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Week Six Essay: Academic Pressure in South Korea, Equality in Finland


Here are the readings for this topic:

Some of these links are ones you have to put into an MS Word file and click on to make them work. Others work by typing into your browser (I use Chrome) the exact words I give you. I am continually working to be sure all links of all kinds work, and the newest way, just typing in an exact set of words, seems to be the best way to go for now, because links change so fast.

  1. Warner, Margaret (21 January 2011) In Hypercompetitive South Korea, Pressures Mount on Young Pupils. PBS Newshour.

I opened the above one from an MS Word file. If this one won’t open for you, you may type these exact words into your browser:

PBS In hypercompetitive South Korea pressures mount on young pupils.

If you cannot open this or any other link, please email me:


  1. Hu, Elise (15 April 2015) The All-Work, No-Play Culture of South Korean Education. National Public Radio

I also opened this one from an MS Word file. Or, you can type these exact words into your browser:

npr parallels the all work no play culture of south korean education


  1. Se-Woong Koo (2 August 2014) An Assault upon our Children: South Korea’s Education System Hurts Students. New York Times: Sunday Review: Opinion

I typed these exact words into Google: Se-Woong Koo An assault upon our Children


Barr, Bernadine (2012). Very brief excerpt on testing in American schools. From Bond, H., Barr, B., Fotiyeva, I., Wu, F. Through Children’s Eyes: President Obama and the Future Generation. (Toronto: Key Publishing) This is an eReserve, found at Content>Course Resources>eReserves>Week Five.


Here are additional readings:

Finland is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence.

Please type in these exact words:

the atlantic what americans keep ignoring about finlands school success


An interview with Finland’s minister of education, Krista Kiuru

the atlantic finnish education chief we created a school system based on equality


Kindergarten in Finland: Please type in these exact words into Google:

the atlantic the joyful illiterate kindergartners of finland


The Assignment:

For your essay: Please compare and contrast the situations faced by students in South Korea with those faced by students in Finland and, if you wish, with those faced by students in the United States. Please state and justify your conclusions. Which system or which parts of a given system do you appreciate and why?


Guiding thoughts to help you with your essay:


  1. Please briefly describe and compare the educational programs in South Korea and Finland, and, if you wish, the United States.
  2. What is your personal thought on these differences and what you might prefer if you had a magic wand and could change education for your own children (if you live here and if you have children!) in the United States?
  3. Knowing what you now know about infant brain development, do you think differently about early schooling for children? Please explain, especially with reference to American public schools that introduce academics in kindergarten.
  4. Please be sure you raise the overall motivating issues that have made education in South Korea and in Finland what they are today.
  5. Are any of these ideas relevant to the United States? Why? I would appreciate hearing your personal opinions on this material and your justification for the choices you would make with your magic wand.

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