In a recent interview on NPR Amy talked about her book and fielded these social questions from listeners. Although I enjoyed the interview and it did clarify some things it felt like Amy didn't attack the social issues clearly enough. She kind of mostly focused on herself and her family.
To me that leaves a lot of room for debate over the issue of East-Asian parenting vs. Western parenting. From my point of view my mom was pretty tough on me but not because of my grades it was mostly due to my attitude or behavior. With that said I know what living in a "tough" household is like, but when I think about Korean households there seems to be nothing I have to compare it to.
The analogy of Chinese moms being "Tigers" makes Korean moms look pretty tame. In the animal kingdom of parenting I would put Korean moms as something more ferocious and obsessed. However, I can't think of an animal for that. Vultures come to mind but I think it is a bit insulting and I don't really want to make that association. Really, Korean parents are just doing what they know how to do and functioning within what their culture calls for.
Whether you agree that the East-Asian model of parenting is best or the Western one, in Korea education is still taken a bit extremely. The following PBS video highlights practically everything you need to know about Korean education and its affects on students.
What I like best about this video is the part at the end where the discussion of change is opened up. Certainly, I feel most people in Korea are self-aware of how obsessed their country is with education and how the end result doesn't work out for everyone. I would like to say that I don't expect Korea to change in a way that will resemble the west. Rather, Korea's education system should change for the better of its people so that suicide rates come down and empathy goes up.
As much as we expat teachers in Korea like to judge and pass criticism on the Korean education system it is what pays our salary. Currently, you can start to feel changes taking affect especially if you work in the public school sector. I have come to realize that as an outsider it is best to watch as things transform and lend a hand only cautiously.
How have you seen Korean education change? Has it been for the better or only made things worse?