Category Archives: Education

아시아인스티튜트 의 “작은 세미나” (고등학생을 위해서)

고등학생위주의 토론:

“작은 세미나” (고등학생을 위해서)
“교육에는 ‘무엇’ 이 없다”

2014년 5월 27일 (화) 오후 6시

“지시인으로 산다는 것은 무거운 것이다”

2014년 6월 3일 (화) 오후 6시

“언론, 잃어버리다”

2014년 6월 10일 (화) 오후 6시

2014년 6월 17일 (화) 오후 6시
“문화와 관습, 우리가 신경써오지 않았던 것들”

관심이 있는 고등학생들 EPASTREICH@GMAIL.COM로 연락 주세요

Asia Institute map with #

“The Professor’s Role” (Joongang Daily May 12, 2014)

Joongang Daily
May 12, 2014

“The Professor’s Role”

Emanuel Pastreich

One of the greatest attractions for me about Korea is the status that professors enjoy in this country. I am not talking about just the respectful manner in which students speak to teachers; that is a pleasant, but not particularly significant, aspect of Korean culture. I am talking rather about the broad role that professors play in policy and industry. Professors serve on government committees, and the position of professor is a standard platform for launching a political career. In a sense, the rank of “Dr.” seems to outrank just about any other position in this society.

Korea stands in marked contrast to the United States, where the status of intellectuals has been much diminished over the last fifty years. Whereas American presidents like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman appointed many professors to high positions, those days are long gone in my country. But the tradition remains in Korea.

Although I am delighted to live in a country that values intellectuals, my experience as a professor has also brought me face to face with the profound contradictions in the actual role of the professor that undermine the critical role of intellectuals in society.

Professors, I learned, are not evaluated by their peers in a written format that captures the complexity and subtlety of their role, but rather are assessed according to inflexible checklists that have little, or nothing, to do with what the responsibility of the intellectual should be.

There are three categories for evaluating professors at the university: teaching, research and service. In the case of teaching, the courses are so large that it is essentially impossible to talk with any real intimacy with students. The role of the professor is now to provide letters of recommendation for future employment or further education without actually having worked closely with that student and to provide a grade for the course. My teaching performance is evaluated by students using a survey that encourages students to see professors as performers.

Sadly, a close relationship wherein the professor guides the student in understanding the world and prepares him for the challenges of a rapidly changing society is not relevant in the evaluation of the professor-although such relations with students would be the most valuable thing a professor could do.

Moreover, the relationship of teacher and student is limited entirely to the course itself with little of the lifelong relationship that made Korean learning great over the last 500 years. There is no incentive at all for the professor to tell the student about harsh truths so as to help him or her to survive in what looks like a very grim future. Telling students pleasant myths helps one in getting a good evaluation, but it is a deep disservice to the students themselves.

Then there is research. I was shocked when I was told last year that I should not bother reporting articles unless they are published in English, in Science Citation Index (SCI) or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) journals. These journals have magically been declared to have “impact” (even though their readership is extremely small) and are considered “A grade.” But, in fact, many world-class journals are not included in these mysterious lists, and although I wrote in SSCI journals 10 years ago, I have stopped because I find that books and other journals have far more influence.

Oddly, although the complexity of a scholar’s research activities can only be evaluated by his peers, the evaluation is left up to a check list made up by people who know nothing about the field.

The scholar who publishes 10 mediocre articles in SSCI journals (which is easy to do) is favored over the scholar who publishes one game-changing paper in an obscure journal. Needless to say, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution or Galileo Galilei’s heliocentric model for the solar system were not easily published in the scientific journals of the time. Today, scholars agree that much of the best writing is found on blogs and in many other unconventional places.

In addition, it is assumed in evaluations that research written in English is the most important. In the humanities, obviously, the best journals in French literature are in French, and the best journals in Chinese history are in Chinese. But English is not even the only language for science. Although many scientists publish primarily in English, in the field of botany, for example, some of the best journals are written in Japanese. There is an increasing amount of first-class work in science that is published exclusively in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other languages – the fact that American scholars do not know about that scholarship does not reduce its significance.

I thought that I would do well in the “service” category as I participate in many volunteer activities related to the environment and civil society. But I discovered that only bureaucratic duties in the department count as “service.” That is to say that if intellectuals do their duty by calling attention to important issues for ordinary people, issues that ordinary people do not have the expertise or the time to fully comprehend, that effort is irrelevant in the assessment of a professor’s contributions.

