South Shields school forging new links with South Korea

Sixteen teachers from South Korea have visited the North East to see how the region's schools operate

South Koean teachers on a visit to Marine Park Primary School in South Shields
South Koean teachers on a visit to Marine Park Primary School in South Shields

Watching Sunderland play a home league match was on the timetable for South Korean teachers visiting the North East.

The teachers took in the match to see fellow countryman and Sunderland midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng.

They then used the football backdrop to help pupils at North East schools to make links with South Korea and its culture.

One of the 16 teachers on the month-long visit was Hyon-Sook Kang, who was based at Marine Park Primary School in South Shields.

She introduced a Korean “keepy up” game called Jaeki into the South Shields playground, and used a South Korean board game, Yat, to feed into maths teaching.

She also introduced pupils to the South Korean version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (Chunhyang Jyeon).

Comparisons were also made between the River Tyne and the River Han in South Korea.

The 170-pupil Marine Park School is twinned with Ms Kang’s Do Hwa Elementary School at Incheon on the north-west coast of South Korea.

The teacher exchange programme is being co-ordinated in the United Kingdom by CCE (Creativity, Culture and Education).

The scheme is part of a wider multi-national programme of teacher exchanges organised by the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding under the auspices of UNESCO.

The teacher who has been chosen to take part in the exchange from Marine Park Primary School is Year 5 class teacher Christopher Mackley, 30, who lives in Jarrow.

South Korean teacher Hyon-Sook Kang with John Anglin
South Korean teacher Hyon-Sook Kang with John Anglin

Christopher has been working at the school for the past two years and will be making the reverse journey to South Korea from July 2 to 23.

He said: “The exchange programme is enriching from both a teaching perspective but also for the children.

“It’s a wonderful scheme which makes the children more aware of other countries and different cultures.

“It’s an amazing programme that has enabled us to explore the similarities and differences in culture, teaching and learning.”

He said that one of the main differences was the emphasis on helping individual pupils in the UK whereas teaching in South Korea was more based on instructing the whole class.

During her stay Ms Kang was given a tour of South Shields Town Hall by Mayor of South Tyneside Ernest Gibson and John Anglin, who is the chairman of governors at Marine Park.

She met local artists, Paula Turner and Frances Anderson who worked with the Marine Park school children to create their Light and Kite festivals.

She also spent time with Marine Park’s horticultural artist, Emma Norris, who runs the school’s garden club and showed how it uses its outside environment to stimulate learning and teaching.

Mr Gibson, said: “The teaching exchange is a clever means for two diverse cultures to learn about their traditions and ways of living.

“It was a privilege to show her around the Town Hall and share stories about South Tyneside’s history. I hope she had a fantastic visit and goes home with some wonderful tales to tell.”

Ms Hyon-Sook Kang’s school in South Korea has over 800 pupils.

She said: “I have found the cultural and teaching exchange with Marine Park a wonderful experience. It has given me the opportunity to observe a different style of teaching that I can learn from and take back with me to Korea.

“I have found several elements very impressive during my stay, from how the teachers individualise their teaching relationship with the students through to the English pupils’ way of thinking.”


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