English for Teachers/Unit 5

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Unit 5


Comprehensive Reading

Education in Korea and America

In order to study the patterns of comparison, I would like to compare some aspects of education in Korea and America. Let's begin by comparing teachers. Mr. Baker, an American junior high school teacher, is about the same age as Mr. Kim, a Korean middle school English teacher. They are both much younger than their principals. In fact, Mr. Kim's principal is the oldest member of his school's staff. He wants to retire next year. Mr. Baker and Mr. Kim are both good teachers and in that respect they are alike. But the similarities end here. Mr. Kim is much busier with paperwork than Mr. Baker. He has to work long hours without complaining. Because of his many responsibilities, Mr. Kim is probably the most overworked teacher in his school.

Mr. Baker, on the other hand, is able to devote more time to the individual needs of his students. His classes are smaller and his schedule more relaxed than Mr. Kim's. Mr. Baker likes to encourage learning by doing. In his classroom, the emphasis is on discussion and self-expression. His classes often sound noisy and appear undisciplined by Mr. Kim's standards.

Similarly, their students, Bill and Changho, differ from each other in many ways besides appearance. Although their grades are about the same, Changho has to work much faster and get things done more quickly than Bill. Bill is less busy than Changho because he doesn't have to clean his school or study for entrance exams. As a result, Bill gets more involved in extracurricular activities, such as sports and student government.

There is no doubt that the American student is not as well disciplined as the Korean student, nor is he able to conform as well as the Korean. American schools often seem chaotic and poorly organized to the Korean visitor. No one can easily say which system is best. However both the Korean system and the American system need to learn from each other.