Brain Clog

It’s a Saturday night before the last week of the term, and I am sitting on my desk briskly typing away journals, papers, assignments, DF posts and what-nots. I am getting antsy with the thought of impending freedom, however short-lived it may be, and my mind starts to wander. Here are the thoughts that have gone through my head in the past couple of days:

Somewhere in between the crazy, random thoughts amidst this mental congestion are my take-aways on assessment.

1. Ok, I can do this. There’s a week left of this term, and then I’m free.

2. I wonder if I’ll pass Audio in Multimedia. I hope I do. I pray I do. (fingers crossed)

3. I really should tweak that mid-week assessment for the class I’m running at work. Why do I need to do that again? Oh yeah, one of the sections turns out to be poorly-constructed and vague.

Check this out:

Untitled

Well, so much for copy-pasting online quizzes 😦

To be honest, I’d always found the task of creating assessments a tedious bore. Seriously, who wants the burden of creating assessments on a weekly basis (yes, that’s how often I do it. Well, I do recycle and tweak some questions or sections) when I have got to catch up on the latest episodes of Arrow and The Flash (to name a few). I concede. Grant Gustin can wait. No wonder a lot of my students were getting low scores in that section. Note to self: I need to go over my test bank to check if there are any more poorly-constructed items.

4. I should schedule a massage on the 26th. It’s been ages since I had my last massage.

5. *Sigh* My room needs attending to. I can barely see the top of my desk. And my laptop needs some serious TLC.

6. My MMS172 (Audio in Multimedia) professor could do well by learning to employ Differentiated Assessments so non-multimedia students like me don’t get compared with the rest of the class. He could also use some Self- and Peer Assessments.

7. I owe my class a seriously long-overdue feedback. Ever since I started OU, I’ve always managed to employ the “No News is Good News” to my classes and even the agents I do call-monitoring for. I’ve been reminded that people will not become great at their jobs unless they know what they are doing well, so they can keep on doing these things, and where they need to change to get a better result.

8. An entire week left!

9. What other things do I need to do for this last week of the term?

EDS113 Finals – x

MMS172 Assignment 4 – CHECK!

MMS172 Final Project – CHECK!

MMS172 DIY Bonus Project – x

EDS113 Final E-journal Entry – CHECK!

MMS176 Final Requirement – ???

Ok, 3 down, 2 to go and one big question mark.

I wonder if MMS professors know about assessment reliability and validity because I’ve been dinged for using an External RSS feed for my e-journal and for submitting the link to my External RSS feed (wordpress account) instead of  providing a link to my E-portfolio. I actually got a zero for doing so when the instructions merely instructed us to provide a link to our e-journal. Well, I did and got a zero for a technicality. Go figure! I think my professor confuses assessments with punishments.

And while we’re at that, I think somebody should introduce him to a rubric so that students like me know what is expected of them.

He doesn’t even accept late submissions. While I’m personally indifferent to that rule (given my Type A personality), I do question the principle behind that rule. All the EDS professors I’ve encountered discourage late submissions by giving penalties. Where’s the reliability there when apparently even if I do a swell job but happened to miss the deadline by a hairline of a second due to poor WiFi connection, for example, another classmate who does a botched job will ultimately still get a higher grade than me because I automatically get a zero for that task.

10. Freedom is within my grasp. I can almost feel it now. August, here I come. I wonder if I can take a month’s holiday so I can fully enjoy my term break.

11. Professors are wrapping up discussions and final requirements, every OU student is fidgeting in their seats, and everyone is waiting for sweet release.

12. Someone recently told me that the adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try again” is a myth; it should be, he said, “IF at first you don’t succeed, check to see if what you’re doing is a strength.” Moreover, the old proverb “Practice makes perfect” is erroneous because you can never turn a weakness into a strength. You can improve them, but they will never be your strength. This got me into thinking that maybe I’d been approaching instruction the wrong way.  Perhaps I should be building and playing on their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses. I guess differentiated instruction for the purpose of conducting differentiated assessments is what I should be looking into.

13. Let the countdown begin!

14. Yes! I’m free to live my life and partake in new and exciting adventures or to uTorrent an entire season of The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls. Either way, I won’t be taking notes or writing e-journals.

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The Oreo Sandwich

Nothing feeds desire than obstacles placed on its way.

