Monthly Archives: December 2014

Final Essay Revised

 So, let’s think about your school life. Did you love it? As an elementary school student, what was your best experience? Or have you ever wondered about what would’ve happened if you have studied abroad in your early years? I may be able to give you the answer; see what your friends who is from another country. Do they look similar to you? Your answer here would probably be no, because he or she have had perfectly different education from yours. If you had studied abroad, there must have been major differences in your behaviors or in your lifestyle, that’s for sure. In this world, education is the engine of each society; it’s the power to make it run. The more power it has, the farther we can move. Every country has its own engine. However is anyone of them perfect? The answer should be NO; nothing can be perfect in this world. Especially today I’d like to make a comparison between the education policies of Korea, and that of France. The education policies in Korea and France, both of them need to compensate their defects by learning from each other. Education is very important because it not only affects human but also determines overall social atmosphere, but neither of them is perfect; each has not only its own strengths but also own weaknesses too. Also I believe that the situation of Korea can suggest an answer to France and France can also learn a lot from Korea.
Then how does education affect the children? Let’s recall your childhood. When you were a child, you might have been taught home, your basic courtesy, or some of the fundamental social rules like cross the street when green light is on, and never when red light is. And then you went to the kindergarten or elementary school, which was when you first met ‘society’ outside home. You must’ve been tested a lot, and the education must have deepened. Your experience grew and your attitude changed as you learned from the school. And this, you were making your contribution to this society to exist as it were and you were not even aware of this. In fact, it is an undeniable fact that it’s the power of education that determines overall social atmosphere. Even the famous Aristotle and Plato said that education is the centre of moral fulfillment and the well-being of the society is affected by it. First of all, well-educated citizens perform better when they work. Outside of their work, people tend to participate eagerly in social activities.
For example, according to the OECD data (OECD, 2013), citizens from the countries providing more and better chances of education voted 15 percent more than those from which do not. Also the high-educated citizens showed more interest in volunteering, political interests, and social activities. Also, well educated people tend to be happier, having more interpersonal and institutional trust. This may lead to restraining social violence too. There is a word, “Mowgli Syndrome”. This is a word meaning someone who has been totally isolated from a society and raised in forest, and this is not a fantasy! There are some cases. For example, in 1920’s, two girls were found in forest in India, especially in a humid, dense cave where wolves lived. These two girls were rolling with a bunch of baby wolves, and it was quite obvious that they were raised by wolves. They seemed about 7 or 8 years old, and “rescued” right away. After they were “back” to the society, people really tried to raise them as two members of Indian society in orphanage. They were given new name, Amala and Kamala, and they were trained to act like normal children, but not only had they failed, but also the little girls had died young. Until the very last of her days, she couldn’t act properly for human society, showing intense aggression. Thanks to these cases people are learning about the importance of the education.
Then let’s check what our reality is like, in Korea. What’s our educational situation? Korea, and the other East Asian countries, has been recognized as the most successful countries in education field. And that is valid factor until like now, because Korean students usually get the highest scores and win in international mathematics competitions. Since their childhood, Korean students are taught to be diligent and hard working. And as they are feeling kind of a strong bonding within friends, they become more us-related. This is, really, a marvelous character of Koreans’, and that’s how Korea became one of the most developed countries in the world in a very short time. Even President Barak Obama once announced that U.S. should follow the Korean Education model. What are the points? First of all, Koreans are very eager for education. Normally there is no failure until they finish the high school. Teachers lead every single pupil to graduation. And ceaseless test and evaluation support this. Also Korean school provides very vast range of learning, from linguistics to foreign language, from sociology to science. Whether they would take benefit from learning or not for the rest of life, students keep their studying. Thanks to that, Koreans have plenty of common sense, and very familiar with various categories of fields of study. However ironically, this is also pointed as the huge problem of Korea. Korean students, not knowing what they really want to do, should carry on hard work. Also just to make every student follow the class, most of the lessons rely on mnemonics, which means teachers talk in front of students and students have to learn by heart, and whether they understood or not is usually ignored. Also Koreans are lack of creativity or originality. Koreans focus so much on grade, especially for the studies to enter university, and never have time to cultivate those features. Too much obsessed with College entrance, they cannot afford to think or do anything else beside it. The parents are also fueling this tendency, pushing their children to go to better university, and to have better job. Unfortunately, some students even choose to commit suicide just because they couldn’t meet their parents’ standard.(Sportsworld, 2013)
Obama Praising Korean Education, Dong-A
Obama Praising Korean Education, Dong-A (2013)

How about other countries? Today I’d like to compare Korea with France. France’s education system is quite different from that of Korea. The basic rule is almost same; students learn, take exam, and get evaluation. Then what’s the difference? Here are some questions that you can see in French exams. Would Korean students be able to answer these?

  1. Does language betray thought?
  2. Is truth preferable to peace?
  3. Does power exist without violence?
French students are taught to be “talkative”. It’s doesn’t have any negative nuance. They are more likely to talk than any other people about what they are thinking of. They focus so much on how to think, and how to express their thought. The schools teach more philosophy in class than Korea does, and this is not just the overall one, but is also a very particular philosophy that students chose their own: The science part, the linguistics part, and economics and sociology part. Also France has 2-year vocational training institude which allows students to learn in advance about what they really want to do in their lives. Even the college entrance exam, usually called ‘Baccalaureat’ or simply ‘Bac’, provides different format for different students with diverse interest. It covers almost every part, in other words, not only traditional fields linguistics or science, but also some fields that Koreans even cannot imagine like technology, or professional studies.


