Saturday, 3 August 2013

On the valuing of education...


And how state systems don't value teaching well. At least not compared to this:

Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher—a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country's private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills—and he is in high demand.

Kim is paid this much because the product he provides - or rather its benefits - are valued very highly. And the hagwon system rewards the best teachers because they are what the pupils want:

The most radical difference between traditional schools and hagwons is that students sign up for specific teachers, so the most respected teachers get the most students.

This is a strikingly different world from that we are familiar with - a system where the best teachers get the biggest reward and where the choices of the customers, the learners, drives that success. In Korea the failings of the state system lie behind the hagwons, that coupled with the pressures to achieve socially, academically and financially.

And the conclusion? It might be this: an information-driven global economy, a few truths are becoming universal: Children need to know how to think critically in math, reading and science; they must be driven; and they must learn how to adapt, since they will be doing it all their lives. These demands require that schools change, too—or the free market may do it for them. 

Certainly food for thought and a challenge to the deadening government systems we see in the UK.


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