Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Korean's alma mater (that he dropped out after a year,) described with horror in New York Times. Make no mistake, the Korean educational system is deeply flawed. But once Koreans figure out the right way to invest all those hours from their students, they will leave Americans in the dust.


  1. A more in depth post about your experiences at the school would be great. I've always found that people I know who were educated in Korea know a lot of things but are not that smart.

    What I mean by that is that they've memorized lots of things and are good at school but as well rounded, interesting people they fall flat on their faces. They're like robots built to go to Harvard and nothing else. As an American-born Korean, I can't speak to what the Korean education system is like but I do have experience interacting with its products and I'm not that impressed. What's your take on this and what made you drop out?

  2. That was a great article...but I have to agree. If they just learned the right way, they would excel far and beyond most of us. I think it's the culture of studying that Asia has...because my mom keeps telling me she shouldn't have raised me in the US ~ then maybe I'd study harder.

    When I was in Korea studying abroad...I was the only international student in this one class, the class was taught in English. I probably got the worse grades >.> Most of my classmates had trouble piecing together a sentence in English but when it came to exams, they memorized the textbook...word for word and aced all the exams. And that was EXACTLY what the professor expected, if a word was missing or you didn't use the right word (despite the fact that they mean the same thing)...points off. While me, well that's not how US schools work (also not how I study) so I failed miserably.

    It amazed me to see people that could recite half the textbook back to you but not grasp even one of the concepts.

  3. wow, i just read that ny times article before coming over to ur site!! u must be pretty smart then:)

  4. "I've always found that people I know who were educated in Korea know a lot of things but are not that smart."

    Couldn't agree w/you more. The Korean education systems produce textbooks with legs and "exam terminators" but don't produce thinkers or creators, which are the real people that define the effectiveness of an educational system.

    Interestingly, that article was on the front cover of Sunday's NYT.

  5. Hmm...I would say that once "they" (Korean society which influences politicians and, indirectly, the educational establishment) understand the concept of "diminishing marginal returns" and the value of individually-directed development, the length of the school day will probably be cut. Curriculum reform would only mean that fewer hours of the day would be filled; I can guarantee that there is no way the vast majority of kids can be productive for 15 hours/day. My friends have told stories of sleeping for hours a day during "real" class in order to summon sufficient concentration during hagwon later in the day.

    In conclusion, drawing largely from personal experience (I was accepted to some of the same "top" and Ivy schools that many Koreans lust after, not that this makes me an expert) only when students find ways to productively invest in THEMSELVES that the groundwork for a high-octane knowledge-economy will emerge.


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