Background to education in South Korea

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					Teacher’s International Professional Development Report Worcestershire Schools Study Visit to Seoul, South Korea

Summary Profile
Local Education Authority: Full Name of LEA Visit Leader: E-mail Address: Reference and Title of Study Visit: Provider: Country: Region Visited: Types of Schools visited: Languages used: Key Educational Purpose of the Visit: Worcestershire LEA Steve Wilkes SV377 Productive use of ICT The British Council Republic of South Korea Seoul City Kindergarten, Elementary and High Schools English First hand observation of the productive use of ICT, to discover how ICT is used and incorporated into teaching and learning to raise standards. Personnel Linda Jones, Vicky Dunn, Diedre Perks, Louise Tench Roger Stallard, Richard Panting, Karin Townley, Bill Kemball

Participating Schools Wribbenhall First School

Bewdley High School

Introduction: Intended aims of the visit: 1. 2. 3. Gain an insight into the culture and education system of Korea. To investigate the impact of the use of ICT in teaching and learning. Identify and share best practice in innovative use of ICT.


To observe a range of subject lessons in which ICT is being used either by the teacher and or the pupils. To explore potential ICT links and possible exchange programmes through contacts made with Korean schools through the British Council.


Expected Outcomes of the visit:  To receive significant personal experience and professional development by looking at the structure and functionality of the Korean Education System Consider and reflect upon a variety of teaching and learning strategies in a range of curriculum areas and for 4 to 18 year olds whenever possible. To be able to compare and contrast the productive use of ICT in discrete ICT lessons and in cross curricular use of ICT by teachers and pupils To reflect and share any new or innovative use of ICT teaching and learning strategies or facilities/equipment To share outcomes of this visit, to inform your own teaching and learning strategies and of those of others to enable best practice to be shared





How were these identified and recorded. The aims and learning outcomes were identified, mutually agreed and recorded prior to the visit at group meetings. These have been modified slightly to reflect the experiences of the visit Report of experience: Education in South Korea One of the Korean stated educational goals is the fostering of self-reliant, creative, moral human beings who are information technology competent. Korean education aspires to the ideal of “hongik-ingan” that is, contributing to the overall benefit of human kind. Education puts emphasis on helping students to acquire basic abilities, skills and habits essential for learning and daily life.


To provide a variety of experiences for the balanced development of the mind and body. To help students develop the basic abilities to recognise and solve problems in daily life and to provide them with rich experiences for expressing their own feelings, ideas and an understanding of the diverse world of work. To develop attitudes for the understanding and appreciation of tradition and culture To cultivate the understanding and basic values and principles of a free and democratic way of life




Historically all education has been controlled centrally but recently local education authorities are becoming more autonomous. The education system is organised in a similar way to our own but with children starting compulsory school at 6 years old. The children spend 6 years in elementary school, 3 years in middle school, 3 years in high school and 4 years at university. Education is compulsory to the end of middle school (target set for end of 2003) with nearly all continuing on to high school. Opportunities for kindergarten places are expanding rapidly and more able 5 year olds begin elementary school when places are available. High school places are universally available but are fee paying as are universities which remain competitive and vie for student places based on national entrance examinations taken by some students at end of Middle School dependent on ability. Equality has always been most important in the education system, but now there is more freedom and choice which can be shown by the recent developments that include committees of parents, leading teachers and local community representatives (very similar to our Governing bodies), specialist schools, with a selective entry system, being created, very like our own “Special School/College Status” and students having more choice in their selection of school. It was interesting that the Ministries of Education and Labour have recently been combined to become the Ministry of Education and Human Resources. As Korea has few natural resources, their human resources are held in high esteem. The Government has recognised that in order to utilise this resource more fully, a great deal of financial investment needed to be placed in the education system. This can be shown by the government commitment to decrease student numbers per class to 35, by 2003. There is a plan to increase the quality of teachers by raising salaries and providing paid education and training abroad.

Schools are funded on a per head basis irrespective of geographical location. The national education budget is 5% of the country‟s Gross Domestic Product.

