May 11, 2021 08:39
A growing number of children are hooked on YouTube at the expense of books and have increasing trouble understanding written texts.
Teachers say the problem is getting serious. The Chosun Ilbo and the Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations surveyed 1,152 teachers and found that 37.9 percent rated students' reading comprehension at 70 out of 100 and 35.1 percent at 60 out of 100, while only 15.4 percent rated it 80 out of 100. Some 9.4 percent rated it less than 59 out of 100 or fail.
One middle school in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province has started teaching remedial Korean vocabulary classes after hours. Such classes are usually needed only for English and math, but the school found that growing numbers of students lacked even basic vocabulary.
"We had to starting the lessons because students had problems reading more than three sentences at a time and couldn't connect the meanings of different sentences."
Teachers also blame "progressive" education officials who have gotten rid of conventional dictation, reading and writing lessons in favor of student-centered and non-competitive learning that leaves kids at sea.
"Getting rid of testing because it supposedly threatens kids' confidence resulted in the kids lacking a sense of what they do or don't know," one said.
Ironically, these steps were aimed at helping kids from less privileged background but ended up hurting them most. Students with more affluent and better educated parents can always go to crammers or learn from their parents, but the less privileged rely on the haphazard school curriculum.
Park Nam-gi at the Gwangju National University of Education said, "Students need to understand what they read if they're to develop any interest in studying, but schools have neglected those skills. Underprivileged kids who can't afford to attend private classes end up performing poorly."
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