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제목 김영천 교수의 영어저서 리뷰 (세계적 학술지인 Pacific Affairs 소개)
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김영천 교수의 영어저서,
Shadow education, the curriculum and the culture of schooling in South Korea(2016)의 Book review가 세계적 학술지인 Pacific Affairs에 실렸읍니다. 70(4). p.827-829.
 
 
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Pacific Affairs: Volume 90, No. 4 – December 2017, pp. 827-829



 

SHADOW EDUCATION AND THE CURRICULUM AND CULTURE OF SCHOOLING IN SOUTH KOREA. Curriculum Studies Worldwide. By Young Chun Kim. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, c2016. xxv, 211 pp. (Illustrations.) US$99.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-137-51323-6.



 



 

Pupils attend supplementary education institutions all over the world. While this experience is common, the intensity and prominence of “shadow education” in South Korea is noted in all comparisons and a reference point for the growing literature on this under-researched aspect of many education systems. There is a significant literature on South Korea that focuses on the economics of shadow education in particular, in part because the amount private households spend on this is so astounding when compared to public school expenditures.

             Young Chun Kim adds to the general literature on supplementary education in South Korea. His primarily descriptive intentions show themselves in a book that is comprehensive in its coverage of aspects of shadow education, but that neglects to question or explain some of the characterizations of the curriculum of hakwon (hagwŏn) education that it makes along the way.

             Kim opens the book with a discussion that places supplementary education in the context of comparative scores achieved by Korean students. He then proceeds with a history of shadow education in Korea. He offers a typology of the sector, and the three central empirical chapters detail hakwon as they cater to elementary, middle school, and high school students, respectively.

             The book fails to properly define what is a hakwon. In the historical chapter, for example, any form of non-government-sponsored educational institution is included in the discussion. This leads to an intriguing mention of hakwon as an anti-colonial/anti-Japanese institution that is not explained further, but it also means that the specificity of shadow education as supplementing school education and following it in curriculum and content is lost. The historical chapter also does not really offer a discussion of how and why hagwŏn education first emerged and grew to such dominance.

             The imprecision in defining hagwŏn continues in the typology set forth by Kim. While sports and hobby hakwon are not included here, they are mentioned repeatedly in the latter descriptions of students’ daily activities. But is the fact that piano classes are offered under the hakwon rubric enough to discuss this in the same context as the school subject instruction that seems to be the core of the hakwon industry? The typology is also odd in that it classifies hakwon by varying criteria, especially subjects and teaching methodology. Yes, hakwon do vary along those lines, but what are the curriculum studies questions that demand a classification by one criterion over another? This mixed typology then disappears in the substantive chapters, which offer different classifications that are based on government statistics.

             The three chapters that offer a glimpse into Korean students’ daily schedule will be of some interest to comparative education scholars, though likely not to Korea, nor supplementary education specialists. These glimpses are marred by the absence of an explanation of how this fieldwork was conducted. There is a minimal explanation of methods in the conclusion, but the central chapters seem to offer these glimpses in merely anecdotal fashion.

             It is curious that Kim leaves some of the most interesting features of Korean supplementary education virtually unquestioned. The South Korean context is unusual in that the government has declared war on supplementary education for many decades in a way that no other government has, including ones faced with a similar context, such as Brazil, Japan, or Turkey. But when Kim writes, for example, that “highly paid private tutoring for the wealthy was a problem in Korean society” (25), this is portrayed as a fact rather than an occasion to discuss what exactly is perceived as problematic and how that perception has come about.

             A further curiosity is Kim’s overarching attempt to point to positive and negative features of hakwon education. While some of the negative factors seem more apparent (cost, burden on students, etc.), many of the positive aspects do not seem self-evident. “Unlike school teachers who have to follow the school curriculum schedule ... hakwon instructors are kinder and gladly help the students” (37). Hakwon instructors are kinder? Can this be demonstrated? Is it a perception of kindness that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? What does that mean for the education system?

             In this evaluative context, the academic achievement of Korean students is also not questioned. Is high achievement on standardized testing really the end-all goal of education?

             Kim ends the book with some discussion of further questions that arise about Korean supplementary education in the context of curriculum studies. Some of these are clear in their importance. As the British Columbia provincial government, for example, is touting individualized learning plans, much could be learned about curricular matrices from the supplementary education experience outlined by Kim. He describes hakwon offerings that seem to both tailor learning to an individual’s needs, including personality, but also carry out this tailored learning. This book raises such fascinating questions, but does not offer many answers.



 

Julian Dierkes

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada



 



 


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