Amy S. Choi, author, discusses the primary education systems in South Korea, Finland, and the United States. All three countries approach the education of children in a variety of different fashions and each with their own individualized success rates. The first education system that Choi touches on is the rigid Korean structure, in which students are expected to be nothing less than exceptional. South Korean students are taught in a community-oriented setting that is extremely stressful. The next education system that the text describes is Finland’s. The Finnish educate their children in a manner that encourages intrinsic motivation and involvement in extracurricular activities with in a low stress environment. The American education system revolves around extended classroom time and with little student engagement or interest.

The success rates associated with these different education systems directly support many of the key concepts from IMT. For instance, the most successful of the three systems appears to be the Finnish, which involves very little control or regulation. These students are not mandated to spend time sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, but are instead encouraged to join extracurricular activities that interest them. Finnish students are also given the flexibility to choose what matriculation exams they wish to take. The shift in Finland’s education system to this model has turned what was one of the worst education systems in the world to one of the best.

The Korean system is certainly interesting to look at from an IMT angle. There are aspects of the system that are successful, however, overall it is very much a type C environment. The system does achieve some positive results as shown by the nation maintaining a 100% literacy rate. The nature of the community-orientation of South Korean classrooms harbors an environment in which peers can learn from one another. Though these are positive qualities, the Korean system discounts the importance of reflecting upon personal strengths and weaknesses. The emphasis on maintaining a stressful environment is also another quality of Type C individuals and organizations. Amy S. Choi concludes her piece by discussing the broken aspects of the American education system and what the United States (U.S.) can apply from Finland.

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Comments (3)

  1. Jeffrey Vu


    As a person of Asian-American descent, I can understand how stressful educational expectations are in Asian culture. I also agree with the concept that people learn better in lower-stress environments. From personal experience I have always found it much easier to learn when I find interest in the topic, and when I have less to worry about; when less idle thoughts are present to distract me from focusing on the task(s) at hand. Interesting read.

  2. Tim Honan


    From an IMT point of view the Korean system does fit with the C-type individuals. However it goes against one of the central focuses as it creates a high stress environment. That is why statistically Finland has a higher success rating in the education system. This high stress environment for students is detrimental to their physical, mental, and psychological health. This is shown in another video posted by student Young Mo Ku where she states the number one cause of death of people under 40 in South Korea is suicide , where 38.3 suicides occur for every 100,000 people (Yonhap news 09/9/11 – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). The low stress and encouragement of type-A thinking is incredibly beneficial to all aspects of education.

  3. Eddie Vinciguerra


    This article makes me think of the phrase “no pressure no diamonds” alluding to the metaphor that without stress something great can’t be achieved. As the Finnish use an interesting tactic of stress free learning it is hard to give up the idea of pressure creating results. Despite that notion, Finland’s education system works and thus supports the IMT theory.

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