What happened to the Social Studies Education after the Sewol Ferry Disaster and Candlelight Rally in Korea?
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Sewol ferry disaster
significant social events
teaching current issues
The purpose of this study is to discover the changes in classroom practices affected by recent significant events such as the Sewol ferry disaster and Candlelight rally in Korea. The sinking of the Sewol ferry and the mass protests known as Candlelight rally are the most important events that raised political awareness among Korean youth in recent years. Young people felt a strong connection to the high school-age victims of the ferry accident in 2014 and the administration’s fumbling response to the rescue created political distrust in government. Also, the political scandals that led to President Park’s impeachment sparked youth participation in the massive protests that erupted in 2016 and 2017. In this study, a focus group interview was conducted with seven secondary social studies teachers to discuss what happened in their classes after these two emotionally charged events. The interview revealed that these two events produced various educational responses including safety education, commemorative events, and classroom discussion. Also, the two social incidents provided rich and vivid sources of political education and raised students’ interests in social issues. Teachers preferred the role of ‘neutral moderator’ when implementing the classroom discussion on controversial issues. School leadership and parent influence gave a significant impact on the way of teaching social issues related to the incidents.
The Journal of Social Studies Education in Asia
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The International Social Studies Assosiation
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Graduate School of Education