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영어로 글 잘 쓰는 법 - Exercise (2)

아래의 글은 예전에 저와 함께 공부하던 고등학교 2학년 학생이 IEEC(International English Essay Contest)의 예선에 참가하기 위해 작성한 글입니다. 물론 이대로 제출한 것은 아니고, 당연히 제가 수정하고 첨삭해주었습니다. 깊게 고민하여 자신의 글을 써보고, 자신이 쓴 글을 스스로 교정하여 더 낫게 만들려고 노력하고, 또 다른 사람에게 수정과 첨삭을 부탁하여 비판을 받는 것은 글쓰기 실력을 향상시킬 수 있는 가장 좋은 방법입니다.

아래의 영어 에세이를 읽기 전에 제가 쓴 “영어로 글 잘 쓰는 법 (1) – 논리란 무엇인가”“영어로 글 잘 쓰는 법 (2) – 수사란 무엇인가”를 읽어보기 바랍니다. 이 학생이 쓴 글에서 문법적 오류 같은 지엽적인 것만 살펴보지 말고, 글을 읽는 사람을 설득할 수 있는 구성과 논리와 수사를 고민해보기 바랍니다. 글을 쓰는 궁극적 목적은 글을 읽는 사람을 설득하는 것입니다. 서유럽 문명권의 수사학적 전통(rhetorical tradition)에서 수사란 결국 설득의 기술(art of persuasion)이라고 정의됩니다.

서유럽 문명권에서 살아온 수 많은 사람들이 어떻게 글을 써야 읽는 사람을 설득할 수 있는지 고민하여 찾아낸 기법이 바로 수사입니다. 물론 이런 수사적 기법을 중고등학교 시절 자유롭게 구사하기란 쉽지 않지만, 좋은 글을 많이 읽고, 많이 생각하고, 많이 써보면 글쓰기 실력이 늘게 됩니다. 아무쪼록 이 글을 읽는 학생들의 분발을 기대합니다. 그 당시 IEEC의 논제는 다음과 같고, 그 아래 바로 예전에 저와 함께 공부한 학생의 글이 이어집니다.

Write a formal essay for your teacher on the following.

▶Many people say that Korean students’ scholastic ability has lowered. What is your opinion about this criticism? Provide reasons for your argument.◀

You should write about 700~1200 words

Marks will be given for:

  • content & relevance (22%)
  • range of grammar and vocabulary (22%)
  • accuracy of grammar and vocabulary (22%)
  • organization (clarity of argument) (22%)
  • mechanics (punctuations & etc.) (12%)

The causes of decrease in Korean students’ scholastic ability and the ways to cope with them

The looming fact that Korean students’ scholastic ability has declined puts many people into the abyss of anxiety. It seems that the decline in scholastic ability presents itself not as a problem confined to students of certain age level but as a problem for all students. Though some argue that Korean students’ scholastic ability hasn’t actually declined, we cannot help thinking that scholastic ability did decline, with many announcements concerning the decline in scholastic ability being made.

One step we should take before arguing that Korean students’ scholastic ability has dropped is to define what the scholastic ability means. Formally scholastic ability is defined as knowledge or ability one has gained through education.

Although it is unreasonable to measure scholastic ability with the past standard at the time when social and cultural atmospheres are changing rapidly, the fundamental meaning of scholastic ability, as an essential ability to acquire from education the knowledge to live a life, has never been changed.

Since education is critical for a country’s future competitiveness, decline in Korean students’ scholastic ability presents a large burden to our country.

The decline in Korean students’ scholastic ability has been pointed out by the professors and the teachers who have spent long time teaching students and many test results support the overall decline in Korean students’ scholastic abilities.

In elementary schools a large majority of first and second graders receive 20~30 points out of 100 in dictation tests. The 9th graders who took scholarly rating test in 2002 conducted by Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education got average score below a failing mark of 60 in English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science.

Also according to scholastic achievement evaluation results announced by Korean Institute of Curriculum & Evaluation in 2001, more than 40% of students got average below basic scholastic ability level in Korean, English, Social studies, Mathematics, and Chinese characters.

