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Wellbeing in Personal Development: Lessons from National School-Based Programmes in Ireland and South Korea

Part of the Transdisciplinary Perspectives in Educational Research book series (TPER,volume 4)

Abstract

This chapter describes two programmes, with significant similarities and differences, that have been available in Ireland since 1974 (Transition Year; TY) and South Korea since 2013 (Free Year Programme ; FYP ). TY takes place over one full year as an integrated part of mainstream secondary education. TY students engage in developmental activities, vocational work experience, and increased interaction with the adult world. These experiences are intended to facilitate enhanced maturity and broadened horizons, supporting young people in becoming fulfilled citizens. Although TY is well-established within Ireland, it is an unusual innovation internationally. However, 2013 saw the introduction of FYP , which was partially informed by TY. South Korean policy-makers recognised concern about student wellbeing and stress in a high-stakes academic environment , and challenges relating to students’ readiness for the working world. FYP is a response to those concerns. This chapter offers an overview and comparisons between the two programmes. We argue that both are founded on a eudaimonic view of wellbeing in education, aiming for more holistic and rounded student development. Significantly, both programmes emphasise community engagement and interpersonal development, alongside personal development and self-directed learning. The challenges and practices identified offer lessons for educators in Ireland, South Korea, and other jurisdictions.

Keywords

  • Personal development
  • Maturity
  • Career exploration
  • Community
  • Social development
  • Citizenship

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Fig. 10.1
Fig. 10.2
Fig. 10.3

Notes

  1. 1.

    See https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Curriculum-and-Syllabus/Transition-Year-/Transition-Year.html and https://ncca.ie/en/senior-cycle/programmes-and-key-skills/transition-year

  2. 2.

    Although ‘programme’ is the spelling used in relation to TY and generally throughout this chapter, ‘program’ is maintained as the convention used in South Korea in direct reference to FSP/FYP.

  3. 3.

    See http://english.moe.go.kr/sub/info.do?m=040101&s=english and http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20130530000379

  4. 4.

    The concept of eudaimonia as one conception of wellbeing –in contrast to hedonic conceptions of wellbeing – is often attributed to Aristotle (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-ethics). Whilst hedonic wellbeing focuses on experienced happiness or pleasure, eudaimonic conceptions incorporate an ethical dimension and give more weight to the process of working towards a ‘life well-lived’ or a ‘good life’, rather than happiness as an outcome.

  5. 5.

    However, note that much of this research has been conducted with small samples, American university students, or with Asian-Americans representing all of Eastern Asia, which means that generalised conclusions should be interpreted cautiously.

  6. 6.

    ‘Junior Cycle’ corresponds to Grades 7–9 and ‘Senior Cycle’ to Grades 10–12. TY corresponds to Grade 10, but is not taken by all students. At the end of Grade 12, students sit a high-stakes terminal examination known as the Leaving Certificate.

  7. 7.

    The Folk High School offers residential adult education across a variety of subjects, depending on individuals’ interests, mostly for students aged 18–24 years old. The typical stay at a Folk High School is four months, although students can attend for longer or shorter periods. The Schools focus on personal and professional development. There are no exams but students receive a diploma to certify attendance.

  8. 8.

    The After-School is a residential school where students aged 14–18 years old can attend for 1, 2, or 3 years in order to complete primary education. They seek to provide a general education, but with an awareness of encouraging democratic citizenship and personal development.

  9. 9.

    Tenth Class is intended for students who have completed primary education but need further qualifications, time, or support in making choices for their further education. It includes short tasters of difference educational tracks and the option of attendance at short voluntary training courses.

  10. 10.

    And, as noted earlier, there is a small percentage of schools in which TY is not available to students.

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Clerkin, A., Jeffers, G., Choi, SD. (2022). Wellbeing in Personal Development: Lessons from National School-Based Programmes in Ireland and South Korea. In: McLellan, R., Faucher, C., Simovska, V. (eds) Wellbeing and Schooling. Transdisciplinary Perspectives in Educational Research, vol 4. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95205-1_10

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