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The Way They Are — a story of a scholar

By Hyun-Seo Cho (DG reporter)

 On August 20th 2014, DGHS students received a very special lecture from Professor Hyunkee Ahn of Seoul National University, who had studied English as a foreign language. As he received the microphone, he started the lecture by saying “Okay, let me use Korean,” for some of the students were already worrying about the professor speaking in English throughout the lecture.


  “Figuring it would be much easier,” he said, he added a subtitle to the given topic. “The World of Scholar and the Preparation” was the given topic by DGHS, and “A story of a scholar” was the subtitle he added.


  He showed an email which he had received from a middle school student. The email contained about ten questions, all leading up to being a professor, somehow. He zoomed in at question number six, “I’m sorry, sir, but you are a professor at Seoul National University, right? Exactly what steps did you take to become a professor? Also, what do you teach?” Surprisingly, the question very well reflected the theme of the lecture. This question became what the lecture would be about. The professor said, “I’ll provide an answer to this question today. And guys, this is just an ordinary man’s story.”


  He talked about his early life. In middle school, he met a boy who soon became his rival in studying. That boy dreamed of becoming a professor. “So,” he said, “I decided to become a professor, too.” It was as simple as that.


  After talking about his early life, he introduced Seoul National University, his workplace. He introduced eight professors of department of English Language Education at College of Education. All eight of them studied in the U.S. for some time, but each in a different major. From this the professor showed that a subject is certainly degradable.


  Throughout the lecture, there were “breaks.” He explained that his professor (the professor’s professor) taught him that “Every 10 to 15 minutes your students’ concentration is decreasing. You have to gather them.” But how? By the breaks! Following are some breaks from the lecture.


  He talked about the Celtic Women, his favorite girl group. He talked about confidence. Chloe Agnew, his favorite singer in the group, is an oversized model yet she is confident in herself. He said “it’s very important to have confidence in oneself, but our students often lack confidence.”


  He talked about Sara Blankely, CEO of a spanx company. Spanx was not an important part in his speech. The point was that Sara Blakely’s father taught her that it is okay to make mistakes. He asked her everyday what kind of mistakes she had made throughout the day. If she said “None,” her father would be disappointed. If she said “I wasn’t very good at math,” or “I made a mistake in spelling,” he would say “Great! It’s much better to make mistakes than to do nothing. Good job!” Sara Blakely later said the secret of her success was challenging, not being afraid of making a mistake. The professor said “It’s wrong to expect you guys to be excellent at something. You guys should know that it’s only natural to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid!” It was a very inspiring message.


  “Now, you have looked at my life, from elementary school to university. I hope this acted as some kind of an orientation.” He explained what orientation was originated from. In a kind of map, one cannot draw Europe unless they have set where Asia is. It is the sky. Orient + ation -> facing the east, which is Asia. It also means facing the right direction.


  He went on to introduce “Preparations.” First, curiosity. “Curiosity is the foundation of every study. Each curiosity leads to each study. The curiosity of how to become a rich would lead to study of business management, and the curiosity of why humans have language would lead to linguistics. Second, one should set the category of study they are going tostudy. “Decide.” he said.


  “The first step might be easy. However, the second would not be that easy. English Education itself was not my choice, yet one part of it was. It is hard to figure out what you would study. Perhaps time would tell you, as it goes by. Experience might be important for it tells you where you would be heading next,” he said. And as if he knew some students’ thoughts, he also mentioned “Plus, do not run away from math. You’ll have to face it anyway someday in university.” Most students were thinking, “Yikes!”


  Some parts in the lecture contained messages of courage. He told the students about the downs in his life, such as how he had to re-apply to university after waiting a year, how he had spent 20 years in total learning, and him being hired at age 40. From this, he concluded that waiting is also important. “Some things are valued by their storage time,” such as doenjang, red pepper paste, or even wine. “It’s similar to that. We should not expect something to happen right away,” he said.


  Showing various examples, he encouraged the students to be brave at making turning points in life. And especially in one example, he emphasized the importance of actually following the path which one has discovered. Lee, who was formerly a teacher, went to Parsons, the New School for Design, N.Y, finding out his or her love for design. It certainly moved the students’ heart.


  Almost at the end of the lecture, he talked about the McGurk Effect, the gist of which is that vision with sound senses work together simultaneously. When experiment participants watch a video, they say different answers to the sound. It’s because the lips are moving saying another thing than the sound. Simply put, reality may not be reality. The perception system was built to be tricked. “Your world which you have believed to be true, may not be even close,” he said.


