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Welcome to Fun and Easy Korean by KoreanClass101.com!
Did you know that most of the school rules in Korea were too strict and were once too difficult to follow?
여러분, 안녕하세요. 케이진입니다.
Hi everyone! I’m Gunhae.
In this lesson, you’ll learn the six most common rules about school in South Korea.
Students in South Korea follow different rules when it comes to the kind of hairstyle they’re allowed to have in school, the clothes they wear, even the person they date, and more!
In this video you'll learn…
First: 6 common school rules,
Then, Some more old rules!
If you’re planning to become a teacher or want to study in Korea, watching this video could be the best thing that will ever happen to you!
Why? Because you’ll be able to learn how to blend in with other students and you’ll know how to behave the right way when you’re in school!
The first rule is
Students in South Korea used to go to school on Saturdays but it stopped when the law changed in the year 2000. However, students are still required to attend 야자 (yaja).
[SLOW] 야자 (yaja)
It’s an abbreviation for 야간자율학습 (yaganjayulhakseup) [SLOW] 야간자율학습 (yaganjayulhakseup) which means "night self-learning." As the name implies, it’s a self-study program held at the school and was mandatory in the past. Today, students are given the freedom to choose whether to do 야자 (yaja) or not.
You will be studying in a quiet classroom when you’re on a 야자타임 (yajataim) or "night self-learning time," [SLOW] 야자타임 (yajataim).
It’s actually a huge help for students to plan their own study strategy or to do their 숙제 (sukje) or "homework," [SLOW] 숙제 (sukje).
Additionally, you can have your friend tutor you in the subjects that you’re not good at during 야자타임 (yajataim).
Students who are in their last year of high school or middle school typically do a voluntary 야자 (yaja). [SLOW] 야자 (yaja).
Now let’s do a quick practice on your pronunciation:
야자 (yaja): "night self-learning"
[SLOW] 야자 (yaja)
야자 (yaja)
야자시간 (yajasigan): "night self-learning time"
SLOW 야자시간 (yajasigan)
야자시간 (yajasigan)
숙제 (sukje): "homework"
SLOW 숙제 (sukje)
숙제 (sukje)
Next rule is
Did you know that in South Korea taking off your shoes is not only done in households? Students also take off their shoes in school!
Once you enter the school building, you are required to take off your shoes and wear 슬리퍼 (seullipeo) meaning "slippers," [SLOW] 슬리퍼 (seullipeo), or 실내화 (sillaehwa), meaning "indoor shoes," [SLOW] 실내화 (sillaehwa).
You can keep your shoes on 신발장 (sinbaljang) or "the shoe cabinets" found by the entrance of the school building. [SLOW] 신발장 (sinbaljang)
This rule is imposed to make sure that the floor is clean at all times. If you have to wash your 슬리퍼 (seullipeo) or 실내화 (sillaehwa) at home and you couldn’t wear it, expect to lose some points for not following the school rule.
The choice of the slipper or indoor shoe design or model varies depending on the school so it’s better for you to wait until the school announces which model and design you need to wear.
To make sure that you’re purchasing the right kind of indoor shoes, drop by the 문방구 (munbanggu) or the "stationery store," which is just outside the school. [SLOW] 문방구 (munbanggu)
Here is a vocabulary list you can practice pronouncing at home:
슬리퍼 (seullipeo): "slippers"
[SLOW] 슬리퍼 (seullipeo)
슬리퍼 (seullipeo)
실내화 (sillaehwa): "indoor shoes"
[SLOW] 실내화 (sillaehwa)
실내화 (sillaehwa)
신발장 (sinbaljang): "shoes cabinet"
[SLOW] 신발장 (sinbaljang)
신발장 (sinbaljang)
문방구 (munbanggu): "stationary store"
[SLOW] 문방구 (munbanggu)
문방구 (munbanggu)
A synonym is 문방구점 (munbanggujeom)
[SLOW] 문방구점 (munbanggujeom)
문방구점 (munbanggujeom)
Next is
Every time you enter the school door, there will be about five to six students and a teacher who will check you out from head to toe. This is to make sure that you’re wearing their uniform the right way.
I know it can get a little uncomfortable for you but that’s the rule in Korean schools.