ICT Infrastructure: Many parallels can be drawn between Korea and the UK in the productive use of ICT. These can be seen in the development of ICT facilities, projection equipment, network expansion, internet connectivity and the development of on-line teaching and learning resources.

The nationwide expansion of the Korean education programme 1997-2001 has involved extensive installation of ICT infrastructure. Every school has 1 or 2 computer rooms with 40 PCs in each. Each classroom has 1 or 2 PCs, broadband internet access and large screen presentation facilities. Each member of staff has a PC or laptop. Additionally, at Middle and High Schools, each member of staff has a separate area of the staffroom with an individual workstation within a designated space.

In 2001 – 2005 the focus moves to applications and raising skills and standards. In order to achieve this, 1.4 software processing assistants per school (to support teaching and learning and minor trouble shooting) have been employed. Each school is encouraged to take a year long contract with warranty from their hardware supplier for more major advice and trouble shooting. 33% of all teachers receive ICT training each year in new technologies and ICT practices, provided and paid for centrally and delivered either on site in school, or at a central location as appropriate. At present 10% of the curriculum is delivered through ICT and there is a target of 20% by 2005. They consider that anything above that 20% would be better delivered by other means.

The UK delivers on-line resources to its schools through NGFL. Korea has a national Edu-net which is a similar portal providing a vast range of resources which can be accessed by teachers, pupils and other members of the community. The majority of the resources are funded, developed and paid for by National Government. Parents will have access to their children‟s school records, reports and certificates through an individual login system. In addition to this libraries also offer an on-line national database of all books and resources available in schools and libraries. ICT is taught as a discrete subject at elementary school to develop effective keyboard, internet and software manipulation skills. This is aided by computer classrooms being equipped with PCs for each child, with projection facilities and central control stations for the teacher with the ability to present images from his/her own PC and take control of individual student PCs as required. Staff have access to a standard set of classroom ICT facilities, a PC linked to a large screen with TV, video and internet capabilities. In some schools the PC screens are interactive allowing both teacher and pupils to annotate ready prepared material. Many have visualiser / flexi cam arms enabling students and teachers to show their work to the whole class. The level of competence and use of this

equipment varies according to the expertise and knowledge of each staff member, which reflects the current practice in the UK. Many teaching materials are prepared centrally by the government and made available to schools. These include linked textbooks and CD Rom programmes. In all schools there is an expectation that every pupil will have access to a modern PC with internet access within the home. It was reported that if disadvantaged homes are found to be without them for students in Grades 5 and above, government funding is available. In the „Beacon‟ or „Model‟ Schools we visited which were selected by the Government for their expertise in ICT, the behaviour of its pupils, the use of „new wave‟ interactive teaching methods or academic excellence, we experienced many of the aspects of Korea‟s vision for education.

In the „Model‟ schools that we observed the school websites are designed to contain information about school dates, events and children‟s work, and the school prospectus. Some schools have gone further and use bulletin boards for homework and current curriculum projects. Homework is posted by the class teacher for students to download, complete and up-load. Teachers have access to all students‟ work, which is graded and stored electronically. Details of the next projects to be covered are detailed, allowing and encouraging students to plan their own rate of study outside the core teaching and learning in the classroom. Brief daily details of work covered in class are also posted, allowing parents to continue supporting their child‟s learning. Parents are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to the teacher. Some classes are videotaped weekly and parents are advised on which day of the week their child‟s class will be on the website. Parental support is an integral part of the continuing success of the school. The parent helpers are constantly in attendance at school making resources, manning the library and supporting the teaching and learning in the classroom. Traditionally in Korean schools and particularly in high schools, teaching styles were very didactic with limited interactivity on the part of the students. The productive use of ICT is changing this, as many classrooms contain a ceiling mounted digital projector and or a camera style OHP linked to a large screen TV. These tools are being used effectively in lessons. PowerPoint presentations produced by classroom teachers are used to provide information on practical procedures and subject content. Teachers had clearly invested significant time and effort to produce these effective resources. Rooms are also equipped with teacher headphones and speakers to amplify the teacher‟s voice and any sound produced from either the computer or Video. Interactive language software packages were demonstrated in lessons enabling students to hear dialogue in the target language both with and without text. As Korea moves towards a “new” teaching style that incorporates more interactive and practical activities with objectives posted on board teachers report increased motivation and raised standards as children have more fun with their learning. Korea hopes that the new wave curriculum will enable the students to lead trends in social change.

