[FOUNTAIN]The regimen to create a super student

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[FOUNTAIN]The regimen to create a super student

As a student, we have all wondered why we had to take so many different subjects. Middle and high school students still grumble over the number of subjects they have to study for exams.
Why do schools require students to take a variety of subjects aside from Korean, English and mathematics despite the complaints of the students? Educators often answer that students need to be exposed to different fields in order to become well-rounded. Limited class offerings cannot provide an in-depth education to build a healthy personality. The purpose of a secondary education curriculum is to give students a chance to learn the basics of different subjects.
Economists agree that a well-rounded education is best. What would happen if schools only teach Korean, English and mathematics? The students who are not good at these three subjects will soon fall behind. However, the talent of the individual is not limited to Korean, English and mathematics. If the students have to focus only on three subjects, other talents will be ignored, which will be a big loss for the individual.
Therefore, it would be ideal to let the students discover and explore different talents by teaching a variety of subjects. Japanese economist Takashi Oshio, who recently garnered attention with his economic analysis of education, calls it “the dispersion of risk.” A well-rounded education reduces a talented student’s risk of failing in the standardized education system.
The interesting part is that the extracurricular arts and sports lessons, which have become popular in Korea, are also an attempt to disperse the risk. If a student concentrates only on a few subjects he is good at, his grade point average will not be very good. Parents who are overly passionate about education will not let their children get bad grades.
The child will have to take private voice lessons to get good grades in music, and practice jumping ropes for physical education class.
Excessive after school lessons are beyond dispersing the risk and aim at removing it altogether. When you practice enough, you will get an acceptable grade even if you lack talent. Sometimes, grades will reflect on how much the parents have spent on private lessons, and it becomes unclear whether a student is really talented or has taken private lessons to make up for a lack of talent.
There is no guarantee that a student who receives excellent grades in all subjects has talents in all of them. Instead, he might be talented in following what his mother forces him to study. Do parents really want such a child?


by Nahm Yoon-ho

The writer is head of the family affairs team at the JoongAng Ilbo.

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