The teacher who does this is 체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim) or a "physical education teacher" [SLOW] 체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim) (a.k.a. the scariest teacher at school) and called 학주 (hakju) [SLOW] 학주 (hakju) short for 학생주임 (haksaengjuim) [SLOW] 학생주임 (haksaengjuim).
On the other hand, the students who are assigned to this are either 반장 (banjang) meaning "class president" [SLOW] 반장 (banjang) or 부반장 (bubanjang) meaning "class vice president" from the final year of school [SLOW] 부반장 (bubanjang).
Since they are known as the top students and called 선도부 (seondobu) [SLOW] 선도부 (seondobu) or 바른생활부 (bareunsaenghwalbu) meaning "leading group" literally [SLOW] 바른생활부 (bareunsaenghwalbu) which is similar to a student council, other students highly respect them.
These are the things the students and the teacher will check from you:
That you’re not wearing any 악세사리 (aksesari) or "accessories," [SLOW] 악세사리 (aksesari) including invisible plastic earrings.
That you’re not wearing any 화장 (hwajang) or "makeup," [SLOW] 화장 (hwajang) including whitening sunscreen.
That you’re wearing a hairstyle that’s in line with the school rules.
That the length of your skirt is below your knees if you’re a girl.
However, not all schools follow the same rules and others are even stricter, especially if you go to an only girls’ or boys’ school.
Neglecting the school rules will cause you to lose points and it can affect your final score at the end of the semester or year.
If you do the following things, you will be more likely to lose points:
If you wear earrings, piercings, bracelets, and so on: -5 points.
If you’re not wearing your nametag: -3 points.
If you wear makeup: -5 points.
And the list could go on.
It’s important that you know the things that can cause you to lose points so you can avoid it, although points differ depending on the school. It’s always best to follow the rules.
Some teachers would make their students run the 운동장 (undongjang) or "schoolyard" [SLOW] 운동장 (undongjang) a certain number of times to punish students who do not do well during the final exams instead of making them lose points.
Are you ready for some pronunciation practice? Let’s try these:
선배 (seonbae): "one's senior in school; senior"
[SLOW] 선배 (seonbae)
선배 (seonbae)
체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim): "physical education teacher"
[SLOW] 체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim)
체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim)
악세사리 (aksesari): "accessories"
[SLOW] 악세사리 (aksesari)
악세사리 (aksesari)
Next is
The number of students in every class depends on which city you’re from and ranges from 15 to 35 students.
In order to have proper seating arrangements, students are allowed to sit anywhere, but your height must first be considered. Each student will be seated in their height order, so those who are shorter will sit in the front and taller students will sit in the last row.
Korean classrooms also have a personal 출석번호 (chulseokbeonho), meaning "attendance number" literally, throughout the year and this is done by height order as well. [SLOW] 출석번호 (chulseokbeonho)
For example, if there are 35 students in your class and you’re the shortest, then your number will be 일번 (ilbeon) meaning "number 1" [SLOW] 일번 (ilbeon) and if you’re the tallest, your personal number will be 삼십오번 (samsibobeon) meaning "number 35." [SLOW] 삼십오번 (samsibobeon)
You must remember your personal number because teachers call you by either your name or your personal number. For example, let’s say you're in a 수학교실 (suhakgyosil) or "math class" [SLOW] 수학교실 (suhakgyosil) and the teacher wrote down two mathematical equations to be solved by students.
If today is 8월 15일 (parwol siboil) meaning "August 15th" [SLOW] 8월 15일; who will most likely go to the front and solve the questions? That’s right. The two students whose personal numbers are number 8 and 15.
Also, the teacher may order students to do something, such as cleaning or other tasks, by 짝수 (jjaksu) [SLOW] 짝수 (jjaksu) or "even numbers" and 홀수 (holsu) or "odd numbers" as well. [SLOW] 홀수 (holsu)
Therefore, having your personal number is very important at school. You’ll also receive a different number every year so make sure you keep that in mind.
