Sunday, October 8th, 2017...10:20 am

Korea Workshop 2017

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Paradigm Shift- Cultural Reform in Mathematics Education in Korea To Foster Positive Dispositions towards Mathematics

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The trip was an invitation from the Korea Society of Educational Studies in Mathematics  (President Wan-Young Cho) to participate in a National Assembly forum to discuss theimportance of enhancing the culture of mathematics education and workshops in Kyungnam Office of Education hosted by the Kyeongnam Director of Education, Park Jong-hoon,

I was able to invite another math education colleague from USU and two doc students in math ed leadership – Sara Birkhead, Presidential scholar and Kathy Matson, Dean Scholar.

Director of Education from Kyeongnam Province, Park Jong-hoon, says that this change requires a cultural movement. As part of that movement, he funded the first Math Cultural Experience Center, that was envisioned by a local school teacher. This brings family and children together to explore and enjoy the wonder in mathematics.

This was part of larger and long-term math education initiative that celebrates the nation’s first Math Cultural Experience Center in Gyeongnam that was designed to bring children and families together enjoying mathematics. This effort is in large part to promote a more positive productive disposition towards mathematics. Internationally Korean students excel in mathematics as documented in TIMSS Studies. These international comparative studies showed that Korean students consistently achieved high scores not only in mathematical skills and procedures but also in problem-solving, but had very low interest and confidence in mathematics. Such negative attitudes toward mathematics have been problematic. This led curriculum developers and mathematics educators to highlight that students need to appreciate the value of mathematics and develop positive dispositions toward mathematics as articulated in the objectives of school mathematics.

Shifting the Focus on not just achievement in math but the affective aspects of teaching mathematics: Students Building a Closer Relationship with Math- Seeing Mathematics as Empowering!-Theme of Suh’s talk

Inquiry-based student centered instruction with a focus on Math modeling, STEM education fostering 21st century skills creativity, cooperation skills, communication skills, critical thinking skills, and solving problems that are needed to solve complex real world  problems.

Through case studies of research lessons, I shared how students engaged in community-based service learning projects that included a coin harvest and meals for families. In addition, I shared how we have provided Free STEM camp for students and a workshop for teachers to integrate STEM into their elementary curriculum. These powers were personally relatable for students but also demonstrated how math could be used as an empowering tool for students. The authentic nature of community based problem context now only allowed teachers to engage learners but teacher reported that students were able to link their curriculum lessons to meaningful contexts that students cared about.


Our trip included a workshop in Busan on Tuesday 9/13/17 with 50 elem, middle and high school teachers. National Assembly on Friday 9/16/17 Workshop and another workshop on Sat 9/17/18 with teacher leaders/curriculum designers called the Mathematics Task Development Research Team.

The international forum was a great opportunity to deepen our partnership with Korean Mathematics Educators  and look for ways to collaborate on future teaching and research projects. It is exciting to be involved in this cultural revolution that is forward thinking and for the enhancement of the Korean students and teachers. I hope to build on this foundation and help build an  infrastructure as the Korean math educators and leaders strengthen the foundation of the mathematics education ecosystem, such as bringing together mathematics education experts, teachers, local governments, education institutes, and parents for the improvement for the learners of all ages.

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