I feel like a phony. I’ve been a Language Specialist for a number of years now, and quite recently have taken on a new role as Project Manager. Yet I must admit that the art of giving feedback still baffles me. I’m  a no-nonsense, no BS, say-it-as-it-is type of person that tends to resonate into how I am as a trainer.

I understand the essence of providing feedback and have seen for myself how students lap up and proactively seek comment, suggestion, consult, advice from me, no matter how small or insignificant, in order to perform optimally and learn more. I’ve witnessed how their faces light up and they have more pep in their step each time they get a commendation from a customer. Effective feedback is to students as heroin is to junkies is how I like to illustrate it. And with each commendation, they seem more and more like Oliver Twist asking for seconds.

Please, Sir, can I hace some more.
Please, Sir, can I hace some more.

But I’ve always struggled on how to start and deliver feedback. My previous manager favored and preferred that we use the Sandwich Method. Positive-Negative-Positive. Personally, I always find myself grasping for  words, and sometimes even running out of positive comments.

The logic behind the Oreo Method seems solid. By cushioning the blow, you’re engaging the pre-frontal cortex of the brain; negative feedback may just get stuck in the primitive amphibian brain and put the student in a defensive mode. On the other hand, it seems to go against the Theory of Latency. The tendency is that the filling, the key message may get completely lost in the fluff. As a result, change might not be forthcoming.

Yet, as I focus on the how of providing feedback and meaningful assessments, process thoughts and churn out papers, assignments and journal entries in completion of the final requirements for my courses, a moment of lapsed judgment and thoughtlessness reminded me that the when is just as important as the how, that theory and head knowledge is only secondary to the heart.

Sometimes I forget my humanity makes me subjective and prone to outbursts and lapses in impulse control. It is at that point when all that hard work, well-meaning intentions and book smarts get thrown out the window. In the past few weeks, I’ve been too absorbed in assessment types, arguably the meat of any instructional design. In the blurry of it all, I’ve missed that raw emotional center of the learning process.

I’ve realized that feedback is not just about timeliness but also timing, and that the timing is everything. I’ve realized that my over-zealousness to improve performance has turned me into a megatron-dominatrix with a whip in one hand. I’ve learned, albeit the hard way, that one  should consider whether s/he is in the right condition to provide feedback. Sometimes, teachers, in their dedicated passion or perhaps merely out of sheer exhaustion, have a tendency to zero in on inaccuracies and should be reminded to cool off before facing a student to provide feedback.

After all, a big cat ready to pounce on any unsuspecting victim is not the picture we want to leave our learners with.

Hey

I’m running a B2 Upscaling class these days in completion of a client mandate. To give you a better idea of what the B2 level is, let me share with you an overview of the descriptors for the required level.

Communicative Competencies
Communicative Competencies
Sociolinguistic Competencies
Sociolinguistic Competencies
Pragmatic Competencies
Pragmatic Competencies

So this agent came to class today, late as usual, by about an hour for a 2-hour class. (This has been a particularly annoying habit, but my hands are tied due to lenient, pro-workforce company policies.) He sat down, quite defiantly, as though he’d called for the training and was merely passing through in between meetings. He nodded at me in acknowledgment and said, “Hey!” No apologies. No explanation. No courtesy of rhyme nor reason. Not ever.

This student is not a friend, my next-door neighbor, my cousin, a part of my Twitter-sphere (not that I have one)  or someone from the coffee shop that I frequent. I am his trainer. I have a name by which I ought to be addressed, and though I have no gripes about being called by my first name outside of class, I prefer and advise my trainees to address me as they should a person of authority. Different people have different takes on this, of course, but I belong to the bygone generation who would like to give spoken English a celestial hand in preserving its already compromised beauty. And it’s not just a personal preference or a matter of style or my inability to acquiesce. It’s a standard that I’ve communicated in advance. It is also one of the benchmarks of sociolinguistic competency which is one of the skills I have to develop in them.

If you ask me, that moment and opportunity spoke volumes about this student’s communicative competencies and eligibility for program certification more than any of the tests I’ve conceived for the program. This was actual and authentic. In no other way would I be able to assess how well they’re able to apply the skills they acquired than at these rare, non-manufactured instances.

It was also an opportunity for feedback. I cannot chalk it up to youthful ignorance from a crazy entitled/disrespectful hybrid that seems to be permeating society nowadays. Furthermore, I would be doing this student a disservice by not correcting him.