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But as there shall exist the shadow where the light is, French education syste also has flaws. The lowering state of teachers will be number one. There is a movie about this situation, and the title is Entre les Murs, or The Class, is a movie showing a classroom in Paris, which is in a poor district. The teacher, Marin, wants to lead his pupils but everything starts to go wrong. Even one of the students finally confesses that she has no idea what she has learned in school. French education system usually concerns the students who participate well, and the others like her, who is not the ardent participant, would easily be ignored. Also, according to Wikipedia’s article about French Education, especially the characteristics part, French students are a lot much in danger of failing classes, saying even in elementary school only 80% of students can pass the school certificate.
So what if we put these two together and mix it up? In Korea, students have passion but no creation. In France, students are creative but they’re not that much willing to study. In Korea, we need to introduce a new system for students to think more and express what they think. And the College Scholastic Ability Test, should desert the dichotomic selection, and should be more diversified like France’s Baccalaureat, providing more choices for those who want to be engineers or artists, carpenters, and so on. And the parents should liberate themselves from prejudices that one’s success can only be evaluated by their social status. And the French students should learn how to tolerate, to be more hard-working and less self-thinking. What we should remember is, nothing can be perfect in this imperfect world. So is education. However everything can be better than ever, by learning from the others. There is plenty of room for everyone to be improved. Korea should learn from France’s case and France, also, should accept their flaws and ameliorate their current situation by learning from Korea’s strength.


Engelhart, K. (2013) French Students debate mandatory philosophy exam, Retrieved November 24, 2014 from

Lee, M. (2012). 프랑스 교육제도의 문제점 발견, Retrieved November 4, 2014. from

OECD. (2013). What are the social benefits of education?. Retrieved November 4, 2014 from–N%C2%B010%20(eng)–v9%20FINAL%20bis.pdf

Park, B. (2014). 던컨 美 교육장관 “한국은 교육 모범국가, 본받아야”, Retrieved November 4, 2014. from

Pestreich, E. (2012). 세계의 석학들, 한국의 미래를 말하다, Retrieved November 4, 2014. p.183-186

Sportsworld. (2013). 한국학생,우수해도 미래 꿈꿀 여유없다…치맛바람이 교육 성과 비결, Retrieved December 19, 2014. from

Wikipedia. (N./A.). Amala and Kamala. Retrieved December 19 2014 from

Wikipedia. (N./A.). 프랑스의 교육. Retrieved November 4, 2014 from


Week15; Brain on Music

Learning how to play musical instruments, helps children to improve not only their musical ability, but also their capacity of learning. In LA, there is an after school music program called Harmony Project. The high school students participated in it and then they showed much less drop out rate than any other school students. Also, this program helps the less fortunate families by providing the chance of learning and a safe shelter for the kids after the class dismissed.

The brainwaves, which are firing offs of electrical pulses made by neurons to talk is made whenever we take a new information like a new sound or stimulation. By a Kraus’ team’s research, the team found that the mechanism of speech and music is not different neurologically. And that’s why the kids from poverty could not make a good speech, because they are in lack of stimulation. And also by the research, kids in poverty simply had a hard time to tell the difference between similar sounds, because the brainwaves of them were blurred. But after some years of music lessons, the team could find out that things are getting better, which means less blurred.

Music connects with education. It improves pitch, timing, and timbre for infants. It affects language develepment , too. In school life, not only a music class, but also math are related to music. It also helps concentration. When nervous, you can use music or instruments to relax your mind.

Week14; Famous Voice

This speech was made on September 3rd by King George VI, in 1939. This year, this day has a significant meaning for Great Britain, because this day the U.K. announced war against German troop. Before this speech U.K. had been reluctant about being part of the war and wanted a passive way to bring peace in the world. He found that this idea was wrong and decided to participate in World War 2. In this context, the speaker, King George VI, had made this speech to urge the entire public to strengthen the unity. He was speaking at a slow pace and sentences were cut in multiple pieces, but certainly he is trying to give the strong message here, using firm voice and imposing emphasis on certain words. In fact it is a well-known factor that King George VI had a phobia of microphone that he stuttered in front of the public whenever he made speech. Finally he tried hard to fix it with a special speech teacher named Lionel Logue. This speech inspired lots of people and gave them the will to fight over Nazi. It makes me feel even more moved as he tried to fight over his defect.
In this situation, if it were in Korea and we were to announce war against North Korea, how would it go? It might be more focused on slandering the opposite and more aggressive. Also I am not sure whether we will let someone stutter make this important speech. This person would’nt be even chosen to be a representative of Korea.

Week13: Audio

What I heard is the sound of people chatting. It is vigorous and lively. If I listen more carefully I can catch the very fade voice in the background that taking order. Also there is a sound of metalic object bumping to the solid floor. Soon a loud and unpleasant sound comes out. That was a sound of an espresso machine. I was sitting in a cafe in a museum.