May 13, 2010

Middle School Students Oppose Reunification

What a difference a sunken ship makes. Last year I would pose the question of Korean reunification to my students and nearly all of them agreed that Korea must be one nation. The students would explain that families are separated and that people were starving. In general the students showed a strong interest in a peaceful and united peninsula. I posed the question of reunification hours ago to my middle school classes. The result: 17-1 not in favor.

I was quite shocked. The reasons against one Korea were almost completely consistent with one another. All seventeen (in three different classes) pointed out that North Korea was communist and South Korea was a democracy. These words quite honestly are above most of the pupils vocabulary and it makes me wonder if there is a propaganda machine working overtime on opinion in South Korea. All of the negative responders also spoke of how poor North Korea was and that reunification would impact their current lifestyle. They made their speeches with indifference to the plight of neighbors once held dear along with a rather unkorean desire not to share. It was really odd. As I said, three different classes gave virtually the same response. There appeared to be no copying of other's opinions.

The one boy who spoke in favor of reunification was quite well spoken. His ideas were well thought out. He spoke of peace, helping those in need, reuniting families, and regaining lost elements of Korean culture. Interestingly he noted that it would be nice to be able to exit South Korea via an automobile.

If you are teaching on the peninsula currently I am really curious to learn how your students respond to the proposal. Please take some time and let me know your results and thoughts if you please.


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