Archive for October, 2008

This journal is a response to the recent article on Korea Times that states that 44% of Korean students drop out of prestigious colleges.

1. What does Kim say is the most likely explanation for the high dropout rate among Koreans?

Kim states that the difference between American and Korean students is that American students divide their time equally to study and to do activities such as sports or music (extracurricular) while Koreans spend about 75% of their time studying.

2. How does the dropout rate among Koreans compare to the dropout rate among other groups?

While 44% percent of Korean students drop out of prestigious colleges, only 20% of Chinese and Indian students drop out, and 36% of Americans.

3. What are you currently doing to increase your own college readiness? Is there anything you think you should do before you graduate from high school to be better prepared for university?

Like Kim said, I think Korean students in general spend too much time studying. I’ve seen many students starting to learn SATs in eighth grade, which is very rare in the states. My goal is to divide my studies and activities so that when I attend college, I can participate actively in college life rather than stay isolated. Furthermore, another reason why so many Koreans drop out of college (according to my brother) is because most Koreans attend hogwons when they study in Korea; therefore, when it is finally time for them to study alone and scrutinize individually rather than someone telling them what to study, Korean students handle the independent studying. For almost their whole lives, they were taught in hogwons, so they were dependent on others. This is why I am trying to not resort to hogwon as much as I can. I try to study using the internet and textbook, because that is what we really do in college.


Read Full Post »

1. What role do the SATs play in your overall education? Considering discussing this exam in relationship to your class grades, extracurricular or athletic activities, relationships with teachers and letters of recommendation, college application essay, or other aspects of school life.

Most believe the SAT to be the key to college. Most Koreans that I know of, especially Daewon and Minjok High School, study the SATs from eighth grade. For four years, they spend their lives in hogwons, memorizing words and reading articles. As a result, most students receive a superb score. For example, the average SAT score in Minjok Foreign Language School is around 2300, a score that most people can’t imagine. Definitely, the SATs are a huge part of our high school, even middle school, lives. SATs are a method of measuring our reasoning skills and how well we can think. However, in recent years, it has become more and more preparation/mechanical tests that give stress to many students. It is effecting our grades, because we have to study for it, and even extracurricular activities. I think teachers do not really care about students’ SATs because they know that in the future, the scores are not that important in their lives. However, from a school’s and college’s perspective, SATs are very important to students because SAT is a big criterion that colleges consider.

2. What do you know about the SAT scandal that resulted in the cancellation of all scores from Korean test centers two winters ago?

Two years ago, a Korean hogwon leaked answers and tests to its students that created a huge turmoil to both students and ETS.  This resulted in cancellation of all scores from Korean test centers.

3. What impact would this have on Korean students?

It seems like the scandal two years ago is not the first time. Two summers ago, Hanyoung School lost its SAT certificate because ETS considered the school “cheating” and giving similar tests to students before the actual test. Clearly, whenever students take the SAT test from now, ETS will not consider Korean students trustworthy. Our credibility is very low and due to the scandal, we will probably be labeled as “cheaters.”

4. What are you most concerned about in regards to the next time you take the SAT (section scores, time to prepare adequately, frustrations with the structure of the exam, etc. ?)

I am always most worried about the structure of the exam more than anything. Every month, the SAT tests differ in difficulty. In May the test might be easy, and in June it might be very hard. Some student’s scores do not vary much; however, my score varies very much due to the difficulty level. I am also worried about what scores I will get (as all students will) because SATs will determine which college we will attend (although I know that it is not the only source of college acceptance, it does play a big role). Furthermore, if I don’t get a good score, I have to take the test again later, which really is frustrating.

Read Full Post »

H. What purpose does Orwell intend his narrative to serve?

This story was primarily about a British man in India and his feelings about living in a conquered territory. In a broader sense, Orwell touches upon the topic of imperialism and how he feels that imperialism is a wrong thing. While living in India or Burma (to be more specific), a British colony, the policeman feels out-of-place in the community. On a narrower sense, Orwell explains about a policeman who is alienated by the Indians. The people don’t like him because he is British (there is an anti-European sentiment), and they look at him in a disparaging way. Then the main conflict occurs when there is an elephant that threatens the community. The policeman has to decide whether to kill or save the elephant. The emphasis here is that Orwell explains about peer pressure, and how he is forced to kill the elephant even though he doesn’t wish to, because thousands of people want him to kill the elephant.

J. Orwell spends more time discussing the sociology of the event than about the setting in which it occurs. Explain why doing so is appropriate to his purpose.

The setting of the story is not really important. Even though a significant part of it is the historical content (that India was a British colony), setting does not play a big role. The beginning paragraphs explained enough about setting (about the British and the Indian colony and how the policeman is not welcome). The real emphasis is on the sociology of the community and the thoughts and feelings of the British policeman. The way he feels about killing the elephant, and how he is forced to shoot the elephant because of pressure from the people. The main theme of this short story was about imperialism and self-identity, not on setting. So the importance was more character-based, rather than setting-based. Orwell wanted to state that imperialism is not a good thing.

