More on testing

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.


2 Responses to More on testing

  1. Christine, thank God I always taught in the Catholic School, where although we had to do standardized testing it was not as bad as what y’all are going through. I remember something that I really liked. It came from an American teacher in China teaching the children of the various representives in the various “United Nations”. (I’m brain ded today.) It wa called the International Bacculaarate Curriculum. There the kids were learning. They were using real life examples. My jaw dropped at some of the things they were doing and the levels of thinking that they had attained. I often asked myself why we could not do the same thing here. Teaching kids to fill in bubbles and makig them so scared that education will always be a fearful thing is not good. Our kids are going to end up with PTSD not because they have been in the military but because we are “teaching” them the way we have to.

    I get so angry. People have stepped outside the box and made school work for kids who were dropout material. I think a good number of them even went to college. Biut it took a brave man, and I can’t remember his name for the life of me. He did it. He did it recently and it worked. When I find the book I will tell you.


    • christinebumgardner says:

      I would be very interested in that book. I know the United Nations curriculum, but unfortunately it is used only for ‘special’ schools and for only the highest levels of students. We really need to change some things, especially for the average students, and even for the poor students (I often wonder what would happen if we changed things, would our poor students still be considered poor?

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