Recent tests executed by Seoul National University measuring freshmen’s basic scholastic ability also show the trend of decline in scholastic ability clearly. In the mathematics test executed in Seoul National University few years ago 7.7% of science and engineering department’s freshmen got below 30 points out of 100, failing the test and at TEPS taken by freshmen in 2005 16% of the students got below 500 points out of 990, implying that they were not qualified enough to take the courses which are given in English in the university.

As a result, universities are lowering their course level and are dividing classes into superior and inferior classes. Even in some institutes of science and technology students are required to take additional basic courses to supplement their lack of knowledge in fundamental studies.

Many other incidents clearly express the decline in scholastic ability especially in fundamental subjects.

What is the cause of this decline in basic scholastic abilities?

Several major reasons are eminent.

First, we can point out the education policy disregarding our current educational conditions and mimicking western education system. It is said that our education system often imitate that of Japan. Ever since Japan practiced education emphasizing “power to live” and “composure” it decreased the overall quantity of studying required. Japan began to stress students’ initiatives and self-study efforts so much that it neglected other more important knowledge.

As a result faculties’ leadership in studying has weakened, ultimately lowering students’ scholastic ability. Our country is facing the same problem caused by the introduction of 7th education curriculum. Although 7th education curriculum supports open, active, and student centered education, preexisting deficiencies in educational conditions and irresponsiveness of students led to the overall decrease in quantity and quality of studying.

Second reason can be found in the education system which has focused excessively on the university entrance exam.

Academic clique centered social structure in Korea has triggered extreme competition in university admission. Every single interest of students and schools is centered on entering universities and the school curriculums reflect these interests. Both in schools and institutes teacher-centered cramming lessons and memorizations are prevalent instead of participating education and in-depth discussion. Forced studies by teachers are replacing self-reliant studies. Students are only solving CSAT(College Scholastic Ability Test) level questions, generally low-leveled and limited to prepare for CSAT. It would be hard to expect any student’s scholastic ability growth in this kind of education system.

Finally, we can think of the high school equalization policy.

Opinions are sharply divided over equalization policy’s effects in regard to lowering scholastic ability.

But if we look at the analysis of equalization policy’s effect on scholastic achievement performed by Kyung Hee University, we can see that even though low-level groups showed higher scholastic achievements in equalization areas, the upper-level groups showed lower scholastic achievement.

PISA(Programme for International Student Assessment) result in 2003 showed that even though general students’ scholastic ability was high, the upper 5% students’ scholastic ability was low, a result of equalization policy.

Most people do agree with the idea that equalization has played a special role in declining upper-level students’ scholastic ability.

I, having transferred to an independent private high school from a general high school, know the situation far better than others.

In general high schools, even though there are many students wanting to study, conditions for studying are not prepared.

Discussion or researching classes that increase both students’ thinking ability and understanding ability as well as satisfy students’ intellectual curiosity are rare. Some students even bother other students who want to study.

Though 7th education curriculum let students choose the subjects right for their aptitude lack of teachers and one teacher teaching several subjects made each class uninteresting and superficial.

Consequently, students are losing their interests in learning. They are giving up their desires to learn which ultimately leads to upper level students’ lowering scholastic ability.

In case of the independent private schools it is much more likely that students will be able to satisfy their desires through education. Since the students with similar levels study together, each student can benefit from other students by learning and helping among themselves. Through discussion and participation, students’ interests in learning are increased and they can learn to accept various opinions. Teachers also possess expertise and enthusiastically teach students helping them deepen their knowledge.

By attending these schools one can carry out self-led education, acquiring more knowledge and deepening the interests toward learning. Confidence which would be a byproduct would help students too.

Though I could not find much interest when I was in the general high school I began to find great interests in learning when I entered the independent private school and could find my scholastic ability greatly increased.

Equalization? Well, it might be needed. However, the equalization that causes students to lose their interests in learning might better be revised in order to increase students’ scholastic ability.