South Korean teachers learn about U.S. classrooms in Missoula

2011-02-08T22:45:00Z 2011-02-09T04:55:48Z South Korean teachers learn about U.S. classrooms in MissoulaBy JAMIE KELLY of the Missoulian missoulian.com
February 08, 2011 10:45 pm  • 

They came here for education, and became fixated on faucets.

One of the topics for discussion among the 30 South Korean teachers who have spent nearly a month in Missoula now is the seeming lack of any standard faucet type in the U.S., which they found can vary widely even in the same building.

"In Korea, we all have the same faucets," said Seongock Lee, one of the guests of the English Language Institute at the University of Montana.

Her observation has both nothing and everything to do with the differences between the U.S. and South Korean approaches to teaching.

Because among the other differences these teachers discovered in their numerous hours spent in Missoula's schools is that every classroom is different, largely because teachers are far more free to teach in their own manner, and children are far more free to speak their minds.

Unlike in MCPS, South Korean teachers follow a rigid curriculum and are closely watched by their principals, said Jiyoung Kim. There is little deviation from the lesson plan.

"It can be a burden," she said. "Here, I felt more freedom to teach. The principal gave them a lot of freedom to develop their lesson plans."

All the teachers are from the Korean National University of Education, participating in the Best Practices in Teaching English as a Foreign Language program of the South Korean government. They leave Saturday to return home.

Split into small groups, the teachers spent three days a week observing Missoula teachers and students, from kindergarten to the 12th grade. They spent their mornings mostly at the University of Montana, attending sessions on teaching English as a foreign language.

All public students in South Korea are required to learn English, and must become proficient by the time they graduate from high school. They are also free to take a third language as an elective.

Students in Missoula's schools are not required to learn a new language, even in high school - but that may change soon.

***

Schools across South Korea are as similar to each other as Missoula's are different, said teacher Eunsoo Kim.

"All around Korea, it's the same size of classroom, the same curriculum, the same arrangement," he said. "Here, it varies."

While the culture is slowly shifting there, South Korean students are still largely expected to remain silent, to not challenge their teachers or even quiz them.

"In the Korean idiom," said Kim, "students can't step on the teacher's shadow."

There is a far greater emphasis in South Korea, too, on speed and the application of principles - learning not the concrete example, but the entire idea behind the example, said Jiyoung Kim.

While in Missoula, the guests also rode the Carousel, visited Yellowstone National Park, met with UM President Royce Engstrom and attended a Lady Griz game in the president's box, and toured various businesses and institutions in the Garden City.

One thing that wasn't arranged for them - or Missoulians, for that matter - was the bitter, sustained blast of winter over the last month.

Jiyoung Kim feared it when she drew Missoula as her assignment from the South Korean government.

"I cannot stand the cold," she said with a grin. "I hate winter. So I was crying. But now, I'm really happy."

Reporter Jamie Kelly can be reached at 523-5254 or at jkelly@missoulian.com.

 

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Vietnam, then and now: Chue Vang

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYFrdnzrYsE&feature=youtu.be

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter David Erickson presents the latest news you need to know about today's h…

Vietnam then and now: Ira Robison

Vietnam then and now: Ira Robison

Ira Robison describes his experiences as an anti-war advocate during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam Then and Now: Janet Zupan

Vietnam Then and Now: Janet Zupan

Janet Zupan, daughter of a man who was a POW during the Vietnam War, recounts her memories o…

Vietnam then and now: Karen Ryan

Vietnam then and now: Karen Ryan

Karen Ryan recounts her experiences in Operation Babylift.

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Rob Chaney presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

Deals & Offers

loading...

Search our events calendar