Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The New Old Math

In South Korea, technology and education trends tend to come in the most fast and furious of fashions.  But these days, some parents have decided they want their children to go "analog" with activities like abacus math, baduk (Korean word for the Japanese game go), and the intensive study of Chinese characters:
"There are at least 100 private academies offering abacus classes in Seoul, according to the National Abacus Mathematics Education Association.
'I couldn’t find one near us so my husband and I are looking to hire a private tutor to teach abacus math to our 8-year-old daughter,' said a 42-year-old resident of Gwacheon, Gyeonggi. 
'I’m hoping to improve my son’s attention span and help him become a better person by learning Go,' said Cho Eun-joo, a 36-year-old resident of Munrae-dong, western Seoul. Her son, 10, attends a Go class at his school.
'Some people don’t understand parents who send their kids to afterschool programs for more traditional education instead of to private academies for English,' said Nam Ji-seon, a 40-year-old mother. 'My son, 12, has been learning hanja for seven years now. No matter how much the world changes, there are things that children must learn from traditions.'
She added, 'We often discuss the traditional analects of Korea written in hanja, and I know that this kind of education will give him an edge in the future.'”
While I doubt the demand for private English academies will subside that much, it's nice to think Korean parents are finding other paths for study and success for their children.  Reading ancient Korean philosophy in its original form?  Not too shabby.

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