Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

The weather has been pretty erratic, but the cherry blossoms are asserting that spring has arrived.

Ian took this picture out our window.  I really like the contrast between the brown wood behind the little house and the bright, clean looking blooms of the tree.

There is a little tree in our parking lot; it's not fully in bloom yet, but it should be soon.  All just in time for Mom's arrival.

I realized today that I forgot give you all any closure on the Gene situation.  You may remember that he was deciding whether or not to quick.  Well, a week ago today was actually his last day.  I haven't heard from him since then.  He was going to spend some time with his family in Busan and then take a trip to China.  He just needed to get away.  Julia does that to a person.

Julia wasn't at Goam today, but Sue (the Korean teacher who mentioned to Ian that she's read the blog and has become something of Julia's right hand) sat in his first class.  Chun wha video taped my last class (Fluent 1) after numerous apologies and explaining that Julia (Pack Eun-hee as everyone else knows her) said she had to.  I actually had no problem with it.  The camera makes me a little nervous, but I've got really great kids in that class.  They try hard and they speak very well.  I think Julia's viewing will come out easily in my favor.  We are expecting an email sometime soon with our progress report and hopefully a clear cut answer as to whether she's still thinking of firing us.  I'm not even sure if we have a meeting on Monday.

I recently went through a unit with my Basic 1 students about their school schedules.  Most of their subjects are easily recognizable, social studies, math, language arts, etc.  But, there are a few that don't translate well or that don't seem to be cross cultural.  One of those is "Ethics" or "Morality."  I initially thought it was a bad translation until I did a little looking on the internet.  I think this abstract of the article "Moral Education in Korea" from The Journal of Moral Education explains it very well:

"As a result of the pressures of modernization and those of overcoming a national security crisis, moral education has been instituted as a regular course in the Korean school system.  Moral education in Korea aims to reinforce desirable aspects of the Korean value system, such as: self-control, sincerity, freedom, acceptance of responsibility, development of traditional culture, commitment to national development, respect for humanity,contribution to world peace, anti-communism, etc.  Adoption of moral education as a regular course of study in Korean schools has resulted in a renewal of discussions regarding the matter. It is generally felt that moral education is a life-long process which should not be restricted to schools. Furthermore, an improvement in educational methods as well as evaluative techniques are necessary in order to improve the teaching of moral education in Korea. Moral education, as practised in Korea, should bring about the exploration of alternative methods leading to better methodology."

I understand the concept, but I'm having difficulty wrapping my mind around having a class designated to this curriculum.  I picture this type of class more in a country like North Korea (the country does actually have a similar class in which Communist Morality is taught).  In America, socialization is cyclical.  The societal norms promote themselves through hegemony and not many people picture it otherwise.

What do you think about the idea of a moral education?

Good night!

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