Korea has a glorious history of academies called hyanggyo that produced great scholars who were also intellectuals of conscience. Scholars in those academies were evaluated by other scholars according to the quality of their writings and their ethical stance. That tradition of scholarship, in which the academies were fiercely independent and committed to a long-term vision of learning as an ethical pursuit, should be a model for us. It is precisely the combination of ethics and scholarship that distinguishes Korean academics. To tear the two apart is to destroy the very appeal of Korea’s universities.

 

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New commitment to equality in teaching at Seoul Metropolitan City ” Anyone at all can find a vein of gold deep within himself “

This very striking poster appeared today in the Seoul Metro affirming the importance of equality of opportunity in education and asserting the need for an approach to education that includes both fast and slow learners.

 

“Anyone at all can find a vein of gold deep  within himself

Deep in the earth where no one can see is hidden away the motherload of gold. In the same way, there is a motherload of ore deep within everyone and anyone. The Department of Education at Seoul Metropolitan City will run our teaching programs so as to bring up our children in a more beautiful world and help our children to find that vein of gold deep within themselves.”

Anyone at all can find an motherload deep within himself. Deep in the earth where no one can see is hidden away the motherload of gold. In the same way, there is a motherload of ore deep within everyone and anyone. The Department of Education at Seoul Metropolitan City will run our teaching programs so as to bring up our children in a more beautiful world and help our children to find that vein of gold deep within themselves,

Anyone at all can find an motherload deep within himself.
Deep in the earth where no one can see is hidden away the motherload of gold. In the same way, there is a motherload of ore deep within everyone and anyone. The Department of Education at Seoul Metropolitan City will run our teaching programs so as to bring up our children in a more beautiful world and help our children to find that vein of gold deep within themselves,

 

Both slow kids and fast kids, all together.

Both slow kids and fast kids, all together.

 

다문화 프런티어 (연합뉴스) 2013년 12월

연합뉴스

다문화 프런티어
나는 한국이 좋다
2013년

“한국전통문화의 현대적 수용을 통해 아시아의 가치를 재발견 하라: 임마누엘”  

 

연합뉴스 다문화

 

Textbook on ethics used in Korea

This is the textbook on ethics “도덕” employed in elementary schools in Korea today. The very existence of such a class as part of the daily program is remarkable. Whereas such teaching of ethics once seemed rather old-fashioned, it has a certain appeal today granted the decline of efforts to promote a discussion on ethics in the classroom in the United States.

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The importance of expressing thanks.

The importance of expressing thanks.

 

I was also struck by the efforts to address multicultural issues and the children of “multicultural families” (as the phrase goes in Korean).

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Marxism for Kids in Seoul

Korea is known for its remarkably well written comic books for kids. Here is a collection of recent comic books on such intellectual topics as “theories of government,” “Confucius,” and “Mencius.” But imagine my surprise when I spotted a cartoon junior version of Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” mixed in there!

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Here are basic economic issues in a market economy and their negative implications explained for young readers.

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Korean Comics for Kids: “Surviving Climate Change”

One of the most remarkable comics that I have seen of late comes from the “Survival ” (살아남기) series published by I-Seum. This comic, “Surviving Climate Change” explains in considerable detail, with reference to scientific data, the process of climate change.  The “Survival” series includes several quite powerful comics that blend relevant facts with an entertaining narrative.

“Surviving Climate Change” is notable in that it draws the attention of children to the concrete challenges we face. Such writing for children is absolutely critical in our age as they will be the ones who will struggle with the consequences of our decisions.

The comic is divided into three sections. A humorous, slightly slapstick, dialog between the protagonists, a crisis that the protagonists encounter that brings them face to face with the consequences of climate change and a more detailed description, including actual photographs and statistics, that supports the arguments made in the comic.

surviving climate change 1

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“Prospects for Korean as an International Language” (Guest Report)

“Prospects for Korean as an International Language”

 Craig Urquhart

Guest Report for Circles and Squares  

November 29, 2012

 

Living in Korea, I often hear things like this from boosters or those within institutions:

l  “Hangeul should be used by more languages around the world. It’s possibly the most regular and best alphabet ever invented. I predict that one day it will be used everywhere.”

l  “Korean can become a true international language.”

l  “Korea is moving up, and one day we’ll be number one!”

l  “Don’t you think Korean food is the best in the world?”

l  “Korea is the most convenient country in the world. It’s the best.”