His absenteeism and tardiness had reached its permissible limit. Yet he had yet to communicate with me to address or even justify such inexcusable behaviour. That’s professional discourse. His inability and failure to get in touch with me with regard to the sessions and hours that he missed tells me that he is incapable of initiating, let alone sustaining professional discourse.

It is better that he learn this lesson from me now than his manager or a client who might not get him fired for your lackadaisical manner, but might think twice about elevating him to a position in the company that requires decorum.

An acknowledgment of mea culpa would have been nice. But looking at the bright side, this is why teachers should not be too quick to dismiss the power of informal assessments.

By the Powers of the Almighty Professor and His Haranguing Rants

Disclaimer:  This post is in no way directed towards Teacher Malou or any of the EDS professors.

Let me just digress here a little and rant. My professor is obnoxious. He is a pompous and abrasive jerk who chastises his students, bullies them and whose idea of a feedback is a sharp, stern criticism that points out our failings and inadequacies. He is pretty fond of pointing out our “lack of common sense”—something, he says, that is inherent and not lacking among UP students. For the most part, he’s been snappy, impatient and quick to lash out on us for even the littlest post in the discussion forum that he feels is misplaced, irrelevant and beyond the scope of the course or the module but the student feels the need to raise for the sake of learning or stock knowledge.

Most recently, he berated the class for not meeting his expectations when we turned in our second assignment. When he gave the announcement about it, I knew it was bound to be technical as we were going to be discussing and explaining the signal flow for the equipment that we’ll be using for our final project. I must admit I felt overwhelmed when it was given, but I went on, sucked it up and did my best. I consulted with him I the support forum and tried my very best to not let his snide comments about my feelings of inadequacy, apprehensions and lack of multimedia and technical skills get to me. A couple of days prior to Assignment 2 deadline, he posted a template of what he was requiring from us. It was his own work which he submitted some years back for a multimedia course in Coursera which happened to receive a perfect score from 5 peers. The challenge was to outdo him. There were some minor flaws, he said, which he could fix in an hour so we should be able to do it in 2 days. Challenge accepted! The eager-to-please student in me jumped at that rare chance to compare my draft to the model and proceeded on tweaking mine to replicate it as closely as I could. I gobbled it up like no one’s business, typed away and made revisions in maniacal frenzy, clicked ‘Submit’ and hoped for the best.

Feedback wasn’t too slow in coming this time. And as always, he wasn’t one to mince words. He made it known in no uncertain terms that he was most disappointed with our output, and even sullenly titled his post ‘OMFG!’.  Suffice it to say that his verbal assaults did not stop with the title. The minor flaws he mentioned in his template have, at this point, been magnified into major flaws. I now seriously think he’s deliberately provided us with misleading information to set us up for failure.

I never started the said course with hopes of earning a stellar grade. I knew what I was getting into and realized I was way out of my comfort zone. One look at my classmates’ profiles told me that I was no match against their expertise, background and knowledge; I am a fish out of water. I did not and have not let that deter me. I’m determined to learn (grades be damned!) and make the most out of this experience.  I’ve been in the corporate world long enough to understand that incredibly precise 1.00 grades don’t matter in the real world and most certainly will not make me eligible for a higher salary more than a grade of 3.00 would.

But I cannot help but compare BES professors with non-BES professors.  This experience has only served to affirm my belief that this profession is an art and a skill at the same time and that knowledge is but a small part of the equation. Even with this traumatic OU experience, I am not regretting anything. It’s a tough journey, and it definitely is not for the faint-hearted. If anything, this perilous ride has humanized me.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all that hard work, those sleepless nights and struggles in multimedia hell don’t come to naught. I do feel like my professor stands to learn a thing or two about the teaching-learning process. I don’t discount the fact that my output for Assignment 2 is nowhere near that exceptional mark, but I have done my best. To assuage this nagging concern of possibly getting a failing mark because of my inability to match my professor’s impossibly high standards and unpredictable whims, I checked my progress and performance against the course objectives. Putting my already injured self-esteem aside, I think I’ve made some progress. I now have some  understanding of the basics of sound and how it works. I have somehow developed baseline critical skills. I now can tell the difference between an on-axis and an off-axis, compare bit rates and audio quality. It’s one of the things I can be most proud of in this course. I started out with zero critical listening skills with regard to audio. My posts to discussion forums took twice as long to formulate because I could not detect and pick up these subtle differences in sound as well as my other classmates could. But hey, I’ve made some progress. However minimal they are, it’s still an improvement compared to where I was when I started. I can now operate and do audio editing on Audacity—a thing I had not even heard of when I started the course. So based on these, I don’t think a should merit a failing grade. But then again, I’m just a lowly student whom he wouldn’t mind lambasting for his own personal, twisted pleasure. I rest my case.

