Student choice a good idea?Chungahm High School in Seoul let freshmen choose their homeroom teachers ― an unprecedented experiment in Korea.
Students were able to nominate teachers using the schools Internet homepage, based on the teachers’ profile, subjects and their plans on how to run the classes.
The school explained that the measure was meant to improve the level of student satisfaction with the education it offers.
Although the experiment was conducted by just one school, it is hoped that the measure will lay the groundwork for Korean education to become more student-oriented.
The response differed depending on the parties involved. Students and their parents mostly welcomed the measure.
Reasons for students choosing particular teachers varied, but most of the students said they expect to have more affection for the teacher they chose.
Homeroom teachers are significant for students. Accordingly, spending a year with the teachers they preferred would make their school life more pleasant.
On the other hand, interest groups consisting of teachers are opposed to the new measure, arguing that it will turn teachers into goods that can be chosen and create a situation where teachers seek popularity among the students instead of focusing on developing a quality curriculum.
Moreover, the system could hurt personal relationships among colleagues as some might be more popular than others among the students.
It is not too far-fetched to say that students are forced into a uniform educational system under an egalitarian high school system.
They have no right to choose the school they attend, their classes and homeroom teachers.
Students are supposed to follow the rules whether they like it or not.
For this reason, student dissatisfaction with the current public education system has been growing, while private education has become more popular, along with study abroad.
Many education scholars say letting students choose the school and teachers they prefer will make them more motivated to study.
It will be necessary to refer to the concerns of teacher interest groups, but support for the new system’s positive impact is expected to be significant.
It is hoped that other schools will adopt the measure after sufficient discussions to minimize potential side effects.