Dean Jerrold Ross, St. John’s U Hosts Korean Teachers
The School of Education hosted a professional development program for 37 teachers and 3 supervisors from Gyeonggi Province, the Republic of Korea (South). The main goal of the program was to expose Korean teachers to various instructional strategies for nurturing creativity of the gifted and differentiating curriculum based on their individual differences. Dr. Seokhee Cho, the Coordinator, structured the program into 3 phases: 3 days of lecture and workshop, 5 days of school visits and 4 days of cultural experiences.
A video conference with crews at NASA had the teachers experience a simulation program on how to define and solve problems caused by an eruption of a volcano. They also analyzed data transferred from the planet Mars to the earth. In addition, more than 10 leading scholars on gifted education including Dr. Rita Dunn on Learning Styles at St. John’s U. and Dr. Joseph Renzulli, the Director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented were invited as speakers.
The teachers visited 13 schools in New York City for 5 full days. Exposure to programs for the gifted contributed to the Korean teachers’ realization of various alternatives for serving gifted children. The educational institutes included private and public schools, self-contained gifted classes and special schools for the gifted, and magnet programs for the gifted from elementary, middle and high school levels. Teachers also kept journals on school visits every day. Finally, they submitted reports comparing the programs between NY and Korea and drew implications for improvement of Korean gifted education programs.
The Korean teachers were impressed most by the NY teachers’ passion and efforts to differentiate instruction for each individual child, whether the child is gifted or learning disabled. Korean teachers envied NY Teachers since the NY teachers can concentrate on instructional activities only, while Korean teachers are responsible for many administrative tasks in addition to their instructional duties.
The leader of the teachers, Mr. Park Doo Hee, expressed his satisfaction with the Professional Development Program as being 150 percent. Based on the request of the Superintendent of Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education, Mr. Jin Choon Kim, Dr. Jerrold Ross, the Dean of the School of Education, presented a proposal for future collaboration via Mr. Park.
The Korea Times, The Korea Daily, and the Times Ledger published reports on the success of the Professional Development Program for Korean Teachers at St. John’s University.#