Global Leadership Program for Students (GLPS) at a glance
GLPS is a biannual English immersion camp held by the Korean Minjok Leadership Academy (KMLA) for upper elementary and middle school (fifth to eighth grade) students. Held one month each in January and July/August, the curriculum is meant for those whose intention is to experience education in a Western format, or for those whose aspiration is to eventually enter the preparatory school. Leadership development is a prime focus within the school's teaching efforts. The first camp was held in 2004, and though subject matter has gone through the vagaries of selection, a typical prospectus consistently comprises history, debating, writing, mathematics, and physical education. Class size is about sixteen.
From winter 2007 the school has written its own text books; from winter 2008 all students have participated in debating; and until 2009 all students had written and held a speech, presented a history topic, and engaged in a competitive debate (all additional to core work). In winter 2010, a pilot class was introduced whereby middle school students partook in twelve hours of history and of debate classes—students delivered one history topic and participated in two debates—per week. Over the course of several camps, the above format is extant in about half of the program.
The program follows a student-directed, inquiry-based approach. As the program is demanding, coaches (teachers) gain the trust of students to convince them to embrace mistakes. Students are treated with regard, as equals, and their opinions are taken seriously. Because the term `class' connotes homogeneity, compulsion, whereas `community' connotes diversity, membership, the environment is referred less often as a class but rather as a community. Such an environment demands a revision in conventional instruction.
Teacher micromanagement is negligible, support is ubiquitous, and trust is central to the program. The coach acts merely as a support system, providing space in which students grow to gain ownership of learning. GLPS students learn to manage their own time. They learn to form their own opinion, conduct research, and practice—unfettered—in the act of public discussion. Such an environment, though congenial, accessible, and commodious, is at first unfamiliar. The coach sets a tone to gain trust trust, respect, and standards for the community. The majority of KMLA students enter their teaching assistantship after completing Mr. Alexander Ganse's advanced courses in European history, world history, or both.
Coaches not only accept mistakes but also even encourage students to recognize their importance. Coaches regard mistakes as an opportunity in two ways. First, a mistake provides an opportunity for fellow students to point at it in their comments. And, second, if the mistake is uncovered, it provides the coach occasion to explain the nature of that mistake and a strategy or two to avoid it. Therefore, the coach actually hopes that students, during the course, make the types of mistakes with which not yet dealt for such opportunity to happen. The community sees that even coaches "boil with water" (are imperfect). Furthermore, without mistakes, originality cannot be developed. Because the nature of scientific inquiry is built upon a foundation of trial and error, community members quickly become aware about the process of failure, and its centrality to originality. That is an aspect of the scientific methods, after all: lost in the maze, one must consider every path, no matter how unlikely, or risk progress. Only then can students feel ready to handle the discussion segment that follows each presentation.
The history program is developed and managed by Alexander Ganse with the focus on developing macro skills. Up to sixteen students meet twelve hours per week, and each student delivers four presentations across the month (history of science students present only three). Following each presentation is a discussion segment moderated by the coach but led by students. As questions are initially few and far between, the coach may intervene to direct focus on some outstanding point, discuss an issue, or give praise.
In a tailored sequence, history in week one centers on presentation skills, and then from week to week research is incrementally given greater emphasis. Students can learn to provide constructive criticism to their classmates. The history program in its present form is the result of continual iterations since the program's 2004 inception.
In winter 2010 a topic on ancient Greece was treated (students based work on Homer's Iliad, Herodotus' Histories, and the Penguin Atlas of Ancient Greece). Presently, prospecti in ancient Greek, Roman, and Medieval history are offered in parallel to anticipate repeating participants.
The course provides the opportunity to learn, practice, and refine—and to strengthen in those already proficient in—the following skills:
- to look up any word not understood,
- to learn how to perform fact-checking,
- to distance oneself from questionable statements,
- to learn how to form an independent opinion,
- to learn how to recognize a bias, and how to balance a biased account,
- to improve presentation skills,
- to recognize contradictions,
- to precisely express oneself.
Presentation and Discussion
The emphasis in week one is on presentation skills. Then from week to week the research element is given greater emphasis. Students learn how to provide criticism to their classmates. At first the market on comments centers on eye-contact, vocal variety, stage presence, and volume. By the second week comments about the actual content emerge as truer talking points. Students receive scores for asking their peers questions. Coaches take a more passive role in the segment until the very end, to chime in some important points, underscore or emphasize asked questions, or point out exemplary aspects of the presentation. The purpose of the evaluation is to motivate, not to criticize. Students debate about ideas, not about other students. By the end of camp, students can become accustomed to the concept of secondary sources at times containing flaws; some of them begin to question, in some cases even catalog mistakes in textbooks themselves. By learning to look at the work of classmates from a coach's perspective, the students learn to look at their own work differently. By then they can better perceive, appreciate, and attempt at ownership, independence, and originality, at their work.
History of the sciences program at a glanceArthur E. Michalak. The program's featured course is History of the Sciences before 1600, a one-month survey of scientific contributions from recorded history to before the apex of the scientific revolution. The syllabus covers the Confucian and Buddhist East, pre-Muslim and Muslim center, and Hellenistic and Christian West natural philosophies; loosely, "Eastern", "Middle Eastern", and "Western" natural philosophies. Because modern civilization is focused on science and technology, and modern science is a continuation of "ancient" science, one would not exist without the other. Students read, write, research, discuss, present, and interact in the blending of humanities and natural sciences. Presentations are between five to seven minutes, PowerPoint® or electronic media content are disallowed, and students are provided with an extensive in-class book and digital video library.
