Are there any objections between theory and practice in the context of Asian teaching situations? If so, what are they?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There is much within this question that poses some challenges in answering effectively.  The most primary of them in my mind is the term "Asian teaching situations."  Attempting to make a blanket statement about all of the teaching in Asia might be a bit too reductive for my tastes.  Additionally, it presumes that there is a standard model, accepted and standardized all over the continent.  This might not be the best way to go on this.  The other issue is the use of the word "objections."  Perhaps, it might be better to focus on the idea of theory and practice as well as the gap between the two.  With these in mind, I guess that I will try to forge an answer that might only confuse the issue even more.

I think that the teaching models all over the world are being questioned and reexamined in light of the 21st Century workplace our students will be entering.  No one knows what this is going to be like.  Not many were able to make the call ten years ago that the current wave of education would so heavily involve technology in the manner it does right now.  In America, not many would have been able to foresee the specific challenges schools are facing in meeting the demands of legislation of "No Child Left Behind."  Ten years ago, few would have grasped how strong the reality would be of "the rise of the rest," as Zakaria says, in articulating the growth of nations like India, China, and Brazil on the world economic stage.  All of this is to say that few people have a full understanding of where the job market's direction will be and even fewer have an iron clad vision of how education will change.  The one thing that is known that all of the paradigms that teachers all over the world have embraced for years will have to be reassessed in making sure that we are preparing our students to be competitive in this undefined and, frankly, unknown workplace setting.  This will mean that our traditional models of testing and assessment, curriculum and pedagogy, approaches to theory and practice will all have to undergo severe examination in making sure that they are preparing students for the future workplace, as opposed to workplaces that no longer exist.

boryung's profile pic

boryung | Middle School Teacher

Posted on

In the case of South Korean education, I believe that there certainly is conflict between theory and practice. The theory behind the education system is that students will study hard and become very knowledgeable. This is certainly a commendable goal, but the result is that competition drives students to memorize their textbooks for that extra point or two that will make their national ranking just a little bit higher so that they can make the GPA and standarized test score cutline into the university of their choice. Such has become the education system in Korea. Koreans are so sensitive about exam and university results that hardly and flexibility is allowed, and students don't really seem to be learning anything despite their immense effort.

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