K. Why does the author spend so much time narrating the death of the elephant?

The death of the elephant is when the police officer feels the strongest guilt inside. From the beginning, he knows he shouldn’t have killed the elephant, but out of pressure and in order to not look like a fool to the two-thousand natives, the police officer kills the elephant. But Orwell does not let the elephant die right away. The elephant continues to live and brings great distaste to the police officer. As a representative of British tyranny and imperialism to Burma, the police officer almost loathes imperialism at this point. This is critical to Orwell’s main theme, and in order to emphasize this point about imperialism, Orwell spends a lot of time talking about its death.  In order to underscore the police officer’s distaste, Orwell creates his story so that the policeman leaves the scene, which shows that his emotions are unstable. The policeman also finds out later that the elephant died 30 minutes after he had left the scene. Overall, the death of the elephant is the crux of the story where the policeman (or Orwell) criticizes imperialism and himself for acting for Britain and to save his own face in the community.

 A. In what way is this essay a study in self-deception? Make specific reference to the text to explain your answer.

This story is a self-deception because the British policeman doesn’t really want to kill the elephant; however, thousands of native people want him to kill the elephant because they want revenge and compensation, and in the end the policeman is forced to kill the elephant. In a way, the policeman doesn’t want to become a loser or he does not want to let-down the hopes of the natives. In order to do so, he has to persuade himself that it is right to kill the elephant, even though deep inside him, he knows that it is wrong, because the elephant is peaceful, and he doesn’t have the owner’s permission and the elephant is peaceful. He states, “As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him.” He, in part, knows that he is being deceived by the natives. He states, “I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind.”Finally, in the end he states that it was better that the “coolie” had died because he had justification for the killing of the elephant-but we also know that deep inside him, there is still unrest and uncertainty; therefore, the act of self-relieving is actually deception.

Read Full Post »

This post is about an article on the current economic crisis in America (Wall Street) that is effecting the global economy as a whole. It was found on Newsweek(.com).-How Paulson Became the New Face of Capitalism

Recently, the whole world was shocked by the growing economic crisis in America. After Bear Sterns was sold to JP Morgan, Wall Street was in panic. Shortly after, JP Morgan would face its own problems, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be sold to the nation, Lehman Brothers would file bankruptcy,  Merrill Lynch would be sold to Bank of America, and the world’s biggest insurer, AIG, would receive $80billion of federal aid, and Washington Mutual is currently in deep trouble. These are, or were, world renowned investment banks and corporations that almost all people heard of at least once. These are corporations that survived the Great Depression, the 1980s economic crisis, and 9/11 attacks. But now, they have all been either sold or gone bankrupt. Especially the news that AIG, which is the world’s largest insurer, publicly stating that they needed $40 billion, shocked the whole world, and customers in Korea, Asia, Europe, and Americas were waiting outside AIG doors because they were worried that they would lose their money. American International Group, which has a headquarter in the heart of Manhattan (66-stories high), and three other (London, Paris, Hong Kong) sub-headquarters, is the world’s largest insurer with 116,000 employees and $1.05 trillion of assets. I realized how powerful these corporations were when the Korean economy rose and declined dramatically everyday after announcements of bankruptcies and federal aids.

What we also see everyday is the face of one man on TV. His name is Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, and current Secretary of Treasury. Despite his Republican background (Republicans are traditionally known for supporting individualism and free enterprise), Paulson recently changed the American capitalism. Giving out striking amounts of federal aid to companies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Paulson has gone more active in economy. This has recently made him the most powerful man in D.C. Critics scoff at Paulson for being active and breaking the ideal of capitalism. However, I believe that at times like this, the government needs to step in and regulate the economy. Or else, America and the rest of the world will face a global depression. Today is different from the thirties. Back then, the stock market crash only effected Americans. However, American corporations and the economy have so much influence over the rest of the world today that one corporation such as AIG failing would lead to a global economic crisis. This isn’t just a matter of American tradition-this is a global issue and as a global leader, America should definitely do anything it can to solve crisis ASAP.

This is why Paulson recently announced a proposal for the biggest federal aid in American history. He asked congress to pour $700billion into the economic system to keep the money flowing. It hasn’t been decided yet, but major aftereffects will result whether or not the proposal is ratified. The whole world is watching America’s every move, and whether or not the bill gets ratified in Capitol Hill, it is inevitable the America will face one of its hardest times in history due to the recent failures.

Paulson has taken one of the most important jobs in US right now, and with that responsibility comes great power as well. Some analysts are even saying that because President Bush is not very sophisticated in field of economy, Paulson has become the new “king” of America, at least for few months, before the Bush administration leaves office.

Current Secretary of State Henry Paulson

Current Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson

Read Full Post »