Well, the trauma and drama continue in during the speaking test. I feel like a monster. So many of the students are shaking so hard they can barely speak. I had tried to make it easier by having students give presentations in class, and usually the kids don’t act frightened when they see me in the hall, or even in the E-mart. They often see me first at the store and come up to me to try to talk. But this week I turned into a major ogre.
I am on some internet discussion boards and of course whenever teachers get together they talk about teaching, and one of the topics is the emphasis on testing. Not just here in Korea, but in America as well. I will concede that presentation skills are good to have. To be able to communicate in front of people is useful. But taking multiple choice tests? Not so much. We are teaching our students how to succeed in taking tests, not how to succeed in life. As a foreign teacher, I have a lot more freedom in my class, but twice a semester, I have to teach my students something I don’t agree with. I still am not sure the best way to assess so many people in a way that is fair and showcases the students abilities, but I’m working on it.
Meanwhile, even most Koreans agree that the Su-neung, or University Entrance Exam is not the most optimal system.
And they have some very good suggestions from making entrance exams and school less competitive to making university easier to enter but harder to graduate. I also agree with the guy who said high school should focus more on helping students find what they really want to do.
Education and learning should be fun, not something that makes you cry.