Yoojin Kim compared the role of homeroom teachers in study guidance in Korea and Finland in her Master's thesis.
Finland's educational system with its excellent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings has sparked interest across the world. The success of a relatively small country provides interest for research, even from other well-performing countries such as Korea.
"We have a very good international reputation, but Finnish students are happier in school. Korean schools are very competitive," says Yoojin Kim, whose Master's thesis compared the role of homeroom teachers in study guidance in Korea and Finland.
Kim finished her Master's degree in May. What drew her to Finland was the desire to research the realities of two high-performing educational systems on a practical level.
THE MOST OBVIOUS difference between Finland and Korea was the focus of the homeroom teachers. In Korea, the teachers felt their duty was to parent the children, whereas Finnish teachers focus almost solely on teaching their subject. Although Finnish parents are becoming more demanding about their children's education, the teachers in Finland feel that they are respected and valued by society. On the other hand, Korean teachers felt that the most rewarding aspect of their work was relationships with the children, instead of societal approval.
Overall, there were no stark differences between practical schoolwork, although Kim did notice with amusement that Finnish kids are made to go outside during every break.
To Kim, Finland has been a very enjoyable place for studying. Cold, dark days were perfect for writing, and eating citrus fruits provided positive energy. She has nothing but praise for her thesis supervisor and the faculty, which she found very well-organized. Her only regret so far has been difficulties in learning Finnish.
"There's not many chances to speak Finnish, everyone is quite fluent in English!"
Kim has published an article in Korea based on her Master's thesis, and is currently working on her doctoral thesis. In the future, she wishes to work on influencing educational policy in Korea.
Title: "A comparative Study on the Homeroom Teachers' perceptions of the School Guidance in Korea and Finland"
Motiovational song: Pharrell Williams - Happy