Often, when these themes are framed as questions, there’s an implicit assumption that if you disagree, you’re a critic, and critics of Korea who aren’t accepted as ideologically proper Koreans are dismissed or viewed with hostility. The opinions of many questioning Koreans, let alone foreign-born Koreans and foreigners, are often not welcome. From a foreigner’s perspective, I’ve found that in personal life, it’s socially dangerous to be anything but hopelessly positive about Korea or Korean culture. In theoretical or academic discussions, a similar veil descends over many people, blinding them to what seems to be something more accurately approaching reality. Read more of this post

Taking Korean Language Global: Let us Start with Dictionaries and Input Systems

Taking Korean Language Global: Let us Start with Dictionaries and Input Systems

Emanuel Pastreich

November 17, 2012

One need look no further than the Korean-English and English-Korean dictionary to see where we need to start if we want to truly internationalize the teaching of Korean language. Most English-Korean and Korean-English dictionaries (all dictionaries that I have ever seen) are written in a manner that discourages foreigners from leaning Korean. I think that it would be easy to create truly foreigner-friendly dictionaries and the investment could revolutionize the status of Korean language around the world.

Most Korean-English and English-Korean dictionaries are difficult or impossible for foreigners to use for the simple reason that they were designed for native speakers of Korean. Such an approach creates a tremendous barrier to learning the Korean language. For example, if you pick up an English-Korean dictionary and look up the word “happy” this is what you will find. The word “happy” in English is followed by definitions of its various usages in English given entirely in Korean. These definitions are incomprehensible for a beginning student and difficult for an intermediate student. These definitions are useless as the international student does not want to know what “happy” means, but rather how to say it idiomatically in Korean.

Moreover, the definitions are given in rather technical language which is at a great distance from spoken Korean. The best Korean equivalent “gibbuda” is often hard to find in that collection of definitions because it is too simple a term and seems rather un-scholarly. Those definitions are followed by sentences in English using the word “happy” in its different senses which are in turn followed by Korean translations. The Korean translations of the sample English sentences are literal translations and are often rather unnatural in their phrasing. The purpose of these Korean sentences is to explain the meaning of the English sentence, not to give an idiomatic Korean equivalent.

So let us think about what an English-Korean dictionary for international learners should look like. First, the word “happy” should be followed with a list of Korean words that are equivalent of happy. Each of those Korean words should be followed by an explanation in English of the nuances of that usage. Then, there should be a series of sample sentences in idiomatic Korean that are followed by English translations and explanations. Moreover, both a hangul and a Romanized version of the Korean term should be given in every case. Often the actual pronunciation, and the stress, in Korean words is difficult to predict even for internationals who know hangul script well. The ending consonant of one hangul unit often changes its pronunciation, but not its hangul rendering, depending on the initial consonant of the following hangul unit. Any English-Korean dictionary for internationals must have a Romanized version of all terms that indicates such transformations, as well as odd rising and falling tones, that can trip up even a foreigner like me who has been speaking Korean for over a decade.

In the case of the Korean-English dictionary, the reverse is true. The Korean-English dictionary you will find in a bookstore gives a Korean word followed by examples of English words that are equivalent to the different meanings of that word. The English words are often followed by an explanation about their significance written entirely in Korean. But the international user needs the complete opposite. The international user needs to have explanations in English of the various meanings of the Korean word. Then the international reader also needs idiomatic sentences in Korean that employ that word followed by English translations and explanations about usage. As long as there is no English definition of the Korean words given, the dictionary will be profoundly frustrating for the international user. As far as I know, although there are simple learners’ dictionaries for Korean for beginning students, there exist no practical Korean-English dictionaries aimed at international users.

In addition, we need a universal option in Korean language input systems for word processing that allows for a Romanized input (using the alphabet) of Korean language instead of only hangul. Such Romanized input systems exist for Japanese and Chinese and make it far easier for internationals to write in those languages. The lack of a Romanized input system is a major barrier to foreigners writing in Korean which is unfortunate given the growing importance of the Korean language around the world.

Korean is increasing becoming an international language and we find people from different countries around the world communicating with each other in Korean even when neither is a native speaker of Korean. Going forward, we really need to do now is focus on the needs of international users for dictionaries and input systems, not just the needs of Korean users.

Scholars of the World Speak out about Korea’s Future from Dasan Books

Scholars of the World Speak out about Korea’s Future
Dasan Books
October, 2012
Edited by Emanuel Pastreich

Scholars of the World Speak out about Korea’s Future is a book in Korean language that presents the insights of distinguished scholars from around the world concerning contemporary issues in Korean politics, society and the economy. Released six weeks before the Korean national election, it treats issues such as education, social welfare, populism and North Korea that have been raised in the course of the campaign.
For the first time, a group of international experts present their views about the specifics of Korean society and the relationship of Korean domestic issues to larger global trends. Emanuel Pastreich, associate professor at Kyung Hee University and director of the Asia Institute, interviewed Benjamin Barber, Noam Chomsky, Francis Fukuyama, Lawrence Wilkerson and other important figures in an effort to give Korean readers an insights into how the problems they are faced are linked to larger global trends. Read more of this post