Hi, I’m Abigail, an MEng student in EECS. I grew up in Texas and Seoul, Korea, which were two quite different experience.
Education is highly-valued and highly-competitive in Korea. Especially back when I was in high school, school grades and national exam grades were completely relative, so that only the top 4% of students received A, the next 7% B, and so on.
Moreover, schools had very rigid structure. My school, for example, had regular classes 8am-5pm, special after school classes 6-9pm, and mandatory study hall in complete silence 9-11pm. I went to a private school, so it was a bit more extreme, but most schools still had the same schedule, just off by a couple hours. (So it’s not too surprising when I first came to MIT as a freshman and thought ‘Wow, MIT is so….chill?’)
I do not agree with a lot of philosophy behind Korean educational system, but one pro is that there is a rich abundance of high quality learning resources readily available—spanning workbooks, online videos, and private tutors. After all, education is a big market and high competition applies to content providers as well.
I would like to find a way to utilize those existing network and resources as more than simple boosters to help students get ahead in the competition. There were great resources and lecturers I encountered that helped me connect different subjects and develop critical thinking, and yet their strengths are overlooked or merely advertised as means to help students get better grades. Perhaps, there is a way to shed light on their alternative values and eventually shift the approach to education.