself defending the Korean school system quite regularly as I think it gets a lot of unfair criticism from expats in the country. Here are a couple comments I've left elsewhere that describe the positive side from a first-hand perspective:
http://www.koreabusinesscentral.com/xn/detail/3463326:Comment:54246 (includes video of my daughter's field day!)
http://www.koreabusinesscentral.com/xn/detail/3463326:Comment:16309 (with link to my son'd vice chairman position certificate!)
The issue of a Korean culture where companies force parents into mandatory, routine overtime hours and parents in turn, force children into Hagwons until the middle night is no joke, and leads to enormous social problems.
There is a reason why the Korean laws were put in place to prevent these situations. The fallout of these cultural habits negatively impact the bottom line for businesses and government in Korea.
Thank you for sharing this link. I hope the blogger reports the hagwon which breaks the laws to the authorities.
The unfortunate reality is that those "laws" are simply cosmetic surgery without people holding places like that hackwon accountable ...i hope he reports them, too.
I also hope that the hagwon is reported.
I asked the minister for education, science and technology yesterday about education policies and he said that Korea is moving away from treating education as part of a human resources department, towards a "warm capitalism" that improves talents. Moreover, following the original posting, he was supportive of science education.
There is recognition of the problems - and hope for progress.
If anyone discovers a hagwon is beating children and/or deceiving inspectors in order to break curfew, please report this to the authorities. The government offers cash for reporting at about 400,000won per case. You can apparently report by letter, phone and web: http://www.mest.go.kr/main.do
The website is slow so try again later if it doesn't load the first time.
awesome to know Vince! Thanks for the info!
Thank you Vince!! I will forward this info to a couple of friends in Korea...
Yes, but at what cost!!!! Check this out:
This is shocking isn't it? Korean paradox like many others...
Mr. Bouladon, that was the initial article the recent discussion is refering to and circling around. ;)