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KSWP: An immersive learning program for Australian educators

South Korea is one of Australia’s most significant trading partners and the fourth-largest economy in Asia. Its dynamic democratic society has a rich and unique cultural heritage and strong historical ties to Australia as a result of immigration, history and our shared values. It’s also one of the top five OECD high performing education systems globally.  

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In 2017 the The Asia Education Foundation (AEF) partnered with the Korea Foundation and the Asia New Zealand Foundation to offer a nine-day study tour programme to Korea for secondary school educators to provide them with the opportunity to experience authentic Korea firsthand. 

Led by AEF Go Global Project Officer, Emeline Gillingham, the Australian delegation joint their New Zealand counterparts in Seoul for the 2017 Korea Studies Workshop on 6 October.

While in South Korea, participants met with education leaders and policy makers to discuss the development of the curriculum in Korea as well as the wider changing landscape of education.

‘The presenters from the curriculum authorities provided an excellent background for participants. They were knowledgeable and discussed in detail the picture of education, curriculum, assessment and reporting in the Republic of Korea.’

Engaging in a range of cultural experiences, delegates were supported in developing their knowledge about historical, social, political and economic trends in the country. The group visited the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), toured the Hyndai factory, visited a school where they also had the opportunity to share a meal with a Korean family, traveled to a traditional clan village and visited the Australian embassy.  

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‘At Korea Education and Research Information Service (KERIS) in Daegu, we were lucky to be part of a digital directions seminar depicting the future of Korean classrooms. Digital learning is being transformed despite some resistance. Information presented on the developments in the ICT industry and education was thought provoking, in particular the idea of a classroom that has ‘never’ spaces, one set area for (space) for everything. Allowing more ‘flow’, more collaboration and more student autonomy and creativity.’

Central to the programme was the lecture series at Ewha Womens University (EWHA) in Seoul. Hearing from Professor Kimsei-wan, Professor Park hyon-do and Professor Kyong-Mi D. Kwon the delegates were given the opportunity to participate in sessions and open discussion on language, culture, society, education, politics, economy and international relations with leading experts in Korea.

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‘The day at EWHA was a highlight for me in terms of learning - the lectures really connected everything we had been experiencing/viewing/hearing about. The quality of the lectures was outstanding and the lecturers were engaging and clearly experts in their field. Thank you for organising them to speak with us.’

The purpose of this in-country experience was to deepen teachers' awareness, understanding and knowledge of Korea and its relevance to the Australian curriculum, explore intercultural issues within the context of one of the world’s fastest emerging social, cultural and economic powerhouses and forge people-to-people links with individuals and organisations in South Korea that can support future curriculum collaboration.

'The opportunity to be part of this amazing journey through South Korea is something that will always be treasured. All educational leaders and policy makers to whom we were introduced and shared professional interactions were welcoming and engaging. It was a privilege to engage with professional leaders to enhance knowledge about the history, culture and economic miracle of South Korea. Hearing first-hand about the success of Chaebol organisations and visiting the Hyundai complex was a rare opportunity which provided a valuable context for text-book learning about the economic growth of South Korea.’

To speak to a member of our team about developing a tailored in-country study program, please email aef-support@asialink.unimelb.edu.au or call +61 8344 4800. 




AEF Professional Learning
Asia Education Foundation (AEF) has worked with the Korea Foundation over the past 23 years to offer Australian teachers the opportunity to participate in this highly-acclaimed international study program. 240 Australian educators have participated in KSWP since 1993. As a result, educators have gained first-hand knowledge to lead curriculum on Korea and supported the teaching of Korean language in Australian schools.

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