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Character Education to be Held in Elementary Schools

Posted January. 02, 2005 22:37,   


How the Lessons Are to Take Place-

This program, which is a six-semester course (16 weeks each), is not like the former cramming education, but rather is meant to teach individuals values and judgment abilities. The main feature is that this is an active program in which students are encouraged to run the course themselves, by talking about their own experiences and discussing them.

Also, students are expected to set moral rules and goals through activities such as “imitating respected figures,” and fostering a practical understanding and tolerance of others through role-playing such as “experience ostracism” and “parent role-playing.”

Other than these, games such as “Talk about your friend’s good points” and “We asked ten thousand people. Guess what bothers them on the Internet” are meant to teach moral judgment in different situations.

Seoul National University professor Moon Yong-lin (Department of Education, former minister of Education), who is in charge of developing this program, said, “In the family-oriented society of the past, the cramming method of moral education held at home substituted for school education, but within age groups, anonymous cyberspace, or a mass-centered modern society, the independent judgment of the individual is being emphasized.”

Professor Moon said the “Elementary School Self Leadership” program was developed under this theoretical background.


The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development developed this program because the need for character education at an early stage has been brought forward due to growing social problems such as school violence, ostracism, and cheating.

The Education Research Institute of Seoul National University and the Bright Youth Center surveyed elementary, middle, and high school students around the nation in a research titled “Situations that required moral judgment” that came out with disturbing results.

Some of the students responded with answers such as “What is wrong with students each sharing answers in subjects they are good at?” and “Ostracizing someone from a group is bad, but that person deserves it if he usually acts strangely or fails to blend in.”

There were also responses such as “I sexually harassed a passing girl with my friends, but I had to do it if I were to remain in the group.”

Professor Moon said, “Students who do not recognize their wrongdoings do so because they lack the ability to make independent moral judgments and act accordingly,” and continued, “The paradigm of our moral education should shift to an education that promotes independent and active thinking.”

Jae-Young Kim jaykim@donga.com