Friday, November 30, 2012

Inside a Korean classroom: stand-up desks and lockers

The picture below has two important features of a Korean high school classroom: the stand-up desks and the lockers.

Oh, how I would have loved to have these kinds of desks when I was teaching in Wisconsin. They would've cut down massively on the fidgeting students because they could have moved to the back and stood up to work if they felt themselves getting antsy. As it happened, my schools had none such desks and some students movements disrupted the classes and created problems that could've been avoided all along. To think of all the time that could've been saved if the kids had the option of moving to another desk!

My old teaching professor Tom Scott once lamented how students are almost always forced to remain seated in the classroom. He said, "There is nothing in the teaching standards that says students need to sitting down." I and the rest of the class couldn't help but agree.

Funny enough, the two English classrooms in the detached building that I teach in do not have these desks. This situation must change. Generally, the high school students behave themselves well, but these desks would prove useful at times. I've a few students who'd probably benefit from being able to stand up every so often.
The same thing applies even more to the middle school too. Those girls carry a lot of energy when they aren't sleeping. Perhaps I can have some moved into the classrooms or, failing that, get some myself.

The second thing to note about the picture: the lockers. Korean students have their lockers inside their home rooms instead of in the hallways like American schools do. This is so because the students tend to stay in their home room all day and change rooms only for special classes or events. The teachers themselves change rooms with every period.

Having the lockers in the classroom serves two purposes: reduces hallway traffic and keeps students from using the age-old "I left it in my locker" excuse so popular in US schools.

Side note: while I was taking this picture, Lyn, the pictured student, got curious about why I was doing so. I told him, "We don't have these in American high schools," to which he replied, "They're useful." Indeed they are.

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