About Korean American Education

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What is Korean American Heritage?

This page is to direct those interested in learning more about Korean culture to the vast available resources in the internet. Sometimes google search engines doesn't offer all the answers, usually does but I figure I will throw in a few websites that offered me assistance when searching for my Korean "roots".  

In regards to the American side I wanted to explore the historical importance of independent thinking and share a few resources in classical education that the forefathers of modern Korean Americans had learned from the missionaries of the United States. 

 
 
 

Excerpt of Philip Jaisohn (Seo Jae-Pil) from The New Korea, April 1, 1937 his thoughts on education (My Days in Korea and other essays by Philip Jaisohn edited by Sun-pyo Hong p. 266-268):

Education and Instinct
What makes a person intelligent? The universal answer is education. But to my way of thinking the answer is only partly correct. Education, of course, gives a person broader and varied information to enable him to weigh carefully and evaluate accurately the relative merits of different ideas on certain matters, but the final conclusion usually comes from the natural instinct with which nature has endowed all human beings, that is, the instinct of self-preservation and the desire all human activities of life have sprung and they will continue to spring as long as the human race lasts.

Why the Difference?
If all human races have this natural desire, then why do some races make progress in fulfilling this longing while others continue to retrogress and finally become extinct? This difference is due to the differences in their intelligence. The latter content themselves just by leading a vegetative life while the former continue to make every effort to improve themselves in various ways to realize their desire and to protect their rights in making these efforts. This difference is due to the difference in thinking-power which we call intelligence.
An intelligent person believes in thinking and doing things for himself in order that he may realize his natural longing while an unintelligent person, while he has the same desire, dislikes making the effort to realize it. In other words, he is mentally lazy and easily discouraged. The results of these differences in their mental attitude are demonstrated in the economic, physical and moral standards of the different races of the world.

Mental Laziness
There is no disease that is as fatal to a nation as mental laziness. It is worse than physical laziness as the latter always comes from the former condition. Physically lazy persons may be mentally active, but mental laziness never makes anyone physically active.
There is no greater curse to a person or nation than the laziness of the mind. When the cells of the brain function actively the physical part of the body obeys the will of these cells, except if the physical part is injured or paralyzed. Therefore, all mentally active persons are seat of power is in the invisible and intangible part of the brain cells and not in the muscles or bones of the body. They are there only to carry out the will of the central authority of the brain.

Differences in Talent
All brain cells are endowed by nature with the power of thinking, so every living creature does some thinking. It is an automatic process. But some think better than others and the same person may think more accurately and correctly on certain subjects than on other matters. Nature has endowed all of us with some thinking power on all subjects, but she did not give us all exactly the same degree of thinking power on all matters. Besides, the physical parts of our bodies are not the same. Some are large, some small, some tall, some short, some thin and wiry, and some thick and heavy. These differences in mental and physical make-up have a distinct advantage over a uniformity for all. If we were all alike in mental and physical endowment we could not make much progress in the various human endeavors which go to make up the civilized world. The world needs specially endowed and naturally talented people in every branch of human enterprise; we need great philosophers, scientists, financiers, economists, engineers, moralists, artists, musicians, inventors, physicians, military geniuses, statesmen, industrialists, and other specialists through whose trained minds and revelations present day civilization has developed. The task of making it a still better world is not completed as we need more and great leaders in these lines.