Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Way of teaching

This is not very surprising to many people conscious about the world. However hearing about the thing is one, and seeing it with own eyes is another.

Here in Seoul, and in Korea in general, students are forbidden to ask questions if they don't sufficiently understand the issue once explained by the professor. It changes with time, as the more foreigners are employed the more they understand that one should be able to ask the question, yet I have many Korean friends who complain that they need to spend long hours self studying through the subject.

Currently I teach english one of my neighbours, and I had inquired if he could ask his tutor a question related to the study or write an email to one. The answer was: "Well, if I new one and there was any previous contact I could, but now...".

For my experience, only one person I know in Poland would not reply to an email from a stranger, and this is a man who genuinely hates internet or any other modern inventions.

Here in Korea, and I suppose in East Asia in general, position of an older person is unquestionable, despite of actual achievements or real knowledge. It is an offence to get in the elevator together with professor or to sit at the caffeteria too close to the one.

Is this issue related to eye contact? I don't know. I am not skilled in social research that much yet. I am only wondering if this might be the reason of such behaviour. In class, everyone watches the booklet instead of a teacher.

This is considered a lack of respect to the superior or to anyone if one avoids an eye contact in anglo-saxon, roman or slavic background. I don't look at you, means I have something to hide, I lie, either I don't like you at all. Here in Asia if I dare to look at someone older straight then it means I don't like him or don't respect him. This prooves that however universal some rules might be, they apply to just about one cultural background.

Yet, the question is, might this "watching, observing" issue be the reason for not asking for help during the class? I don't know...this is one to explore.

Copyright: Agnieszka Piasecka, Seoul, 26th August 2009

Next post is coming soon.

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