CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: August 6, 1999
South Korean science teachers attend UI for two months
IOWA CITY, Iowa Some 20 South Korean science
teachers are at the University of Iowa for two months to assist with faculty
research, visit high school classrooms and redesign curriculum for use when
they return to their own classrooms.
The visitors, who arrived Monday and will stay until
Sept. 25, are all high school teachers who specialize in earth sciences, such
as geology, oceanography, astronomy and paleontology.
Robert Yager, a science education professor in the
UI College of Education's Division of Curriculum and Instruction, said the
visit is being paid for with $180,000 from the South Korean Ministry of Education.
He said the UI science education program has had a working relationship with
South Korea for several years and that interest in the exchange of ideas about
science education reform in the United States is growing in that country.
"They've really liked what we've done," Yager said,
adding that dozens of South Korean teachers have come to study at the UI over
the years, individually or as part of other workshops. "I think it's giving
us some respectability in terms of changes in Iowa."
The teachers will be broken up into several groups
and will work closely with UI professors of astronomy, geography and geology
on research projects, primarily by reading research papers. Ongoing symposia
will give them a chance to share what they've learned with one another and
to listen to guest speakers, including former astronaut George D. "Pinky"
Nelson, a native of Charles City, Iowa, who flew on shuttle missions STS 41-C,
STS 61-6 and STS 26, accumulating more than 410 hours of space flight.
The teachers also will get a taste of education --
and home life -- in America by visiting 10 high school science classrooms
and spending several nights in the homes of Iowa hosts.
Toward the end of the visit, the teachers will work
with UI faculty to restructure one module of their curriculum so they can
apply back home what they learn here.
Myung Shin, a native of South Korea who is working
on her Ph.D. in science education at Iowa, has worked for three years as an
informal liaison during these visits, arranging accommodations, translating
and coordinating activities. She said the South Korean government considers
science education a national priority.
"Every parent wants the kids to learn science very
well," Shin said. "We link science to economic security because the government