In order to do this, Korea aims to diversify the content and differentiate the curriculum and teaching strategies to cater for the abilities, aptitude and career choice of the students. The following list of practical things that were observed in Korean schools gave rise to interesting discussions during the course of the visit and will undoubtedly provide points for reflection on our current practice and provision in our schools in the UK.   ICT large screen presentation resources available for staff and pupil use in every classroom. Nationally produced online educational resources available through a 2megabyte broadband connection complementing Multimedia ICT facilities that included TV, video available as a teaching and learning tool for every teacher in every classroom. Use of flexicam / visualiser to enable interactive teaching. ICT suites of various styles in every school with pupil screen control and digital projection facilities. The specific teaching of touch typing skills to 6 to 8 year olds. All teachers have an individual staffroom workspace with ICT facilities. The high esteem in which teachers are held. Differences in career structure and contract arrangements for teaching staff. Timing of lessons with breaks to enable all lessons to start on time. Standardisation and organisation and location of resources in each year group. Extensive support by parents in schools particularly in elementary schools especially preparing resources. Education seen as vitally important to the success of the individual, the family and the nation by pupils, parents and the government. 33% of all staff given ICT training each year to support their continuing professional development in the use of ICT. The greater enjoyment and motivation of pupils and increased workload on teachers with the move to more interactive teaching and learning. Use of mirror wall to enable teacher to see pupil screens. Schools of the future to have a multimedia ICT rich library at the heart of the building. Potential use of Interactive Whiteboards. Use of Wireless laptops for cross curricular use and delivery of ICT

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Conclusions Korea has had the vision to build hardware and telecommunications infrastructure into all classrooms in all schools and to provide a three year rolling programme of ICT training for all teaching staff. Combining these measures with the extension of broadband internet access to all new homes wherever possible, they hope to sustain the

productive use of ICT in all aspects of community life led by the population currently in full time education. The embedding of ICT into the heart of the curriculum, and subsequently the creative use of ICT for learning by pupils, is rather less developed than that seen and practised in the UK. However, Korea‟s move to a more interactive teaching and learning style and their thirst for education will undoubtedly see this area rapidly changing. How the findings can be applied in the UK context:       Whole school staff meetings to reflect on visit findings and main discussion points. Introduce flexicam/visualiser to support interactive teaching and learning. The sharing of good „practice‟ through classroom observation. ICT presentation tools for every classroom. Review layout of new ICT suites, use of wireless laptops and interactive whiteboards. ICT training for staff as a natural part of professional development.

Dissemination of Findings:  Meetings with other groups who have been on TIPD study visits to different parts of the world  Displays in participating schools promoting TIPD and international links.  Personal recommendation to teacher colleagues to apply and take up the opportunity of TIPD.  Use of artefacts postcards, pictures and digital images in teaching and learning in school.  Report and digital images to be published on the school‟s websites  Report and digital images to be published on WGfL (local grid for learning)  Display and Electronic presentation to be shown in local teacher‟s Centre.  Presentation to any interested schools or groups of teachers. Proposals for future developments and continuing links:  Establish pupil email links/pen pal links with at least one school visited  Establish staff email links with at least one school visited to promote international school links and ongoing professional dialogue.  High schools to investigate sponsorship for exchange visits to high school visited.  The LEA to maintain and promote links with Korean schools with particular interest in the Classroom of the Future and other ICT innovative developments. General advice to other study visits to Korea: Korea – known as the „Land of the Morning Calm‟ is a fantastic study visit opportunity for the open minded.