Great Expectations: A Teacher’s Discourse

Further learning is only possible after the recognition of what needs to be learned.”

Only now do I realize the folly of the desire to please the powers that be. Am I correct to surmise that Asians, in general, with its paternalistic, autocratic and group-centric culture are culturally ingrained to seek the approval of their teacher over their academic performance? Or is it human  nature compounded by the rigors and demands of formal training?

A few things have been bugging me with my current class. After countless sleepless nights and many hours spent in exasperation over an apparent lack in improvement in one of the students in my class, I have found the link, the missing piece of the puzzle. I had pondered over it long and hard and had speculated to my sounding boards before finally giving up and letting it be.

The pieces are now falling into place. She’s pretty content to parrot words and phrases, roll over, bend over backward, forward and sideways all for the sake of going through the motions and fulfilling a mandate by management to attend the training. I reckon she thinks, “I have a job, and a stable one at that. This training is an absolute waste of time and an odious and unnecessary cause for an overtime.”

Pretty myopic view if you ask me, but such is the cold, hard fact.

A learning endeavor needs to start with a clear and unadulterated picture of what is expected of them and how they fare against the standard. Traditionally, this role was undertaken by the teacher. Yet oftentimes, it becomes an emotionally charged process for the student because the standards seem to be dictated by a seemingly infallible expert. How then is a passive learner supposed to refuse a pedantic approach? A mismatch between a teacher’s view of the expected quality and the student’s view of his performance could only result in a breakdown of the teaching-learning process.

I think this is what essentially happened in her case. Her antipathy towards the new standards being set by management affected her learning process. Even with my role as a Specialist, I am at a bind because I was brought in to effect these new standards and to make sure that everyone is at par with the standards.

As I am writing this, I am reminded of a conversation that I had with a friend/ colleague and former co-worker. She felt betrayed over her manager’s imminent move and the team’s subsequent dissolution because her manager failed to mentor and groom the team accordingly. She questioned her manager about this, and the manager remarked that she had already identified someone and was grooming her for a managerial post. The manager also added that she felt that my friend, along with everyone else in the team, were unsuitable and not ready for mentoring because of their competencies.

“That’s your opinion, not mine,” my friend quipped.

This statement reverberated in my head and it made me realize the value of self-assessment for both my friend and the manager.

In this sense, the teaching-learning process is comparable to a customer service encounter. Both teachers and learners need to know what each other’s expectations are to ensure: both parties’ satisfaction, that activities are occurring as expected, that deliverables or output meet expectations, that deliverables are received when expected and that anticipated value is received.

It is inevitable that during the teaching-learning process, both the teacher and the learner will form a judgment on each other, the teaching pedagogy and the student’s learning curve based on their personal expectations, perceptions, desires, feelings, needs, wants and values.

I remember the time when I was starting out as a Language Specialist a few years back. My manager then was overbearing and rather despotic. She had us jumping through hoops at her bidding and had a tendency to assign us variegated tasks, the sheer amount of which was considerable and almost comparable to our designated tasks. Despite this, I flourished under her management unlike some of my team mates. I learned a lot from her—one aspect that I value over interpersonal skills. As a manager, she exceeded my expectations, but I’m pretty sure not everyone shared my sentiments.

Knowing expectations is instrumental in developing a strategy for meeting and exceeding expectations. These expectations are a vision of a future state or action. It is usually unstated but critical to the success of any endeavour.

Does this scenario not reflect what often transpires in our classrooms? As teachers, we do have expectations of our students which we concurrently use to evaluate a student’s performance. If we, as teachers, were to rely on our expectations and fail to consider our learners’ own expectations of themselves, we might be setting our students up for demotivation or even failure. By conducting self- and peer assessment, we are able to negotiate through whatever differences we may have and come to a workable solution to make the teaching-learning process a success.

