Dance Education in Korea: Dance Education Gains Ground in the Academic Curriculum
Byeon, Jae-Kyung, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
In Korea, dance education has experienced a revolution in order to make it a more academic subject for today's students. The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (www.mest.go.kr) has continued to revise dance education from the first national curriculum (August 1, 1955) to the seventh national curriculum (1997), and through the announcement of the seventh national curriculum reform bill (2009; table 1).
Table 1. History of the Korean Dance Education Curriculum Date Dance Education Characteristics The Ist 1955 * Division of educational content by school Curriculam grade * Lack of definition for objectives and content * Focus on foreign folk dance The 2nd * Goal establishment by school grade Curriculum 1963 * Emphasis on physical improvement * Imbalance in dance education The 3rd * Division of folk dance and creative dance Curriculam 1973 * Suggestion of dance education as a significant portion of the curriculum * Encouragement of Korea's folk dance and play * Effort for systematization in creative dance The 4th * Included dance theory, although insufficient Curriculum 1981 * Folk dance * Division of Korea's folk dance and foreign folk dance The 5th Formation of balance in theories and practical Curriculum 1987 skills The 6th * Establishment as part of the art curriculum Curriculum 1992 * Recognition of dance as lifelong education The 7th 1997 * Creative dance Curriculum * Korea's folk dance, foreign folk dance optional The 2007 2007 * Elementary creative activities: movement, Revision rhythmic, folk, thematic/creative expression * Junior high modes of creative expression: esthetic, modem, and traditional The 2009 2009 Emphasis on "creative expression" Revision Adapted from the ministry of education, science, and technology (n.d.)
In the seventh national curriculum, dance is categorized as an "expressive activity" within the physical education curriculum with the primary purpose of fostering creative and rational thinking. The educational objectives of the elementary curriculum are to understand the expressive elements of physical activities, to acquire diverse ways of expression, and to learn how to appreciate dance. The educational objectives of the secondary curriculum are to understand the value of expressive activities, to learn how to express oneself in a creative manner, and to appreciate such activities (Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development, 2007).
In kindergarten and the first two years of elementary school, dance is offered as part of "inclusive courses" and is emphasized as comprehensive education that incorporates physical, musical, and formative activities. In kindergarten, dance is covered in the "healthy life" and "expressive life" curricula. In first and second grade, dance is covered in the "merry life" course under the chapters of play and expression, appreciation, and understanding. From third to sixth grade, dance is offered as an expressive activity in the physical education curriculum. In middle school and the first year of high school, dance is taught as a specific unit in the physical education course. Finally, in the second and third years of high school, dance is offered as an elective course.
The efficacy of dance education has often come into question (Byeon, 1984; Ha, 2008; Kim, 2002; Lee, 2009; Park, 2005; Ryu, 2006). Despite the structured physical educational system and related policies, dance education largely exists as a course in name only, without achieving its unique goals. …