Camp Humphreys, South Korea – Eighteen teachers from Anseong Girls Middle School in Anseong City, South Korea, visited the Humphreys Middle School, part of the Department of Defense Education Activity, on Camp Humphreys, Mar. 10, 2023.
The Anseong Girls Middle School is scheduled to be remodeled later this year, but the staff seeks to include modern educational facilities, which may include adopting designs from Humphreys Middle School, which is only seven-years old.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to see an advanced American school like Humphreys Middle School and to gain the insights for the remodeling project for our school,” said Cho Jun-ki, the principal of Anseong Girls Middle School, who accompanied the teachers on the visit. “I was also thrilled to learn more about the school’s curriculum, teaching methods, and student support services.”
The Humphreys Middle School faculties welcomed the local teachers and showed them nearly every corner of the school, including classrooms for various subjects, the gymnasium, cafeteria, and auditorium. The Humphreys school teachers and staff explained not only the facility but also took time to explain how they integrate technology in the classroom.
“I think it’s amazing for us to build relationships and partnerships with counterparts,” said Alicia Stephens, Assistant Principal of HMS. “ We hope they found a lot of things they could incorporate into their new buildings.”
Throughout the tour, the Korean teachers asked an array questions. Some questions focused on class size and curriculum, while other questions were more complicated, such as handling disruptive students and the inclusion of students with disabilities.
“With the curriculums in Korea and the United States being so different, there seems to be a lot of difference in class composition, which felt new and refreshing, said Lee Na-young, an Anseong City teacher, who has been teaching for two years. “It would be good for us to reorganize our new classrooms so students can participate in various activities at school.”
The Anseong Girls Middle School teachers were surprised to see the middle school organized more like a college, with students having the freedom to choose electives beyond course requirements. Many of the HMS teachers were unaware that it is not unusual for Korean students to stay in the same classroom all day, with teachers rotating in and out throughout the day.
After spending nearly three hours touring the school, several American teachers joined the Korean teachers in one of the faculty break rooms to further exchange ideas. They discussed effective teaching methods and how to cope with various challenges. Despite differences in culture and language, many of the teachers could relate to each other’s experiences.
“We would like to invite the Humphreys Middle School teachers to our school once the remodeling project is completed,” said Cho. “We appreciate this opportunity and the hospitality of the Humphreys Middle School and the U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. It was truly a great experience for me and my staff.”