Group Mentality

Back on the office kidnapping BBQ picnic day, when we were at the art museum, I saw several groups of children there on a field trip.  These kids were all attending a pre-school academy that focused on sports, and they all had on adorable little matching track suits.

Just like the high school boys, these 5 yr. olds (4 in American years) were an unruly bunch and totally different from the American preschoolers I have seen, who are all in neat orderly lines, hanging onto a string, following the day care giver like ducklings.  From out of nowhere, I hear their instructor shouting some drill call, and then all the kids shouting (ear shatteringly loud) a response.  And for a brief moment, there was order out of chaos.  The same phenomenon as when some sympathetic nice student in my classes gets the rest of the class to shut up when I am speaking.  Call and response.

I turned to the Korean English teacher next to me, telling him how amazing (and slightly scarey) and LOUD that was.   Then I tell him about my students doing something similar. To which he tells me.  “Yeah.  They’ve been doing that all their lives.  It’s Korean culture.”

There is something key in group think and group control here that is totally the inverse of what we know and operate by in America.  It is one thing to read about it, and another thing entirely to experience.  I really need to figure this out.

I need to figure out why these kids seem to think a teacher should entertain them, and I’m sure it is the fault of those early childhood education instructors.   There is something militaristic about the way in which those children are addressed…I need to figure out why the Korean English teacher thought it was appropriate to braid one of her student’s hair during the mid-terms, why the Korean home room teachers think they have to be the student’s best friend, and why in the absence of that, they have to bring out the “stick of love.”  The appeal to a child’s sense of compassion, justice, and reason, seem to be something they can intellectualize but simply not follow through on.

Mostly I need to find patience, as it may be another year or more before I figure out some of the subtleties of this system.

Anybody know some good call and response drills in English???  Right now, I am studying drill team stomps.


2 thoughts on “Group Mentality

  1. Spending a major part of my day privileged to read six months of this blog, I am thrilled to have followed some of your footsteps in Korea.

    Your KBS videos did not seem freakish to me at all! You are very beautiful and articulate! I was in awe of your posture and ability to effectively communicate your emotions and desire to find your first family. Your willingness to speak the truth made me feel proud to be a Korean adoptee for the first time in my life! I hope that Hankyoreh21 has the courage to print your comments about the struggles you have had with Holt and your birth family search, as well as your views on transnational adoptions, the lack of resources for unwed mothers and the cultural stigmas.

    I can’t wait to see more of your life in Korea

  2. Proud to be a Korean adoptee? Yes. Let’s be proud together.

    I think the up side to this whole thing is that it makes our vision more acute. And now, now we have to work on projecting our voices.

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