Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Korean Student Pointy-Sense: The 24 Hour Test/Assignment Point Radar Phenomemon in Korean Students

Anyone who has taught a class in Korea that has tests, assignments, or anything to do with evaluation-based points has experienced the . . .

Korean Student 'Pointy'-Sense

Oh my god! I have a test tomorrow!
Oh my god! I have an assignment due tomorrow!
Oh my god! There's a point somewhere nearby!

Temporal proximity is the one thing that guarantees student motivation in Korea. I really do think it's safe to say that there is no other thing that 100% of the time will guarantee student motivation.

Tomorrow at 2:10pm students of mine have a research paper (if I can call it that, lol, it's 3 pages) due. I told them that they needed to get me to approve the research article they have to find and write about . . .

A few of the more mature and responsible students actually did email me about their assignment FIVE DAYS ago. I was thrilled that they were taking the initiative and planning ahead. They are, however, the exception that proves the rule.

The critical importance of motivation in language learning gets reinforced every time I give a test or take in assignments. If instructors find the right motivation triggers in students a kind of magic can take place in terms of what is learned, MASTERED, and REMEMBERED.

I am unhappy with my culpability in the fact that the students emailing me about the assignment tomorrow did not learn, master, and remember the instructions for the assignment. They also don't seem to have comprehended what a 'research article' is as I keep getting news articles and editorials sent to me for approval . . . sigh.

I now fully comprehend why I had to submit a research precis for my 4th year research papers during my English degree. I also now have a greater degree of understanding as to why the research precis was GRADED, and why it was due 2 weeks before the actual due date of the research paper itself.

This was deliberate on the instructor's part to try and proactively and preemptively avoid the typical inexperienced mistakes students make when they don't know how to do something, didn't pay attention when instructions were being given, and don't have enough MOTIVATION to learn, master, and remember what their instructor has said because the 24 hour point radar is not going off in their heads . . .

Hey, wait a second--it happens in western cultures too.

I wonder if there is any actual difference in university students in Korea in comparison with undergrads in North America, other than English language ability, in terms of the 24 hour point radar phenomenon . . .

Anyways, my own kind of Spidey sense is tingling cause I'm anticipating a barrage of emails between now and 11pm when I told my students I'd no longer reply to their frantic emails . . .

Wish me luck,

NOTE TO SELF: Have a small portion of the assignment points for a research proposal page that must be submitted at least one week before the due date.

1 comment:

Charles Montgomery said...

I dunno,

I think the difference is there. I notice it with my students AND with administrative functions. My Uni has a translation institute for which I edit and we ONLY get things at the last moment. The same is true for grant applications or even requests for information from me.

When I think back to how complicated my hiring process was, because nothing was ever produced before (and only sometimes at) deadline? I age a bit faster. ;-)

The "Ppali Ppali" nature of Korea comes, partly, from frequently doing things at the last minute.

I am in my office today (no instruction) helping the transfer office and a student do some very simple paperwork for an overseas uni. Could have been done at any time. Even had a checklist of things to be done. But when it came time for a letter of recommdation from a foreign professor? The call went out yesterday for a letter due today. ;-)