by Yooie Yun,
President of Korean Parent Group at Closter Public Schools, NJ
Last Year, Korean Parent Group of Closter decided to send La teacher or a school official to a trip to Korea. We were approached with this great opportunity organized by the Sejong and BCKAPA, and learned that other towns in Bergen County have already done this in the past. There were series of discussions at the parents' meeting in the beginning of the year and the majority of the responses was positive. The parents worked hard voluntarily to raise money through various fundraising events.
There are several factors as to why the Korean Parent Group of Closter strongly supported the idea of this program. Closter schools presently consists of 30% and plus of Korean students. These students are either American-born Koreans or Korean-born Koreans (children of immigrated families or expatriate families). With such a large number of the student population being Koreans, maybe there might be a need for better under- standing of the Korean culture.
Korean culture, like any other culture, has its very unique and distinctive characteristics, especially when it comes to education. Because of such a cultural difference, there could be a conflict with a Korean student and the school. In order to avoid such situations, it is important to understand the students` cultural backgrounds. If a teacher can actually travel to Korea and experience the daily routines and also observe the school systems, this could help with the better understanding as to where Korean students come from. Of course, not everyone can experience this but through presentations of the ones who have, other faculties, administrators, and parents can get some ideas as well.
This program, by all means, might not answer all the quesitions nor solve all the problems. But, what we, as a parent group wanted to accomplish by participating is to say that we are very supportive of the Closter school system, faculty and administrators. This could be a start of something that can continue throughout the years that would help understand the growing, Korean student population; and we will also continue to support the school in anyways we can.