  The lecture was full of rich knowledge and inspiration. The professor successfully introduced the way to scholar by using a very good example: himself. Because he told the story of his life, not someone else’s, the students were able to receive the message within the lecture. The audience sincerely thanks him for the lecture, and for the inspirations he has given the students. Correggio Avanti! Forward with courage! Let us hope for everyone to live with the messages in the lecture throughout his or her lives.


By Hyun-Seo Cho
(DG reporter)

dongtan globe

Strong Stride toward Excellence

The pleasant scent of autumn has spread and the campus of Dongtan Global High School is enveloped in cool wisps of the fragrant harvest breezes of fall. Just as the nearby rice fields have grown into sturdy, golden stalks so too has our school matured and taken firm root in the city of Hwaseong.


  With the school’s first commencement ceremony last winter, sending the graduates far and wide to make their mark in the world, already another group of seniors are about to take one of the biggest exams of their lives. My fellow students are eager to honor the name of the school, and the new recruits are more competent than ever. The campus has been blooming with special events, academic challenges, and new clubs and activities where students have been showing their persistence, creativity, and expertise. It seems DGHS is ever more fruitful with every year that passes.


  In the third publication of the Dongtan Globe, we have taken strides to meet the rising standard of the school. The reporters and editors have tried to deliver the best of their work, striving to meet the high expectations. In consequence, we were able to present more extended and finer edition to you. And I, the third chief editor, will return the honor to the hard-working members of the the Dongtan Globe and contributors who willingly participated in the publication.


  Previously, feature stories focused on topics associated with the annual Joint Academic Conference of Global High Schools. This year, however, we’ve taken a different approach and will be discussing the controversy regarding integration of the liberal arts and natural sciences tracks in South Korean high schools.


  The topic is fairly recent as the Ministry of Education is starting to implement education of no border between natural sciences and liberal arts. There are many controversies whether the integration is necessary or not. In our feature, we cover various arguments and facts about the issue. Specifically, the feature discusses the issue first in the historical context and then through its progression of current decision to integrate the tracks. Within this discussion, the feature spotlights the concept of consilience of Edward O.Wilson which will help readers to understand the ideology behind the track integration argument.


  In addition, we’ve included a wide range of articles covering other domestic and international issues such as Crimean crisis, school life including articles about an invited professor and a reporter, and even reviews of some recent music, book, and movie.


As usual, we thank you for your continued support and readership and hope that you enjoy this year’s edition of the Dongtan Globe.


By Jong-Seo Park
DG editor-in-chief


The Humanities Matter

 Korean high school education has been offering distinct curriculum tracks for the last several decades: liberal arts and natural sciences. As of 2018, however, those two separate tracks are supposed to be integrated into one comprehensive track. Debates are raging surrounding this issue. While advocates argue that the integrated curriculum be implemented in order to produce creative talents fitting the consilience spirit of the 21st century, opponents argue that it is premature to decide that now. Rather, they insist, all we need to do is strengthen basic skills under the current split curriculum.


  I believe an integrated curriculum is eventually the right choice to make. This academic approach is already a mainstay of many developed countries such as the United States and most western European countries. The underlying philosophy behind their policy is that both quality of living and competitiveness can be enhanced only when scientists are armed with humanities refinements and entrepreneurs possess good knowledge of natural science.


  I support this approach, and believe additionally that humanistic values are closely associated with cultural industries, and developing them in each individual will be beneficial to society. The general idea behind cultural industries is that popular culture produces cultural goods such as printed media, music, television, film, as well as crafts and design. They are knowledge-based and labor-intensive, and not only create employment and wealth, but also drive the norms of a particular society. Thus, in nurturing creativity, analysis and reflection, and fostering innovation, societies will maintain cultural diversity, enhance economic performance, and advance the sciences while also promoting sustainable, peaceful societal standards.


  The essential point is that technology alone cannot lead itself to beneficial cultural industries. That is, we cannot produce a movie only with quality cameras, audio, and special effects. The storytelling is indeed crucial to the development of an entertaining and profitable film. In addition, a film that is only entertaining and profitable is also not necessarily a promotion of wholesome societal norms. The story must also celebrate, at least subtly, positive cultural goods to build enthusiasm for positive cultural attitudes such as cooperation and sustainability. Steve Jobs might be a genius, but he is not supposed to create iPhone all by himself. In the modern world, cooperation of the humanities and the sciences is integral to success. And being successful is not just about profitability, but about creating sustainable societies.


  Thus, an individual who has built an upright character is one who is not only a master of formulas and rules, but also an engine of creativity and innovation, based on cultural norms which promote peace, cooperation, and sustainability. This is the reason why we study the humanities.


By SangYol Cheong
Principal, DGHS