Korea Day 3: Lead, Invent and Think

July 27, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here


Yesterday, I had 3 classes to teach. In the leadership class I told them it is okay to be a follower. That was probably unexpected by most of the kids. For some reason most of the kids have been taught that money, success and leading is everything. I didn’t want to disregard everything their parents have taught them but I wanted to highlight about being happy in life. I asked them what they thought a leader is, got some good responses:

– responsible

– integrity

– hard working

– intelligent

– vision

– brave

The one thing we spent a lot of time on was my thought of:

Birth ————— Death

I guarantee that everyone will die and everyone was born. I talked about how everyone knows they are going to end and that life is about maximizing the part in between.

I asked them “why they watched the movie Titanic when you already knew the boat was going to crash?” It is because all the good stuff in the middle is the fun part to watch. I kept highlighting for them to find what makes them happy, determine their own success and live life for themselves.

Think: Scrap Booking

Every day I am responsible for having them be creative and work on there scrap book. Yesterday, I decided that everyone MUST draw a dinosaur. The first day they could do whatever they wanted, the second day they had to draw or cut out from a newspaper things they wanted to be when they grow up and yesterday was drawing dinosaurs. I wanted to highlight that regardless of everyone doing the same thing almost every dinosaur looked different.

Invent: Create it

For invent class I made the students get into teams of 4 and gave them a folded paper.

What / How

I wanted the students to identify a problem and how they are going to solve it on one side. They have to draw a picture of the solution and describe it.

Who / Why

On the other side they have to say who is going to use it and why. Then draw a picture of that person and describe them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 responses to “Korea Day 3: Lead, Invent and Think

  1. Nedra Weinreich Reply

    Noah, you seem like a natural with the kids. You have such great ideas and they seem both age-appropriate and helping them to see the big picture of business/life. Do you speak with the kids through an interpreter? Have there been any interesting culture clash moments in which your approach or the kids’ responses didn’t make sense to the other? I’m enjoying your trip vicariously. 🙂

  2. noah kagan Reply

    thanks for the comment nedra.

    This camp is for the top students in Korea so they all speak English relatively well. There have not been anything crazy in terms of culture clashing but just learning and adjusting to the students.

    1- They don’t get all my jokes even though I know they are funny. Heck I even laugh out loud at them.
    2- I have to tailor the material to them, so I try to use movies, books and people that are international. Such as Harry Potter, Superman and Bill Gates.
    3- The kids do NOT like speaking in front of others and HATE criticizing others. I make them practice public speaking and let the other students provide feedback. They don’t give any.

    I worked at other camps and tutor kids every week so this is definitely something I love to do. Somtimes its hard to believe I can get paid pretty well for this. I will try to do more cool things so your vicarious adventure is fun:)

  3. Jesse Brooks Reply

    It is hard for me to believe that these 12-13 year olds said Integrity and Vision for leaders. If this is the case, we need to do serious research on the way Korean children are brought up.

    Think how great it would be if 12-13 year old Americans were that wise. It seems like 12-13 year old Americans just watch tv and have no clue about current events.

    We need to invest in the leaders of tomorrow and I think Noah is doing his part in this task…BUT just currently in the “wrong” country.

    More companies should require their employees to volunteer at local schools and teach lessons in leadership and social responsibility. I recognize the importance of making employees pick up trash or work at local food banks, but educating children is like infecting them with the Michelangelo computer virus. The impact is going to spread exponentially and have a great effect on everyone in society.

    Thank you teacher of America and the World.

    …now if we could just agree on the “correct” curriculum!

  4. noah kagan Reply


    Great points. They didn’t say all those words exactly but were hinting at them. Most of the time as a teacher it’s about bringing out ideas/thoughts/feelings in students. Getting them to think about things. These are also some of the best students in Korea.

    One thing about Korean students is that they are EXTREMELY obedient. I spend some of the time teaching English to the kids and I can leave the room and on returning they are still working. As well, we must give them 2-4 hours of hw a night. They all turn it in with reasonable quality the next day. THe 2 kids I tutor in San Jose can hardly sit still for a few minutes and they are 16=P

  5. Raphael Kang Reply

    Have the students give anonymous feedback through a piece of paper.

    Some students may be hesitant to criticize for fear of getting beat up. (Happens quite often in public Korean schools.)

  6. Daniel Reply

    I’m glad you’re still alive. 😉 It sounds like you’re doing such great things with the kids. Wish I could be there with you, but also really happy that you were the one to take my place.