In the process of constructing its identity of Hyukshin School, the activist teachers view social democratic welfare system as the future path of society and tend to be inspired from Nordic welfare states to find out an alternative system for the future of South Korean education. At the same time, they especially at secondary school level adopted communitarian approach to school change from professor Sato Manabu in that his learning community theory has merits in avoiding the shortcomings of existing practices of public education with its failure of “the phenomenon of escaping from learning.” Sato’s argument has merits in understanding the similarity in pedagogical practices across industrialized East Asian nations and regions. According to him, the East Asian style of education is a result of “compressed modernity” with rapid industrialization that has promoted a competition-based education. Hyukshin Schools also pursue a bottom-up movement led by teachers towards a new direction in the East Asian style of education. In this presentation, I will first look at the way some Hyukshin School activists make use of Sato Manabu’s Community of Leaning strategies to their practices especially in promoting collaboration that is indispensable to students’ engagement in class.
Second, the presentation will discuss what motived Hyukshin School activists to refer to learning community movement of Japan. Third, I will discuss how teachers in Hyukshin School movement view the educational philosophy, viewpoints of pedagogy and strategies for school change presented by Sato Manabu. As a result of research, I will suggest that value orientation of educational philosophy and perspectives on “good” society are very important motivations in Hyukshin School teachers’ reference to Sato Manabu’s theory and practices. Being careful not to fall into reductionism to the stereotypical image of East Asian education, I will argue that teachers and educators in East Asian countries have to talk, cooperate, and form solidarity toward a new direction of collaborative and democratic education and social justice.
Youl-Kwan Sung is a professor and a former Dean of the graduate school of education at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea. He earned ph.D from University of Wisconsin-Madison in the field of critical and sociological approach to curriculum. His research interests include comparative education, politics of curriculum, school change, and social justice education. He has published various articles and book chapters on curriculum and educational policies to such journals as Comparative Education, Curriculum Inquiry, Oxford Review of Education and many others.