Student pens books on learning skillsDespite his youth, 23-year-old Cho Seung-yun, a junior at New York University’s Leonard M. Stern School of Business, already ranks among the harshest critics of the Korean educational system.
“Korean education shapes people who are obedient rather than earnest and all-around talented,” he said during a recent interview. “I feel really bad when I see those kinds of students.”
Mr. Cho’s book, “The Technique for Studying,” is one effort to alter that course. Since its publication in November 2000, it has sold over 200,000 copies. It was also picked up by Kodansha Ltd., Japan’s largest publishing house, and is scheduled for October publication.
On July 18, his second Korean-language book, “The Technique of Thinking,” hit bookstore shelves. In both books, Mr. Cho seeks to demonstrate that academic success depends heavily on logical thinking.
“Many students in Korea get stressed and obsessed with studying for a brighter future; that’s pathetic to me,” he said. “I hope my books can help students academically by developing their logic.”
Recognition has come to Mr. Cho in spades lately. A concert was held this past weekend at Sejong University to celebrate his second book’s release. It featured the rock group Nell and the author, who delivered a lecture.
Mr. Cho bitterly attacks the Korean educational system in his second book. “Adults urge students to be involved only with studying by pressuring them,” he said. “That’s the same as telling students to reject diversity in their personal life, which is a very biased way of thinking. A person spending all of his energy merely memorizing equations has adopted the wrong way of succeeding academically.”
Mr. Cho asserts in his latest book that academic success largely depends on how organized students’ study habits are, rather than their IQ level.
“Thinking has to be ‘on’ all the time. It is a process of combating prejudices from the environment and reality,” Mr. Cho said. “In that respect, thinking is not something idle, but a competitive race.”
Mr. Cho may be viewed as highly intelligent. When he emigrated to the United States during middle school, he was already pegged as brainy. He lived up to that reputation at N.Y.U., ranking in the top 5 percent last semester with a 3.6 grade point average.
“When I study, I feel like I’m playing a sport with all of my heart,” Mr. Cho said.
by Ha Jae-sik