You’re Flawed!

I have a confession to make. I’m pretty sure most women can relate. Though we may  pride ourselves for our intelligence, we can’t exactly say the same thing about our appearance – our hair, our body type and our skin color. One may spend her whole teenage years believing her appearance is flawed. I call this a “confession” because we’d love to claim the opposite: that our intelligence has always sprung us from the traps of the beauty industry. The truth is that the makers of products and arbiters of culture have us convinced that we need fixing.

Women from all over the world are made to believe their hair is a catastrophe. Curly-haired women aspire to have straight hair. Girls with fine straight hair go to all lengths to have those beach wave curls those magazines have us believing are beautiful. The message: There’s something wrong with your hair.

Then there is the problem, perhaps the biggest, of one’s body. Oh, what woe the likes of Kate Moss, Kate Upton wrought! A decade ago, the edgy and effortlessly cool heroin-chic look was all the rage and girls would starve themselves, binge eat and purge just to achieve that look. This current age of selfies and Instagram with its specious filters, just-woke-up-like-this, no-makeup-makeup look is enough to send any girl into a major bout of insecurity. The message: There’s something wrong with your body.

Needless to say we enter adulthood deeply self-conscious — that is, exactly where the beauty business wants us to be. The cosmetics industry thrives on fanning women’s insecurities, convincing us that there is always something to be fixed. To a certain extent most women know this. We sense that we’re being duped. But what we know on an intellectual level doesn’t change what we experience on an emotional one.

On a personal level, the culture had lodged an image in my psyche: of a lighter-skinned, taller, just-slept-in waves version of me. Only by buying products could I become this lovelier self. Of course I wasn’t foolish enough to think that beauty products alone would transform me into a perfect aberration that is the Victoria’s Secret model, but that was not the sell. The media had managed to convince me of something more insidious: I couldn’t become someone else but I could be a better me.

Me with better skin, better hair, a better body.

Me considered beautiful, desirable.

I just had to fix my flaws.

It was only when I started working and traveling that I came to see the universality of this must-fix thinking. In Italy, women lay dangerously long in tanning beds to “fix” their skin. In India, women use dangerous bleaching creams to “fix” theirs. My Jewish friends “fixed” their frizz with flat irons. My Japanese friends “fixed” their flat hair with perms. Friends of all nationalities went on inane diets to “fix” their bodies. The messages of my childhood were, in fact, a single message, the same one sent to women everywhere:

Something is wrong. Fix it.

Isn’t this the same message that traditional testing with its pervasive tools of numerical/letter-grading sends? Are multiple-choice tests and true-false questions not a game of chance?

Haven’t we, at one point in our lives, said, “Did I pass? Oh, I wish I could’ve gotten a 90 at least.” A stream of seemingly endless questions flood our mind until the crucial moment when we get to take a peek at our grade—the number that signifies a whole night’s hard work, a tutor’s guidance, a study group, a sleepless night or two. Graduation season repeat the same message: awards and recognition measure intelligence, creativity, people’s skills and morality. Recently, video of a high school student’s salutatorian speech cut off by school officials went viral. I remember seeing this girl on some television shows and my Facebook being flooded with posts about this girl’s plight of being cheated out of the top award. Everyone was quick to laud this girl’s alleged assertiveness and called it an act of bravery.

Yet are these trophies and medals all that they’re touted to be? Do they really mean all that much? Are they a complete reflection of one’s diligence and intelligence?  I remember reading an article in the newspaper argues that most people who graduate with honors intend to graduate with honors but don’t intend to learn and that honors are an investment in image rather than in substance. Is graduating with honors more important that determination, initiative, dedication, the willingness to get grubby and give more than expected? Do grades measure important life skills such as interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and ethics? Don’t traditional tests serve to reinforce this skewed values system?

How do we change this? How do we create a culture that tells learners that there’s nothing to fix, that learning is more than just a number and that trophies, awards and medals are mere accessories? Awards do not define our learning.

Whether you’re the smart kid, the slow learner, the math-phobic, the artistically inclined yet academically-challenged and everything between: learners must be told that they are valued, their efforts don’t go unnoticed and their improvement, however insignificant and minimal, is still an evidence of learning. They may not be all the way there, but they will get there in time. After all, not all of these learners started out at the same level so they can’t be expected to reach a certain level at the same amount of time. The message: Nothing here needs fixing — but we can all do with some learning and polishing, and with sheer diligence and determination we can be a better version of ourselves.