Once known as the „Hermit Kingdom‟ after closing its borders to the outside world in the late 19th century, South Korea is now one of the fastest growing and changing societies in Asia and ranks among the worlds top twenty economic powers. Korean has a vibrant history that has been influenced in the last two thousand years by successive invasions by Mongols and Chinese and more recently by the invasion and occupation by Japan in the early 20th Century. Probably the most formative Chinese influence to be absorbed was Buddhism, which became the state religion in about the 3rd century and endures today. It is worth spending a few minutes reading the history section of the Lonely Planet guide to familiarise yourself with the more recent history which highlights the devastating nature of invasion and occupation. This gives the reader the sense of a warm, kind and hospitable people within a nation that is still divided in their eyes by the De-militarised Zone, the result of Korea being a pawn in the international politics of the world superpowers. Be prepared for a very full programme. Step up your training programme and get fit before you go. Bright and early starts on some days meant breakfast before 7am. Travel on the extensive underground system in Seoul is easy as the station signs are underwritten in English. Koreans dress formally at work; you will feel more comfortable if you do the same. Suits, jackets and ties for gents and lots of smart outfits for the ladies. Shopping is a major pastime in Korea. Designer „everything‟ is available. The street markets are amazing and a great place to buy traditional fabrics and crafts. The Kyobo bookshop has a fabulous selection of books in English (and the same stories in Korean) for children learning to read. If you have trouble getting clothes or shoes in small sizes at home then you will be in paradise here. Otherwise prices are about the same as in any large European City. Electrical goods are not cheap as sometimes thought. If you are carrying a laptop or other electrical devices they work with no problem but you do need the usual three to two pin travel adaptor. Eating out should be compulsory as there is such a variety of cafes and restaurants offering everything from fresh octopus to fast food. The traditional Korean dishes of Kim Chi and Bulgogi are a must. Breakfast is not normally included but is usually available at the hotel for about £5.00 (cooked with juice, coffee and toast). Neighbourhood cafes offer a variety of options at similar prices and often open earlier.

Lunch is the main meal of the day often provided in school. Dinner can be purchased quite cheaply if you are prepared to look around, take advice from the local guides. They are only too happy to help and get you to places you would never find alone. Some corporate gifts are desirable if the group is meeting local dignitaries. Gifts for the host schools are really appreciated, as are photographs of your school. It is worth taking enough copies for each teacher to use independently and to leave an album behind in each school. Our group took school ties, caps, badges, mouse mats as well as several photograph albums, which went down very well. We found the self standing presentations of digital images we took on CD of the UK schools, really useful to illustrate brief introductions of the UK schools to groups of students and teachers.

Thanks: We would like to extend our thanks to the British Council both in Korea and in the UK for the faultless organisation of our visit. Special thanks must go to the interpreters and guides Joo-yeop(Janet), Hye-won, Sung-Nam and the tireless efforts of Sun-Ah You our local British Council representative in Korea. They not only provided a very professional service by translating official Ministry briefings but added personal warmth and humour that made our visit very special.

Summary reports: observations from individual school visits. Hwykyung Elementary School (248 computers for 1681 students) was specially selected by the Government for its expertise in ICT, the behaviour of its pupils and the use of „new wave‟ interactive teaching methods. Additional resources such as set of 24 wireless laptops which are used regularly to support other areas of the curriculum (observed during history lesson where they were used to search for information on the internet to answer set questions. The laptops were shared 1 between 2 children.

