Chanpil, who smoothly shifted how Korea Broadcasting System produce videos from analogue to digital, is now offering an immediate and feasible alternative solution to overcome a lag in public education innovation. It is by rapidly shifting educational paradigms that suitable for the 21st century will be developed.
The New Idea
Future Class Network is a national community of teachers who invent, test and implement innovative educational methodologies, which Chanpil found in 2014. Chanpil is empowering teachers to shift their classes from lecture/textbook oriented to an activity based learning environment. Since he sees classrooms as the final frontier and reality of education, he is tapping public school teachers’ capacities instead of taking conventional approaches such as resisting public education system or settling alternative solution at outside. Therefore, he is lowering barriers to entry for most teacher’s involvement. Future Class Network provides tools, tactics, and experiences for making classroom student-centered. Its teacher training provides a safe environment to teachers where can fail without any caution to overcome fear. Teachers can be an active learner, creating a new idea, and making teaching methods by cooperating with other teachers who are teaching different field and grade. The process lets teachers first practice collaborative problem-solving for themselves and ultimately teach the skills of changemaking with a team to students in their classrooms.
Future Class Network was successful to expand nationwide, rapidly. Future Class Network teacher training camps are funded by local Offices of Education. Changing the environment created a ripple effect, and resulted in 29 teacher camps and 2,500 teachers. It was the nationwide movement. Since teaching methodology has been accumulated and evolved, Ministry of Education adopted Future Class Network’s teaching method as part of its science education policy in 2018. Also a governor of Gyoung-gi Province where is the second-populated in South Korea is supporting him to utilize a 20,000 ft2 village used to be English town without additional cost to conduct not only teacher training, student training, but also diverse education experimentation and dialogue.
Chanpil is accelerating change by media exposure. Not depending on bureaucracy, he is growing the network as a grassroots movement. To ignite teachers’ engagement, he produced 3 documentary series about education innovation and televised Korea’s largest public broadcasting system: ‘ 21st-century education revolution: in search of future class’, ‘1,000 Flipped classrooms’ and ‘School’s evolution: Classrooms that Change the World.’ He filmed how ordinary teachers in suburban schools outside of Seoul Metropolitan innovated their classes. Powerful storytelling encouraged teachers to overcome a school lag in innovation. His media engagement was successful to expand nationwide, rapidly. After running pilot ‘Flipped Classroom in 3 schools located in Busan, he expanded the class in 1,000 classrooms nationwide within a semester. As of now, 15,000 member teachers have experimented with the new approach in about 10,000 classrooms driven in a year and a half period.
According to Program for International Student Assessment, the grades of Korean students in 2012 marked top while their satisfaction and happiness with school did the opposite. Only 60% of 15-year-old students felt happiness in school. Korean students, although they ranked 1st in math, but ranked 60th out of 65 countries in learning motivation, self-confidence, functional motivation. Teacher as an occupation in Korea is very stable thus much sought after career by many talented individuals. However, 1 out of 5 teachers says he or she regrets choosing the career (highest in 34 OECD member nations). So, by looking at numbers and figures, he thinks there is no one that is happy in a classroom. The reason why everyone feels miserable is due to Korea’s deeply-rooted ‘college entrance’-centered education policy. Student aptitude test in Korea is multiple choice questions, so teachers have been giving one-way information feeding lectures. Since grades were the only barometer in college entrance, top-ranking students were fierce competition while the rest of the class gave up studying entirely, resulting in a class lacking in energy.
Lag in public education despite changes occurring in the world is not just Korea faces but the world. “Students in Korea waste 15 hours a day in their school and academy for knowledge that will not be needed and for jobs that are not going to exist in the future.” As Alvin Toffler, renowned future scholar points out, the failure in Korea’s education is deeply linked to a future failure of the society despite its high emphasis on education. An information transmitting education which was customized to the era of industrialization may be efficient for now, but won’t be of little use in the future that is soon arriving. However, teachers in Korea have been people who are highly talented and have successfully adapted to the education system that was developed during the industrial era. That meant overcoming the fear of changing from providing knowledge to knowledge using and problem-solving. On top of that, teachers were not given autonomy to make changes and learn skills to innovate classes. There have been always a few passionate teachers who are innovating education, however, finally failed in wide-spreading their innovation to ordinary teachers in public schools. The reason why innovation spreads slowly is that a field of education is filled with lots of experts. Scale-up education system inside has been very difficult.
Chanpil’s intervention in a systematic expansion is the teacher's training. His new approach of seeing teachers as problem-solvers, not patients who need treatment, is engaging opportunities to re-start education by implementing future classes. Mostly, the training let teachers experience the effectiveness of collaborative problem-solving, triggering self-initiated expansion.
Future Class Network provides teacher training. A key characteristic of training camps is giving teachers maximum freedom instead of one-way lecture. This gives a teacher the first experience of becoming a facilitator, not a lecturer. For example, Chanpil consciously mixes and match different elements for change to break away from inertia. From the first teachers training camp of Future Class Network, he focused on teachers’ experience in collaborative problem-solving. Conventional teachers training is run by few instructors with many audiences, Future Class Network training camps are run in small groups by the grade they teach and subject matter. The intent is for teachers to come outside the textbook and reach out to one another. Having changed the name of ‘case study presentation’ to ‘learning field,’ the candidate ensured every participating teacher is not left out in sharing their ideas and testing them in a session such as ‘Idea Market.’
To sustain such new approaches Chanpil has been conducting regional teacher's’ meetings along with regular training camps. As a community, Future Class Network also supports teachers to develop a class model that stimulates learning, through teamwork regardless of subject or grade. The district-level meetings were designed for teachers to continue experimenting new teaching methods by receiving emotional support from colleagues that they know the atmosphere of each other’s school.
