Friday, March 29, 2013

Korean school culture: Indoor voices…

...don't exist in schools here. 

Part of the Korean school system goes like this: Inside class, the kids need to sit the hell down and shut the hell up. Outside the class is deemed free time. The 10 minutes between classes is a veritable free for fall because it considered the students’ time. Boys and girls alike will run down the hallway screaming at the top of their lungs. Boys will shout and girls will shriek at the slightest provocation.

I’m still coming to terms with this dynamic. Back in the States, we had to keep quiet in the hallways when we were moving between classes. We had to keep quiet lest we get in trouble for making too much noise. This held true from kindergarten to high school. We heard about indoor versus outdoor voices since day one. This isn’t exactly so over here. If the boys and girls are taught about indoor voices, I can’t tell. When class ends, even the sleepiest students erupt in a frenzy of energy while the teachers file back to their offices. The teachers don’t seem to mind the noise.

It took some time to get used to the kids being able to run and scream outside class. I’m still adjusting to it because it seems crazy that as regimented as the school day is, the students get plenty of leeway to run about. It’s wonderful that they get some free time here and there, but I think it’d help if the students knew to keep the volume down. Maybe I’ll mention it in upcoming lessons.

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