Advanced Website development and use has seen bulletin boards for homework and online notice of curriculum projects. The homework is posted by the class teacher for students to download, complete and up-load. Teachers have access to all students‟ work, which is graded and stored electronically. Details of the next projects to be covered are detailed, allowing and encouraging students to plan their own rate of study outside the core teaching and learning in the classroom. Brief daily details of work covered in class are also posted, allowing parents to continue supporting their child‟s learning. Parents are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to the teacher. Some classes are videotaped weekly and parents are advised on which day of the week their child‟s class will be on the website. Classroom organisation is clearly a strength and an essential element in this school. There are approximately 43 children in each class and resources were always ready prepared, in group boxes or baskets, which encouraged a structured and seamless learning environment. The teachers visiting this school were particularly impressed with the quality of the learning environment. A great deal of space was available for learning in a variety of styles, including a “free” area outside each Grade/year group unit which was organised into learning zones, e.g. in grade 1, several role play areas of different types and grade 6, an English Zone and a world Geography area. These areas were all well resourced and each also contained a cluster of 6 computers. Interestingly, the children were observed working/playing in this area without supervision. All wall displays were of an exceptional standard and were well maintained due to the exemplary behaviour of the children when moving around the school. Both teachers and pupils were encouraged to walk with their hands behind their backs in communal areas.

Banpo High School Banpo High School is a mixed sex (or co-ed) school for 15 -18 students studying a wide ranging academic curriculum. There are 1300 students who come from mainly wealthy housing blocks of flats in close proximity to the school. Students pay a modest school fee, and wear a uniform that varies according to their year group. Class sizes exceed 35 pupils and groups are enthusiastic and conscientious. Classes are mixed sex in the first year and single thereafter.

All teaching rooms are equipped with a teacher‟s PC connected directly to a very large TV screen clearly visible to all students. Many classrooms also contained a ceiling fixed computer projector and a camera style OHP linked to a large screen. These tools were used effectively both for parts of the lesson and the whole lesson. PowerPoint presentations produced by classroom teachers were used to provide information on practical procedures and subject content. Teachers had clearly invested significant time and effort to produce these effective resources. Rooms are also equipped with teacher headphones and speakers to amplify the teacher‟s voice and any sound produced from either the computer or Video. Interactive language software packages were demonstrated throughout a lesson enabling students to hear dialogue in the target language both with and without text. These packages provided the opportunity to ask comprehension questions that linked directly to the students own textbook. The ICT equipment enabled the demonstration of various procedures of software manipulation in ICT lessons. The use of videos in a variety of situations essentially enhanced the overall quality of the lessons observed. Each department at Banpo has a teacher responsible for producing / acquiring ICT materials/ presentations which are disseminated to the rest of the staff. Science High School, Seoul This was the second school visited by the Secondary group. It was a great contrast to the first placement as it is a selective school for the top 2% of achievers at the end of Middle School. The school was founded in 1989. It demonstrates the commitment of the Korean Government to the development of Science and Information Technology. The aim of the school is develop future leaders in Science who will enhance the Community and win a „Nobel Prize‟ for Korea. There is great competition for places at the school. These number only 138 in each grade of the three grades. However a significant number of the third year students are fast tracked into university. The class sizes average 23 and Science dominates the curriculum. Students are encouraged to participate in several extra-curricular activities and they study late into the night in library booths provided and named for every individual. Each semester students choose a topic on which they prepare and deliver a presentation. The ones observed recounted the relative merits and differences between DVD and CD, another detailed the emergence of OLED a new form of LCD display technology. The detail in the slides and use of the ICT facilities was

considerable and showed not only an in depth knowledge of the subject but also considerable consideration of the target audience. These presentations were delivered in English, which made them all the more impressive.

Daegil Elementary School Daegil Elementary School has approximately 2500 pupils. It is a government model school for its teaching of English. The teachers generally had a higher standard of spoken English than we encountered in other schools. We were constantly greeted by the pupils who were all keen to practise their language skills with us. Corridor wall displays were all in English, and signs in English were regularly changed. In addition to 1 hour per week English class (grades 3 & 4) and 2 hours per week (grades 5 & 6), the children were also given the opportunity to visit the English room, which contained additional resources including books and posters to encourage progress. The Vice Principal works regularly with small groups of children to present a song and dance production in English to parents. ICT is used as an integral part of lessons, particularly for the teaching of English from the Government published scheme. This scheme encourages the use of American English, which is more highly regarded in Korean society than British English.

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