Educators are now facing a number of controversies. Though the modern education system in Korea has enjoyed remarkable growth over the past few decades, it has started to reveal lots of drawbacks especially in teaching students efficiently. Focusing on the process of the enlightenment given from Plato’s allegory from “Republic”, it is discernable that some values which Plato regards important contrasts with those of the current education structure. Modern students don’t get the opportunity to face the concept in reality, and they sometimes learn with a biased viewpoint.
In Plato’s allegory, we can see the procedure of learning from experiencing. Group of people chained in the cave were only able to see shadows of fictional beings. But after being released and seeing the circumstance, they were able to understand the truth of the intellectual world and realize the existence of the sun. However, the current education system discourages deep comprehension through experience but encourages memorization. Struggle from the actual experiment is crucial for deep understanding especially in scientific or mathematics fields.
Otherwise, it is hard to interpret, solve the problem, or make some judgments of the idea. For example, students in HAFS barely get the chance to do experiments in biology and physics class. They get the concept by reading it from the textbook or reading the consequences of experiments and dissertation. They memorize numerous facts instead of comprehending the principles of materials.
Only building a short term memory, students usually forget after a certain period and lack the ability to advance the concept.
Ben Orlin, a high school teacher in Oakland, asserted in his article “When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning” that “Overreliance on memorization is like most problems in education: systemic. · When you memorize a fact, it’s arbitrary, interchangeable–it makes no difference to you whether sine of ?/2 is one, zero, or a million. But when you learn a fact, it’s bound to others by a web of logic. It could be no other way.(Orlin)” Major takeaway from these is that studying by memorization leads to shallower depth of understanding and knowledge.
Plato also gives the idea that we shouldn’t be biased or rely on our own knowledge when we learn a new concept. The guess of the shadows which group of people made with own knowledge was never the correct answer. The truth was hidden behind people’s limited imagination and own bias. In contrast, the current education system provides stereotypes when learning. This usually happens in history education. Greatly influenced by different perspectives or bias usually caused by national or religious reasons, history is taught in various ways from teachers to teachers or textbooks to textbooks with subjective wordings. For example, some topic describing a conflict between Native Americans and cowboys varies between books. The former are often depicted as wild barbarous beings while the latter are depicted as brave ones.
However, in some books, Native Americans are illustrated as victims, while cowboys are offenders of a massacre. These result in a stereotype when students encounter a new topic. The given situation of the educator or the learner also affects the standpoint. Michael Conway recalled in his article “The Problem With History Classes” that, “A history is essentially a collection of memories, analyzed and reduced into meaningful conclusions but that collection depends on the memories chosen. Memories make for a risky foundation: As events recede further into the past, the facts are distorted or augmented by entirely new details something the NBC news anchor Brian Williams learned to devastating effect. An individual who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge probably remembers the events in Selma differently than someone who helped Johnson advance legislation in Washington. Both people construct unique memories while informing perfectly valid histories.(Conway)” Biased perspective can lead to wrong the grasp of the information.
To sum up, rather than the current education system that leads to meaningless consequences, the modern Korean education system should provide an opportunity for students to experience the true concept and upright viewpoints which are objective. Furthermore, it should provide process-based and well-organized curriculum stratified by level and age. Different from the other fields, education is an area where its policy needs to sustain innovation and reform. Through a number of trials, the strong points will be advanced and the gaps will be filled. Proper education will lead the students, the cornerstone of the nation and major members of the community in the future, to be abundant rich human resources and world leaders all over the world.
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