What could the US learn from South Korea’s school success?

discussion board

my topic was about south korea schooling and I post this question:

The results of PISA 2012 show that South Korea was in the 5th place in Math and Reading, and 7th place in Science scores, where the US was in the 36th place in Math, 28th place in Science, and 24th place in Reading scores. PISA 2012.jpg 

What could the US learn from South Korea’s school success?

student 1:

I think there’s a lot the the US can learn from all of the country’s successes (and issues as well). In looking at international standards, it is clear that South Korea is a standout country. It seems that educational excellence has been integrated as an essential priority for the country. This is seen not only in the amount of money spent nationally on education, but the importance of education that is felt by each student. I think one could argue that there may be too much of a focus on schooling, and that a student should not have 13 hours of school, but more of an emphasis on the importance of education is something that the US could use. This is not something that is easily done, but parental support and involvement seems key. Additionally, it seems that South Korea uses incentives rather than punitive measures for schools, where funding is not taken away from schools that are low-performing (http://www.ncee.org/programs-affiliates/center-on-international-education-benchmarking/top-performing-countries/south-korea-overview/south-korea-system-and-school-organization/). Giving bonuses to highly-performing schools and highly-performing teachers, while not punishing schools that are not as successful, seems like an efficient method of school regulation.

student 2:

I agree very much with studen position, so I am sure that my post will mirror much of what she said previously. The U.S. really lacks a sense of pride within the schooling system. All forms of education often come across as a burden to many families and students for a host of reasons. South Korea has created a cultural standard that education is important and is something to be respected. This is a great lesson to learn. South Korea also has a fantastic system of organization in their schools. The school ladder system described in the text is a really fantastic layout of how children should be taught. It groups age ranges together in a more developmentally appropriate format and affords the same opportunity to all students. It truly blows our outdated system out the of water. Finally the U.S. could create a more organized system of higher education for teachers and I particularly like the breakdown of South Korea’s policies in this area. Not only offering, but encouraging higher education in any form is a key factor in success for schools. Teachers must be up to date on best practices and the only way to maintain that is an atmosphere that expects continuos training.

student 3:

I agree with tow of you, the value of education in the US is much lower than in other countries. From what I have observed as an outsider to the US education system, the idea that you can succeed even if you are not book smart is becoming more and more common place. The role models for many of the kids these days bluntly say they never graduated high school or college and yet became successes. Therefore, the kids see no value in going to school. What these role models forget to mention is that even though they never graduated school, they still learned the many skills needed to succeed in life in school! In many of the Asian countries you have to have a list of certifications and an extensive educational background to even be considered for a job. This leads to students knowing they have to succeed in school to succeed in life. However, the downside of this is that many students become “qualification driven” and spend hours gaining the great GPA, but have no extra-curricular skills the US includes in their education system. Finding the right balance of building academic knowledge and the extra-curricular skills will be greatly beneficial. I guess in a way taking into consideration England’s idea of developing a “whole student” should be an end goal.

student 4:

Judging from the PISA scores, there is much that could be learned. We have seen attempts at a standards-based approach struggle to produce the desired results while decreasing resources to those who need it most in the US. Yet, some level of standards are important to ensure quality, equity and access. The South Korean students putting in 13 hour days do so with the knowledge and seeming support of their parents. If the same system we learned about in Emtinan and Amena’s video were attempted in the US, I think parents (the one’s that are involved) would stage a revolt both because of the hours, cost and impact on their household choices. Yet, South Korean students put in that much time and score in the top 5 and top 10 in PISA assessments (I’m not suggesting a correlation, and if it is correlated, could it be done without stressing kids at those young ages). I think Mihiri identified what is arguably the most important concept in weaving together a quality educational system……balance.  It’s hard to be prescriptive in trying to improve the US (or any other) education system, because some of the most important factors are organic and are relatively uncontrollable. Familial support, for example, is difficult to engage when they may be struggling to provide a warm meal; but it’s vitally important. Mexico implemented a program for a select population of families that provided obstetric, neonatal, and follow-up healthcare, health education and a family stipend to offset their children being removed from the workforce to attend school. Significant increases in attendance resulted for participants in the program. I am led back to the question of what the society values in and about education. Each demographic or socio-economic group may have a different answer, based on what they are facing, but they all need to be engaged in supporting their learners.

student 5

I think there should be a number of factors affecting the achievement ranks of both countries. One difference between South Korea and the US about curriculum. In the US, each state is given an equal right to modify the core curriculum to the demands and needs. As far as I read, although there might be some drawbacks of the existing curriculum,  the K-12 system in Korea holds almost the same curriculum for both public and private institutions, thus, all Korean children get the same quality education and opportunities that the government and private sectors offer. In fact, I personally think that what the US has been doing about the curriculum is a valuable approach but this difference might be one of the factors that make the Korean system successful. I also think that because Korean system requires heavy dependence on the private tutoring, the Korean students are more successful in the exams. I do not think that this is an excellent practice to learn from the Korean system but a careful implementation of successful practices might be helpful to the other countries.

I am also wondering if teacher training and education approaches in both countries make any differences affecting the student success.



those 5 students’ comment I want you to make comment on them and discuss like agree or not agree or ask them more question (noe)


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