Child-centered education changed the teachers whose self-esteem and efficacy was kept falling. The education generated health relationship between teacher and students, and students started not to sleep during the class, which is abnormal in the current education system in Korea. Student’s academic grade and personality are also improved. Teachers are evaluating the system as a powerful system that teacher experiences once then never go back to the previous system. Teachers are sharing their quality methodology without competing with each other. The movement transfers to real power for expanding of Future Class Network.
Future Class Network is leading two teaching methods: (1) Flipped Classroom (2) Collaborative Real-World Problem Solving Classroom.
As Chanpil thought the classroom needed to be changed, he decides to change the environment where proactive learning initiated by students is conducive. He then designs ‘Flipped Classroom,’ his adaptation from ‘Flipped Learning’ in the United States according to the context of Korean education. Normally, students are given a lecture at school and doing homework at home. However, it follows the flow of lessons in ‘Flipped Learning,’ where the lecture is watched via video at home, then students team up with their friends for group discussion and activity at school. Chanpil emphasizes maximizing communication and cooperation in a classroom, so Flipped Classroom doesn’t give a lecture during the lecture hour. It is not just switching the order of lecture and homework, but the subject that leads the learning shifts from teacher to students. Now there are about 10,000 Flipped Classrooms in K12 public schools. A ratio among active teachers in an Elementary, Middle and High school are well-balanced.
When the child-centered education is settled in a classroom, it’s ready to unlock students’ potential as much as possible. Hence Chanpil has begun ‘Collaborative Real-World Problem Solving Classroom’. The project is operating as a class or club activity in school. Students are experiencing the entire process of solving a real problem with classmates during the class or club activity. For instance, Eojin Middle School attempted to solve the problem where birds’ death due to collision with school noise-blocking wall by placing birds of prey stickers on the wall. The students would then use the Pythagorean theorem to determine the height and size of the sticker. Through such lessons, the children learn that their growth in capacity to think and find a solution is the skills they need to live in the world. This project has been implemented in 20 schools during last semester.
Those two teaching methods are fit with existing evaluation tools. He proved that students in Flipped Classroom and Collaborative Real-World Problem Solving Classroom got better grades compared to before. In the meanwhile, Chanpil is continuing his efforts to develop different models that trigger new types of learning that go beyond Flipped Classroom, and Collaborative Real-World Problem Solving Classroom. He operates action research based on the problem that teachers found at class. The process generates new education model and accordingly invent assessment tools.
Outside of school system, he is creating demand for the new teaching methods. He invited one of the chiefs of local Offices of Education at the first camp. After the chief decided to support spreading the camp financially, other local Offices of Education started to fund to open Future Class Network teacher training camps in district-level. And Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Creativity also saw the validity and diversity of class models and registered ‘Flipped Classroom’ as an agenda for its science education policy of 2018. Now, as a new class model such as free semester policy is available, Future Class Network will expedite the rate of influence with its tested cases. Also, he just started Lab School with the Gyounggi Province governor’s support. It is established in English Village, Paju. He now has access to free space without additional cost to conduct not only teachers training, teacher-student training, but also diverse education experimentation and dialogue.
Chanpil is accelerating change via active engagement with Media. As a former producer at Korea’s largest public broadcasting company, he wanted to prove that ordinary teachers could innovate their classroom that restores a healthy student-teacher relationship, raises their grades, and motivates them. And he produced documentary series, in which he has experimented a new education methodology with regional public school teachers in Busan, Southern Gyounggi, and Chungcheong Province. The documentary helped increase teachers’ awareness of lag in public education, understand 21st-century education frame, and motivate them to ask themselves “what could I do to change?” and to look for ways to implement the solutions themselves.
Chanpil was born in 1968 in a rural area of Seocheon in Chungcheong Province. He is the youngest among 5 siblings. His parents always felt deeply about the importance of education as they were not schooled. However, he was very bored in school to the point of contemplating drop out. The question mark that followed him was “Why can’t I study the things I need to know?” Having decided to study one more year for college entrance, he achieved 300 points out of 320 from an intense 3-month study and majored in Journalism at Seoul National University. The question mark was “It seems multiple choice exam gives naturally intelligent children advantages. How could it be a fair test? And guessing right does not seem that important a skill. Then why are we competing in this manner?
Even during the early part of his career at Korea Broadcasting System, he recognized a power of journalism and broadcasting. Since the 90s, He has shed light on inefficient and ineffective education practices (additional lecture, and night-time free study session). Because of his reporting, the Office of Education implemented the new policy that gives freedom to schools in Daejeon area. Afterward, he produced a documentary that covers shoreline erosion caused by road construction and simple steps to solve such problems. The documentary played the critical role in stopping road construction near the shoreline and bearing a loss of twenty million dollars in changing lanes of the highway.
Chanpil was more than a journalist. The fact that KBS transitioned its production system from analog to digital is attributed to his proactive role. Not only did the transition save billions of dollars, but his initiative changed the way contents were created. His interests and network in digital technology led him to Apple’s education conference in 2013. He was only one non-education expert from Korea in the conference. He heard a story that old education system that is fit for industrial age will not foster people future industry will need. There, educators said hence children need to be taught 21st-century skills. He thought that such dialogue was futuristic and decides to ‘flip’ Korea’s education in such critical time of transition. As he founded Future Class Network with the objective to shift public education paradigm, he now has closed a chapter in his career as a journalist and is determined to integrate all his experience and insights for his new goal.