Realizing True Character Education
by Ahn Byung-il(Ph.D)is the secretary-general of the South Seoul Scout Council and an adjunct professor at Global Cyber University.
[안병일 글로벌사이버대 겸임교수·행정학박사 @이코노미톡뉴스] The press is on a frenzy with the recent incident of B Club and a former vice-minister receiving sexual favors at a vacation house. Why are so many people surprised about such news? Is the reason why such incidents occur because proper character education is not provided during adolescent years?
Some say that you should look at the youths of a country to predict that nation’s future. This is because teenagers will lead our future society and because they are our hope.
However, teenagers today experience not only psychological strife in the whirlpool of social changes encompassing the informationization and culturalization of the rapidly changing social media era, globalization, etc. but also confusion on values. Despite this, there is not even close to enough programs and cultural spaces to solve these issues, and this has also been pointed out by many as a problem.
In order for youths to grow into independent beings and be the stewards of their own lives, they should receive optimal educational environments to prepare for a happy life as a member of society. This absolutely necessitates support from the state and society.
Schools are not only a place for intellectual education of teenagers, but bastion to configure holistic humans, and the success or failure of this role by schools will result in the growth and context of national development in the future.
Therefore, schools should not be simply a medium for conveying intellect, but a place where youths can develop a great spirit through various experiences, while elevating their sociability and character, and therefore, be a place of discipline and education so that youths will become the future pillars of our country.
For this, the education circles have set its sight on strengthening public education as its main goal and they are pushing forward with various on-site policies. However, even the affectionate relationships between teachers and students are dissipating, thus resulting in failing to achieve neither the conveyance of knowledge nor improving character through education.
In fact, we have now reached a state where acquiring in-depth knowledge are in the hands of private after-school academies and character education is completely the responsibility of society and the family. Thus, there is growing dispute among the interested parties regarding schools.
We all have many concerns about education. Educators say that the classrooms are being destroyed and the very foundation of schools are shaking. But what is the most disappointing is that there are few measures for resolving this. It is regretful to see our education system being swept away by the massive tides of reality.
The development of the nation, society, families and individuals depend on maintaining proper balance of mind and action. In other words, advanced nations of the future will require not only high economic standards, but also a world-view that is morally balanced, and normal societies will have to work on enhancing toleration and understanding among its members, while easing conflicting structures. Therefore, individuals should be equipped with balanced values and character.
From this perspective, the cause of the deeply embedded bipolarization being experienced in our society lately may be in part be due to the policy imbalances that deepened over a long period of time, but the fundamental reason comes from the imbalanced thoughts and behaviors of each individual. Thus, being aware of the problems of the systems and bipolarization, and configuring balanced ideal character are crucial for resolving such problems.
Let’s think about the youth reference group that fosters wholesome teenagers through prescriptions on such realities. Many youths say that there is no culture and no cultural spaces. They say that there is nowhere for youths to go. Let’s invite the youths to reference group activities. Let’s invite them not to the cultures of adults tainted with hedonism and commercialism, but to youth activities that are fun, healthy and classy.
Youths need culture for them to participate in and experience. They need activities that they can experience with all of their senses. Exploration and pioneering activities in Mother Nature with friends and adults, communication through dialog and debates, etc. will be critical for resolving the issues with youths caused by today’s society.
This will elevate a balanced world-outlook, view of country, sense of order, and spirit of volunteering through youth reference group activities, and individually, it will provide the best opportunity to enhance their social skills, character, leadership, and view of occupations. These are all the fundamental goals of schools. Therefore, today’s educational activities focusing mainly on learning the curriculum will only nurture half-complete people.
The school, which is the optimal institute for creating holistic human beings needed by the nation, should now take the lead in promoting youth reference group activities as a tool for not only education, but also improving character.
안병일 글로벌사이버대 겸임교수·행정학 박사 email@example.com
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