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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Golf, Gardening, and Entertainment -- Just Another Day in School!

Well, I've been back in the UK since late last Wednesday, the 5th. All in all it was a very satisfying trip, with lots to take in and think about. I would have liked to have stayed a few weeks longer, so probably I left South Korea at the right time!

The last few days were particularly memorable and enjoyable. Chris and Heejung, left the children behind and we enjoyed the few days without having to give the attention that they, quite fairly, demand! We did, however, go to see the younger boys' school and that turned out to be a very enjoyable and surprising occasion.

We walked around the grounds and Chris pointed out to me the golf driving range in the corner of the playground. In the far distance we could see a large area for the children to plant vegetable and flower gardens.


Driving range target. Golf balls are caught in the net!

The school's garden has both vegetables and flowers...


As we went to venture toward the rear of the school we met the principal, a very welcoming woman. The state run school is a very special place with no more than 10 to 12 students in a class. The principal asked if we would like to visit the boys' classes and, of course, we said 'yes'!

In a few days time, the children were to have an open  house and they had been rehearsing a program to present to parents and visitors. Because I would not be able to attend the children in Louis' class gave us a preview! Louis is the child in front on the far right.

 

Unfortunately, South Korea has many problems after the children attend primary school. It leads the world in the adolescent suicide rate -- many if not most children attend school from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. and then attend another school for private lessons, not getting home until 10.00 or 11.00 p.m. My son teaches in one of those schools which specializes in English. 

Teachers in Korea do not stay with any school more than two years. After that time they will be assigned to another school -- by the education department. While I can see the disadvantage to the individual teachers and also the headmasters/mistresses or principals -- it does seem a way of ensuring that the quality of education throughout the country is equalized. Somehow, it seems entirely unlikely that this is a policy that would or could be adopted in the West!

17 comments:

  1. Interesting. Also I see now why Korean women dominate the WPGA.

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    1. And very proud the Korean media is of them, too!

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  2. I hope that Sam will adjust well to being back home. The school system sounds a bit weird, but I can see the point, somewhat. Sad about the suicide among young people. Are there too many demands placed on them, I wonder.

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    1. It will be quite an adjustment for Sam. His parents have decided that he will be home schooled -- and this is very wise as he has forgotten so much of what Korean he had learned. Life for the older children is very stressful and competitive. There is very little time for anything other than school. The only time I saw any children was on weekends and when they were on school trips while I was sight-seeing.

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  3. Do you think the suicide rate is so high because they don't get a chance to be kids? I never knew this. :-(

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    1. They certainly don't have much time for anything other than study...

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  4. It seems that Asian cultures place a much higher emphasis on education than we do here in the West. But that suicide rate is horrible.

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    1. It is true that Asian cultures place a much higher emphasis on education than in the West. However, it is interesting that there is much more innovation among students in the West...

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  5. Your trip sounds wonderful - lots of memories. The children in the video look as though they're really enjoying their workout. Private lessons after school going on until 11pm sounds very harsh to say the least - I totally agree with what 'DJan' is saying.

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    1. The young children are absolutely adorable! But when they start secondary school the pressure certainly rises. It does, indeed, seem very harsh -- to me!

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  6. So sweet and committed to their "entertainment." Would there were a happy balance between grinding academics and life.

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    1. "Balance" seems to be an elusive goal whether in the East or West!

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  7. The children are obviously enjoying theirs education at this stage, but I shudder to thin k of the hothousing that awaits them later. Interestingly French public education is very centralised like this and teachers are appointed to schools, rather than by them, though they do get the chance to express some preference, I gather.

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    1. The comparison to French schools is interesting. I know, for example, that many French children are in school for a very long school day -- not leaving until 6.00 pm in order to enable both parents to be able to work...

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  8. Fascinating... Am I right in thinking that your grandson has stayed back with his parents now ? If so, I wonder how he will adapt to being back in this system. I hope he fits straight back in, whilst having such good memories of his time with you.

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    1. As I mentioned above, he is being home schooled. We decided that after two years it was important for him to get back to his parents and his brothers.

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