Opinion: How to Deal with Violence in Korean Schools

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Today the Korea Herald published some disturbing statistics about violence in primary schoolsGusts of Popular Feeling did a pretty thorough analysis and overview of the most recent disturbing acts that were brought to media attention.  However, both the newspaper article and the blog article made me want to talk about what we as teachers can do to help cut down on bullying.

Be aware of your surroundings. When you walk through the hallways, don’t just condone bad behavior. Stop it, and if you have a minute explain why it’s not okay in English or Korean. If you lack the language skills to do so, get their names and bring it to the attention of their co-teacher and ask them about maybe talking to the students.

Today the Korea Herald published some disturbing statistics about violence in primary schoolsGusts of Popular Feeling did a pretty thorough analysis and overview of the most recent disturbing acts that were brought to media attention.  However, both the newspaper article and the blog article made me want to talk about what we as teachers can do to help cut down on bullying.

Be aware of your surroundings. When you walk through the hallways, don’t just condone bad behavior. Stop it, and if you have a minute explain why it’s not okay in English or Korean. If you lack the language skills to do so, get their names and bring it to the attention of their co-teacher and ask them about maybe talking to the students.

Be respectful. On the first day of classes I emphasize rule number 3: be respectful. That means no hitting, no laughing at your peers when they make a mistake, being nice to each other.

Be available. Take time to talk to students in off hours. Even if it’s just saying hi, smiling and asking how they are. 

I’m sure there are a million other things that more experienced teachers could tell me about how to cut down on bullying (please add your bit in a comment!). Sometimes we are limited by the language barriers but every small thing we do helps. Maybe this post is just stating the obvious but it’s hard to read about violence and bullying in schools without wanting to do something to help.



1 thought on “Opinion: How to Deal with Violence in Korean Schools”

  1. I’m also interested in seeing

    I’m also interested in seeing what suggestions people may have on the subject. It is a huge problem in Korean society and it’s a quite serious one. You can really mess someone up in the head the way some of these kids treat each other.  This type of stuff is what produces school shootings and mass murders.  Luckily, firearms are not readily available or I think things like Columbine and Va Tech would happen very frequently in this country.  The problem is, in a conformist society like Korea, even the kids tend to conform to the way in which the majority of the kids around them behave. This is owed to peer pressure and fear of becoming the ‘wang-dda’ of a class, group or what have you. Your suggestions are great but in all honesty, kids are going to nod their heads with a ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ attitude in the presence of a teacher, then go back and do the same exact thing when unsupervised. the root of the problem, as i’ve seen it, is just one kid. one kid that no one really has the courage to step up to, that is in control of the problem. friends of this kid will join in and then others. there are definitely a few in the class that know this is wrong and want to do something but can’t in fear of what may ensue. that is my theory anyways. it really is a difficult issue to tackle…but one i hope gets resolved regardless.

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