Hello to the members of CYE.com! This is Ilchi Lee.
Last month, on April 18th, I spoke at a Brain Education Conference in Queens, New York. Approximately 250 principals, educators, and parents attended this event. I heard the news that parents of students in New York had begun a movement to end testing. Coincidentally, what I presented in my lecture that day was also about a school that has no tests. It’s a school I established in South Korea last year called the Benjamin School for Character Education
This school is missing five things: In addition to tests, it also doesn’t have a school building, teachers, textbooks, or homework. When I said I would make a school like that, at first, many people warned me that it wouldn’t be viable. They expressed the opinion that, even though existing schools have teachers who give classes, homework, and tests, the students still aren't getting proper attention. So if those things are eliminated, they wondered, how could the students be cared for?
But it turned out to be a huge success. The 27 students who were admitted the first year experienced truly incredible changes, and as a result, 479 students were admitted the second year. Through individual as well as collaborative projects, they learned how to actualize their true value
and lead self-directed, creative lives. There are no teachers at this school, but there are 500 mentors, so the students can receive help at any time when they're working on their projects.
The modus operandi of the Benjamin School for Character Education is that it isn't systematized lessons, homework, or tests that are important. Rather, each student should experience confidence and a sense of achievement, self-esteem and a sense of their presence, and that they are able to help people and society.
Allow me to share with you a video that shows how those 27 students from the first year changed and the response from their parents. After you watch the video, please share how you feel.
* The "Benjamin" in Benjamin School for Character Education hails from Benjamin Franklin's name. The school was named after Benjamin Franklin because he lived a life that became an excellent example for prodigies of character and integrity. He started working as a printer when he was ten years old, and although he only attended two years of school, he set the formation of his character and integrity as the purpose of his life and worked endlessly on his self-development as he dedicated himself to the greater good. Thus, he was active as a respected American politician, scientist, inventor, diplomat, businessman, and author, and he also stands out as a pioneer of time management and self-development.
At the Benjamin School for Character Education, the term "insung youngjae," or "prodigy of character and integrity," refers to talented people who adopt the completion of their character and integrity as the purpose of their life. They design their life in an independent and creative way for their self-development and for the sake of accomplishing what’s best for the common good.
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