Here is a vocabulary list you’ll surely find useful in a Korean school:
수학 (suhak): "math"
[SLOW] 수학 (suhak)
교실 (gyosil): "class"
[SLOW] 교실 (gyosil)
8월15일 (parwol siboil): "August 15th"
[SLOW] 8월15일 (parwol siboil)
8월15일 (parwol siboil)
짝수 (jjaksu): "even numbers"
[SLOW] 짝수 (jjaksu)
짝수 (jjaksu)
홀수 (holsu): "odd numbers"
[SLOW] 홀수 (holsu)
홀수 (holsu)
Next is “No Dating Your Schoolmate”
Schools in South Korea believe that dating in school will affect students’ study. That’s why they disallow students to date their schoolmates.
For students attending only girls’ or boys’ high school, this won’t be a problem. But if you attend co-schools, you’ll need to be extra careful not to get caught.
It’s a serious issue if you date your schoolmate and could result in 징계 (jinggye’) meaning "disciplinary punishment" [SLOW] 징계 (jinggye’) or 퇴학 (toehak) meaning "expelled from school." [SLOW] 퇴학 (toehak)
81% of middle and high schools don’t allow students to date anyone in South Korea.
Unfortunately, dating in school is perceived as unethical behavior. Schools even reward students who report other students dating their schoolmate secretly. Another big issue that came out in 2011 was when a school surveyed the students to report same-sex dating.
Here are more terms used in Korean Schools:
학교 (hakgyo): "school"
[SLOW] 학교 (hakgyo)
학교 (hakgyo)
연애 (yeonae): "dating"
[SLOW] 연애 (yeonae)
연애 (yeonae)
징계 (jinggye): "disciplinary punishment"
[SLOW] 징계 (jinggye)
징계 (jinggye)
퇴학 (toehak): "expelled from school"
[SLOW] 퇴학 (toehak)
퇴학 (toehak)
Next is
You need to ask permission from a 선생님 (seonsaengnim) or "teacher" [SLOW] 선생님 (seonsaengnim) if you want to go to the 화장실 (hwajangsil) or "bathroom." [SLOW] 화장실 (hwajangsil)
You will have to raise your hand to let the teacher know and ask whether you can go to the bathroom. Unless you’re in the middle of an exam, most of the time the teachers will let you go to the bathroom.
You can ask your teacher this way:
선생님, 화장실 가도 돼요?
(Seon-saeng-nim, hwa-jang-sil gado dwae-yo?) which means, "Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?" [SLOW] 선생님, 화장실 가도 돼요?
(Seon-saeng-nim, hwa-jang-sil gado dwae-yo?)
South Korean Schools do not have 휴지 (hyuji) or "toilet paper" [SLOW] 휴지 (hyuji), so make sure you bring your own sanitary essentials.
If you ever forgot to bring toilet paper, try looking in your classroom since Koreans also use toilet paper for wiping the dirt off the desk or for blowing their nose and for other purposes.
Here is some vocabulary you’ll find useful when going to the bathroom:
화장실 (hwajangsil): "bathroom"
[SLOW] 화장실 (hwajangsil)
화장실 (hwajangsil)
선생님 (seonsaengnim): "teacher"
[SLOW] 선생님 (seonsaengnim)
선생님 (seonsaengnim)
휴지 (hyuji): "tissue"
[SLOW] 휴지 (hyuji)
휴지 (hyuji)
A synonym is 두루마리 휴지 (durumari hyuji) meaning "toilet paper" [SLOW] 두루마리 휴지 (durumari hyuji)
두루마리 휴지 (durumari hyuji)
Next is
Did you know that Korean students are used to bowing their heads to a teacher every class? It’s no longer allowed today though. Students were also expected to sit and prepare a textbook and a notebook on their desks before class.
South Korean students have their own classroom for themselves and the teachers are the ones who move around. As you can see, it’s very different from other countries.
Back in the day, when a teacher arrived to a classroom, 반장 (banjang) or "class president" [SLOW] 반장 (banjang) would stand and say 차렷 (charyeot) meaning "attention" loudly so everyone could hear. [SLOW] 차렷 (charyeot). Then the class president will either say 인사 (insa) meaning "greet" [SLOW] 인사 (insa) or 경례 (gyeongnye) meaning "salute."
[SLOW] 경례 (gyeongnye) . Then everyone had to say 선생님 안녕하십니까 (seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka) meaning "hello teacher" before the class [SLOW] 선생님 안녕하십니까 (seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka), and 선생님 안녕히 가십시오 (seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio) "goodbye teacher" after the class. [SLOW] 선생님 안녕히 가십시오 (seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio)
This has been banned recently because people believed that this was too conservative and it doesn’t help a teacher and the students establish a good relationship.