As in the history program, students who enter the course are normally 14-15 years old, Korean, and typically more than half claim international experience abroad (about ten months, mostly in North America). Level placement is based on English proficiency assessed on a written sample, test, and oral interview (sometimes twice). Actual course placement is indiscriminate on preference (i.e., applicants beforehand do not apply for a spot in history of the sciences).
Purpose of GLPS2
As in history, the purposes of history of the sciences are to gradually lead students to
- use primary sources in academic English,
- ask good questions,
- be independent,
- be original,
- organize a presentation.
However, the purpose of this course is not to develop expertise in content. There is no demand placed on the student to become, by the end of camp, an expert in history or natural sciences or both; students are never required to master historical, scientific, or technological concepts.
But, two disclaimers are made. First, though a sense of understanding of the material is unnecessary, it does not, on the other hand, mean that ignorance of it on the part of the teacher or student. Priority is on exposure to research but concepts central to a claim, conclusion, or comparison is to be a discussion topic during presentation time. Without some understanding of the science, its history is valueless. For example, to study the controversy concerning Louis Pasteur and aspects of his record-keeping to find the anthrax cure, a literature review of not only the social circumstances common among the French academicians in 1881, but also of microbiology (e.g., germ theory of disease and bacteria then, anthrax, vaccination, inoculation, some laboratory equipment and processes), is needed beyond just a surface-smattering.
The primary approach of the course is historical. Like any other historical research, textual research is fundamental. All material is weighed and analyzed. By the end of the month students see that they should not become addicted to sources. Since so much source material has been lost during history, it would be unwise to refuse any assumptions just because it has not been found in the extant literature.
The course surveys scientific contributions from the West (e.g., Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, European medieval), Middle East (e.g., ancient Near East, Mesopotamia, world of Islam including al-Andalus), and the East (e.g., in what is today China, Japan, and Korea). Because regions change with time and the treatment depends on time, and as numerous exceptions exist (e.g., ancient Egypt, Jewish science in the Middle East, Hellenistic limits, to name a few) it needs to be prefaced that the three "regions" function more as guides than regional boundaries. The focus is on science before 1600—before then all three "regions" were in equanimity in productivity among their departments of knowledge.
Use of History
From a historical point of view the student has to put the information into the context of the time the idea was developed, the invention was made, or when the person lived and researched. A lot has been said about a scientific concept and scientist. However, it is difficult to find how things were done before or, what was believed, before that time.
Does this course help later?
Of course. In addition to learning about research, presentations, and discussion methods, the material is preparation for later science courses. As high school education is generally weak on context, the knowledge learned here for those who want to read in both natural sciences or humanities or both is excellent background. The content is a platform for material later covered in areas such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, geosciences, and physics; and is a suitable introduction to studies typically read in history, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and ethics. Through this course a student can get a `jump-start' towards the high school science curriculum typically encountered in two years time.
Why a History of Science?
What has ancient science to do with modern civilization? Sarton puts this simply—Modern civilization is focused upon science and technology, and modern science is but the continuation of ancient science; it would not exist without ancient knowledge.
It is only quite recently (in the past 110 years) that modern development has made ancient science a matter of past history. In various departments of knowledge, in the sixteenth century, the best available and most up-to-date books were ones written about 1,500 years earlier. For those academicians who lived in the 1500s, Archimedes (d. 287 BC) and Galen (d. 199) did not represent history books but to them the latest popular texts. They wrote some of the best ideas about the movement of objects (mechanical) and structure of living things (anatomical) around. Even in the eighteenth century for the founder of industrial medicine, Bernardino Ramazzini (1633-1714, active in Padova), Hippocratic medicine (460 BC–370 BC) represented a living tradition, just as for one of the most original social thinkers, Giambattista Vico (1668-1744, active in Napoli), the philosophy of Lucretius (d. 55 BC) could supply the standard for a new science of society.
Archimedes (d. 287 BC) and Galen (d. 199) wrote some of the best books about the movement of objects (mechanical) and structure of living things (anatomical) in their time. And yet, Ramazzini, the founder of `industrial medicine', claimed that those two books in the year 1700 were considered the most up-to-date treatises on library bookshelves.
Is GLPS2 biased towards other cultures?
Though inadvertent, yes, it is. The course is reconciled towards the Western viewpoint, and for three reasons: knowledge, practicality, and time. First, the teacher lacks an understanding about Middle Eastern and Eastern science and technology. Second, the majority of our books even written about the Middle East and East are by Western authors. Third, the course is much too short to comprehensively cover a scientific sweep of those two crucial areas.
The history of the sciences course maintains a generous book selection. Books are typically purchased, loaned from the KMLA Library or Seoul National University Library. Through a mix of age appropriate and college level texts, atlases, and digital media, student conduct genuine book-based research. Reading and writing skills are stressed.
- ↑ For more information about the history program, please visit WHKMLA: World History at KMLA
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Sarton, George (1954). [URL here Find title]. Publisher here. p. 3. ISBN ISBN here. URL here.
- ↑ Salomon, First Name (Year here). [URL here Find title]. Publisher here. p. 53. ISBN ISBN here. URL here.
- ↑ Sun, First Name (1997). [URL here Find title]. Publisher here. p. page. ISBN ISBN here. URL here.