Archive for December, 2008

Post #18: Hagwon in U.S. cash in and U.S. teens cheat

December 7, 2008

According to “Hagwon in U.S. cash in on Korean undergrads” it is evident that many Korean students are having trouble adapting to the western education system due to pressure, poor English skills, and poor logical thinking skills. Out of these three reasons, I believe that poor English skills and poor logical thinking skills are the main reasons that cause Korean students to have trouble studying at universities in the United States. Korean students studying in Korea are all subjected to tremendous amounts of pressure from parents, so it is unlikely that pressure is a reason why Korean students drop out. However, from my experience, it is likely that Korean students suffer due to poor English skills and poor logical thinking skills. With the help of hagwons, Korean students are capable of getting into colleges of their choice because they can study for the SATs using pure memorization skills and write their college essays with the help of others. However, these students do not actually have the English and logical reasoning skills that American students have. Because this is so, when colleges require English and critical thinking skills from students, the only way for students to succeed is to turn back to the Korean way of education which is to go to hagwons. If the students still have trouble, they will eventually plagiarize or drop out.  I am not trying to say that there is anything wrong with the Korean way of education, but if students who are too Koreanized and too dependent on hagwons and plagiarism decide to study in the United States, they will be able to get into a top tier college but will have trouble adapting to the western education system. Because of these differences in the western and eastern way of education, it is inevitable that Korean students studying in the United States will drop out. This can be prevented in many ways. Western schools can be stricter about testing critical thinking and English skills before admitting students while Korean students who wish to study in the abroad could attempt to westernize their study habits before they get to the United States. 

The article, “Hagwon in U.S. cash in on Korean undergrads,” states that plagiarism is a result of cultural differences: 

“’Many Korean students still write cut-and-paste essays, which is considered to be plagiarism here in the U.S.,’ said Dr. Kim.

Used to more lenient Korean standards when it comes to copying the work of others, many Korean students find it hard to get used to strict Western academic standards, under which copying just a few sentences without identifying the source is considered plagiarism. It was reported a few years ago that four Korean students at a U.S. university were kicked out of their school after copying each other’s papers.”

In spite of this, acts such as cheating, lying, and stealing cannot only be blamed on cultural differences according to the article “American teens lie, steal, cheat at ‘alarming’ rates: study.” The article states that teenagers in America also lie, steal, and cheat. These students, unlike Korean students, do not have poor English or critical thinking skills, but they still end up cheating. This shows that for whatever reason, teenagers from different backgrounds may end up cheating. Because this is so, I believe that it is wrong to blame a specific group for cheating or depending on other sources for information.  

According to “American teens lie, steal, cheat at ‘alarming’ rates: study” it is evident that different groups of teenagers lie, steal, or cheat more frequently than others. However, the main problem in today’s society is not that certain races or genders are cheating more than others, but that more and more teenagers are cheating. There is a possibility that more and more teenagers are being open about cheating, lying and stealing or that more and more journalists are publicizing these events more often. Nevertheless, if it is true that stealing, cheating, and lying rates are rising, both parents and teachers should take action to prevent dishonesty. Being caught cheating, stealing, or lying in the future will bring about greater consequences, therefore at a young age, students should be taught not to do so. 

This issue is not only limited to teenagers but also to adults. Today, many politicians and businessmen are being caught committing dishonest acts. The world in general should be informed and should start working to eliminate dishonesty.