The Year of Hell

Imagine a nation coming at a standstill one morning. The roads are clear and almost devoid of cars save for a few that are seemingly headed to one particular destination. Employees likewise keep off the roads as banks, offices and stock markets open shop an hour later than usual. Even flights are grounded as the whole nation is kept in nervous anticipation of the results of a national obsession. The nation could do nothing but wait, pray and hold their breaths.

No, it’s not the much-coveted Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch. Though it is held that a Pacquiao fight does halt everyone from activity and is a sacred repast for the tiny nation that is the Philippines, the same could be said about the 2nd Thursday of every November when high school students in their 3rd grade (or what is equivalent to the last year of high school to the rest of the world) take the CSAT (College Scholastic Aptitude Test). On this day, even the Army halts its aviation exercises, police units would go out of their way to marshall students to the testing centers and the electric company is on standby to ensure that there is no power shortage on this day lest they get blamed by students for failing their tests. This is the day when all students are put to the ultimate test.

I must admit that it does seem a bit too drastic, but the students’ fate is contingent on this one-day test. This exam, after all, shapes a person’s life forever. And the whole nation basically gears itself and mobilizes itself for this event. Considering the fact that student prepare a significant portion of their life ( a good 12 years, to be exact) for this day, it’s no wonder that a patriotic nation such as South Korea and its whole population, even those who do  not have any personal or vested interest in the said assessment would go to extreme measures to show support for the students. Preparing the student for this test may be considered a family affair, but this event is a national affair almost synonymous to a holiday.

Competition for a spot at Korea’s top universities SKY  (Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University) is tough. It has to be because it almost guarantees a prestigious job in the civil service or in one of South Korea’s conglomerates such as Samsung Electronics Co and Hyundai Motor Co.

This test system and the immense value that South Korea and other East Asian nations place on education are vestiges of Confucianism. This passion, energy, dedication and sacrifice of families towards education is unprecedented and unparalleled. And a student’s failure can never be attributed  to a lack of effort or support.

But what are the trade-offs of this high-stake assessment and uncanny obsession over top scores? What is the purpose of education? Is performing well on a standardized test and getting to a prestigious university the main goal of education? Does this not promote rote learning while discarding critical thinking and intellectual creativity? Does this over-emphasis on getting straight A’s lead to excess and unnecessary stress while stripping our students and teachers of their humanity? Does this not also place teachers under such unfair scrutiny due to the misguided use of standardized test-based value added evaluation?

My mind is torn as it tries to process all this. Imagine how onerous it is for one’s path and future to be hinged in those nine hours. It does sound a bit excessive. To many South Koreans, it is a fact of life however harsh it may be. And a good number of them are averse to the idea of adopting a more Western and holistic approach. It is a fortress they desperately hold on to in order to maintain equality and fairness in the educational system. It does make sense in a way because this levels the playing field and provides everyone, regardless of current status, with the chance to ascend to a higher social status. It is a materialistic and meritocratic  perspective but wouldn’t the Philippines benefit from  this system? Oppressive as it is, it worked for South Korea. South Korean students have consistently performed well on global standardized tests,  even besting the US and other European countries. The excessive studying does not appear to be for naught. Such stellar performance from students leave every other country looking on with envy as they scramble to pattern their curriculum to that of South Korea’s and emulate that stoic resolve. Such huge investment in education has likewise catapulted South Korea from its third world condition 50 years ago to economic powerhouse status. The country has built itself from the ashes through sheer diligence and hard work.

Yet it’s come at a big cost. Everything does have a price. Reaching that pinnacle of success has exacted a heavy price along its people, particularly the learners. It has produced robots and machines that can scarcely feel save for the masochistic experiences one willingly subjects him/herself to.

It is a grueling schedule these students take upon themselves at such an early age. It’s a bleak existence that doesn’t  seem to have an end in sight as they transition from  high school to university and eventually that much-coveted job at Samsung and gradually realize that they’d have to repeat the cycle all over again to prove their worth in the company.

It does sound awfully like living your life on heavy cycle in the washing machine. Anyone up for a tumble in the wash?,