Another rule South Korean schools follow is not allowing students to alter the length of their skirts or the width of their pants.
치마길이 (chimagiri) or "the length of skirt" has to cover half the knee [SLOW] 치마길이 (chimagiri); if it’s shorter than this, you’ll get in trouble.
However, this really depends on the school. These days, students can alter their school uniforms to suit their body shape.
You must also wear what the school tells you to.
In South Korea there are three ways to wear your school uniforms:
The default school uniforms are 동복 (dongbok) [SLOW] 동복 (dongbok) or "winter uniform" and 하복 (habok) "summer uniform." [SLOW] 하복 (habok)
In between, there’s 춘추복 (chunchubok) or "spring/autumn uniform." [SLOW] 춘추복 (chunchubok)
Normally, each uniform has its set duration, so even though the weather becomes extremely hot, if you’re in the period of wearing 동복 (dongbok) or "winter uniform," you have to wear the winter uniform. [SLOW] 동복 (dongbok)
One more rule students follow in South Korea is regarding the student’s hairstyle.
The school will decide which hairstyle to do.
However, nowadays, students are allowed to do many different hairstyles. Girls can dye their hair, curl their hair, and untie their hair. Compare this to the old times when every girl had to have short hair, which must not grow longer than 3 cm (1.2 inches) below their ears.
Boys, on the other hand, can now grow their hair longer than they could a few decades ago, when every boy had to shave their hair completely. This rule also depends on which school you go to; some conservative schools still follow the traditional way of hairstyle.
두발자유화 is something that Korean students are fighting for because they believe that free hairstyle allows them to express themselves. This has been an on-going debate today. [SLOW] 두발자유화
Some schools still follow the traditional ways of disciplining students which can be a problem for some students.
Although the majority of Koreans have naturally black hair, there are some exceptions; there are people with natural brunette and even light brown, almost blond, hair. Others have naturally curly hair.
I know what you’re thinking! It is sad that these students will have to abide by the rule by straightening their hair or dying it black, although they were born this way.
Here are some interesting vocabulary words you can practice:
반장 (banjang): "class president"
[SLOW] 반장 (banjang)
반장 (banjang)
선생님 안녕하십니까 (seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka): "hello teacher" (honorific expression)
[SLOW] 선생님 안녕하십니까 (seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka)
선생님 안녕하십니까 (seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka)
선생님 안녕히 가십시오 (seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio): "goodbye teacher" (honorific expression)
[SLOW] 선생님 안녕히 가십시오 (seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio)
선생님 안녕히 가십시오 (seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio)
치마길이 (chimagiri): "the length of skirt"
[SLOW] 치마길이 (chimagiri)
치마길이 (chimagiri)
동복 (dongbok): "winter uniform"
[SLOW] 동복 (dongbok)
동복 (dongbok)
하복 (habok): "summer uniform"
[SLOW] 하복 (habok)
하복 (habok)
춘추복 (chunchubok): "spring/autumn uniform"
[SLOW] 춘추복 (chunchubok)
춘추복 (chunchubok)
두발자유화 (dubaljayuhwa): "liberalization of the hair code"
[SLOW] 두발자유화 (dubaljayuhwa)
두발자유화 (dubaljayuhwa)
Next is
As the years passed by, some rules were changed.
Students don't go to school on Saturdays anymore since 2000. 야자 (yaja) on the other hand used to be mandatory for everyone in middle and high school, but now students can decide whether they want to attend it or not. [SLOW] 야자 (yaja)
Students’ hairstyles were limited too, and students with brunette hair had to dye it black just because it was the school rule.
But this doesn’t apply to schools anymore. There’s no longer corporal punishment today as well.
Do you think it’s a good thing that they changed the rules? I’d love to know what you think about this!
In this lesson, you learned the different school rules in Korea. Although some were understandable, some were just a little too hard for most students.
However, you also learned that most of these rules have been changed and are no longer followed today. If you just got enrolled in a Korean school, you’re one of the lucky ones who no longer has to follow the strict rules of the past!
That’s it for today!
See you next time!
다음에 또 봐요!