Jotter - Slap happy in South Korea

30th July 2010 at 01:00
South Korea may be at the top of international league tables for pupil achievement, but is the country's strong showing about to be eroded - by an outburst of ill-discipline?

The case of a slap-happy teacher in the capital Seoul, succinctly known by the name of Oh, is gripping the nation. He is alleged to have repeatedly assaulted his pupils over "trifling issues", according to The Korea Times.

In debates reminiscent of the Scottish disputes of the 1970s and 80s, some teachers predict the demise of civilisation as we know it if they lose the right to chastise. The law is also less than clear, suggesting that corporal punishment is fine "for educational purposes" - a good spanking for those who don't do well in international tests, perhaps?

Koreans are nothing if not precise. The authorities allow caning with a stick "less than 60 centimetres long and two centimetres in diameter." A case of Oh k.

Teaching to the test - or not

Further answers have come our way from pupil tests, providing justification for why teachers need long holidays:

- What is a nitrate?

Much cheaper than a day rate

- What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common?

Unusual names

- Where was the American Declaration of Independence signed?

At the bottom

- What is the highest frequency noise that a human can register?

Mariah Carey

- Can you explain the term "free press"?

When your mum irons trousers for you

- What is a standalone computer system?

It doesn't come with a chair

- Where was Hadrian's Wall built?

Around Hadrian's garden

Splitting hairs

Flanders and Swann are all too familiar with any teacher who's put on a school show - but how about the Curriculum for Excellence management board duo, Flanagan and Lanagan? It emerged at the EIS annual conference last month that the contributions of one were occasionally attributed to the other in board minutes.

It's an easy mistake to make: Larry Flanagan and Terry Lanagan are, er, follicly challenged. But, since Flanagan is the EIS's man on the CfE board and Lanagan represents the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, any wrongly-attributed comment could be catastrophic (surely not - Ed).

We understand the problem here at The TESS. Confusion has often surrounded Bill Boyd and Brian Boyd, two frequent contributors. And we have to keep a keen eye on two former education deans - Iain Smith of Strathclyde and Ian Smith of Paisley, the latter affectionately (but necessarily) known as either "one-eyed Ian" or Ian Paisley.

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