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Can Korea have academic achievement plus well-being? The case of Hyukshin schools

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Abstract

Korea is recognized around the world for its performance on international educational assessments and the economic development its educational system has facilitated. However, there is also a deficit in well-being among young Koreans. In response, Korean educators have developed alternative, whole person approaches. This article reports a study of one such approach, the “Hyukshin School” movement. We describe the theory and practice of Hyukshin Schools, drawing on interviews, school observations and artifact collection at 16 schools in Seoul. These schools embody progressive, whole person principles familiar elsewhere, and they integrate these with distinctive Korean ideas. This case of educational change illustrates how one reform movement is engaging the tension between highly competitive academic achievement and well-being.

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Funding was provided by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

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Correspondence to Stanton Wortham.

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Wortham, S., Shim, C., Kim, D. et al. Can Korea have academic achievement plus well-being? The case of Hyukshin schools. J Educ Change 25, 393–415 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-023-09497-3

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